Saturday, March 13, 2010

 Thank you for following this year's Human Rights Campaign Los Angeles Dinner & Awards Gala, 
Please donate to support the important ongoing work of the Human Rights Campaign by clicking here:

10:10pm - Clare Thomas and Andy Arnold bring the 2010 HRC Los Angeles Dinner & Awards ceremony to a close. The Attendees were invited to enjoy cocktails and conversation to the sounds of DJ Bizzy. 

10:08pm - Merideth Baxter announces the AT&T E-Hero award winning film, "They Can't Turn The Lights Off"

10:01pm - Portia De Rossi: "I feel very honored getting an award for doing very little compared to the organization that's giving it to me. So thank you to HRC for the work you do on my behalf." 
"Thank you so much for this award. It means a lot to me. On a personal note it really shows me how far I've come and how important it is to continue to use whatever platform I've been given to express my opinions and be a voice for equality. And I wont stop talking until equality is achieved and there's nothing more to talk about."

9:54pm - Betty DeGeneres introduces Portia De Rossi, this year's Human Rights Campaign Visibility Award recipient. "I'll bet that when I started working with HRC, none of us thought that I would be presenting an award to my daughter-in-law"

9:42pm - From season six of American Idol, musician Blake Lewis performs. "HRC is definitely getting everyone educated" Lewis said.

 - Break to announce the winner of tonight's raffle -

9:29pm - Dancing with the Stars' Louis Van Amstel takes the stage to screen the 3 finalist viral videos for the AT&T E-Hero Award. 

"They Can't Turn the Lights Off" 

"A Gaythering Storm" 

"Every Heart Matters"  

9:17pm - Kathy Griffin receives an excited welcome to the stage, "Hello to my gays and those who support them!" 
Griffin announces her upcoming rally in Washington, DC to support equality- the rally will take place Thursday March 18, at 12:00pm ET in Freedom Plaza. 
9:12pm - Lance Bass takes the stage to introduce Kathy Griffin, this year's Human Rights Campaign Ally for Equality Award honoree. "Kathy and I have been friends for years. She's been a friend to this community and has been fighting against discrimination for years, and not just as a celebrity spokesperson but down on the front lines.
She volunteered for the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Vote for Equality campaign, working tirelessly to stop Prop. 8. Although we lost that day, Kathy did not hang it up and move on. She is with us now, and she will always be."

If you are not in attendance but would like to donate to support the amazing work of HRC, please click to

 -  Break for Dinner and Live Auction -

7:59 - HRC Federal Club Co-Chairs Anton Mack and Tim Morneau introduce sixteen year-old Chelsea Montgomery-Duban, who speaks about coming to HRC events with her two fathers since the age of 9. "HRC has always been a part of our family"
"tonight I am personally asking you to join the HRC Federal Club or the Federal Club Council. These are important giving levels that start at $100 a month, and ensure HRC has the funds to respond to attacks and be proactive in advancing equality. Just $100 a month for HRC's groundbreaking work. There isn't a better deal, trust me." 

7:54 - Senator Boxer states "I am proud to stand before you today as a proud supporter of Marriage Equality!"

7:52 - Sen. Boxer speaking about Don't Ask Don't Tell, quotes Adm. Mike Mullen, Chair of the Joint Chiefs "It comes down to Integrity..." Boxer: "If you're in the military, and you play by the rules, it shouldn't matter what your sexual orientation is- ONE TWO THREE, FIX IT!"

7:49 - Sen. Boxer speaks to the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes act, "Violent acts of bigotry will no longer be tolerated in the United States of America"

7:47 - US Senator Barbara Boxer is introduced by Joe Solmonese, received by a brilliant standing ovation. "I am privileged to work with the Human Rights Campaign"

7:35 - Joe Solmonese, leader of the Human Rights Campaign, brings a reminder of how far Civil Rights have come in the last 45 years since Bloody Sunday and the galvanized beginning of the civil rights movement- and how far we have yet to come.
"Our Victories and our progress have energized our opponents and we need an army as big as theirs. We've come so far that most people agree with us, but agreeing isn't enough. We need our straight allies to join us in a bigger way." 

7:30 - An exciting compilation of video clips showing the presence of HRC in the media and the excellent work the HRC continues to do to promote LGBTQ rights.

7:27 - Clare Thomas & Andy Arnold announce this year's Dinner theme, "SPEAK THE TRUTH"
Clare and Andy wish to thank the attendee's of tonight's gala for making the work of the HRC possible and successful 

7:25 -Suze Orman takes the stage and opens the HRC LA Gala with overwhelming excitement!

7:20pm - The house is packed, the show is about to begin. Remember, you can recieve instant updates of tonight's action via twitter (@hrcladinner) and you can watch the live feed at


Welcome to the official LIVE blog for the 2010 Los Angeles HRC Dinner & Awards!

This year's gala will feature appearances by U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, Portia De Rossi, Kathy Griffin, Suze Orman, and a special performance by Blake Lewis. 
See the official site for more information at

-Stay tuned to this page and catch all the action with up-to-the-minute coverage begining at 7:00pm PT!

-For quick updates and highlights, follow us on Twitter at @hrcladinner!

-Watch the action via live streaming video at 

Reporting Live: Phillip Kent Knight

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

HRC President Joe Solmonese:

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Speeches from Senator Dianne Feinstein and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
[courtesy of]

On a side note, Greg Hernandez of covered the show as well. You can find his coverage on his blog here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 has footage of NAACP Chairman Julian Bond's compelling and very talked-about speech.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Evening Wrap-Up

Over the years, the GLBT community has suffered some pretty exhausting hits. Just this past election, the passage of Proposition 8 shook us to our core. It humbled our hearts as well as our faith in democracy. But it’s amazing what a good wake-up call can do. Case in point: the 2009 Human Rights Campaign Hero Awards.

Host Wanda Sykes kicked off the night with her always-keen wit. From there, the line-up of appearances seemed to build on top of each other as the night went on. It served as a testament to the range of activists in the community, from the new (Sykes, who came out in November), to the seasoned (John Duran, who’s been an activist since the ‘80s). Advocates from all walks of life showed up to support equal rights. Senator Dianne Feinstein spoke of how she did not always back the gay rights movement, but rather arrived at that conclusion over time. NAACP Chairman Julian Bond gave possibly the most enlightening speech of the night. To see a long-time civil rights leader express his empathy and correlation to the GLBT community is heart-rending beyond words. It is proof that people don’t have to be directly involved to understand. They need only be willing to listen.

Last night’s gala ushered in a new accolade: the E-Hero Award. This category paid homage to five of the most inspirational internet videos that promoted GLBT equality this year. [The nominated videos can all be viewed here:]. It just goes to show how much of a tool the internet has become. The web is now a utility to educate the world about us. It is the ultimate soapbox, and the addition of sites like YouTube has encouraged activists and rookie filmmakers alike to speak up and reach out.

What we must take away from last night lies in the title itself: heroes. But if we are the only gay rights movement in modern history, who do we look up to? Role models give us strength, but we must ultimately inspire ourselves. We are the ones who are breaking down boundaries daily, and we can’t stop. No matter how many ballot initiatives tell you you’re less than perfect, know that equality is closer than you think. Hearts must be changed and eyes must be opened; this is the work that lies before us. The way to get it done? Get out there, be yourself, and don’t let anyone tell you it’s not called for.

-Alex Pakzad

Saturday, March 14, 2009

10:45 -- The Event Co-Chairs Kelsey Bray and Parker Williams close the night accompanied by the beautiful and skillful LA Derby Dolls.

10:41 -- Academy-award winning producer (American Beauty) Bruce Cohen presents the first HRC E-Hero Award to "And She's the California Constitution".

10:27 -- Equality California director Geoff Kors presents an award to activist John Duran on behalf of all the work he has done for the GLBT community. Kors notes that Duran first got into activism when several close friends of his died to AIDS in the 1980s. He was a strong advocate for laws protecting those with HIV/AIDS. He has been a GLBT advocate ever since.
Duran recalls the countless oppression and even police brutality he and his friends have faced for standing up for their rights. "President. Pope. Preacher. We took them all on."
"We have been tested by time. We've touched equality. We've seen what's possible. The battle for justice. 'The price,' Thomas Jefferson said it, 'eternal vigilance. And the prophet? Character, character, charater.'"

10:24 -- Peter Paige (Queer as Folk, Rick and Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in the World) presents the final nominee for the E-Hero Award, "Prop 8 - The Musical".

9:56 -- Anton Mack honors NAACP chairman Julian Bond.
Bond: "It does not matter the rationale; religious, cultural, pseudo-scientific. No good will should oppose marriage equality. But oppose it they do."
Bond goes on to state that proponents of anti-miscegenation laws preach that God put the races on different continents with the intent of them not mixing. "But God made room for interracial marriage. And He or She will do the same for same-sex marriage."
"When someone asks me, are gay rights civil rights, my answer is of course they are. Civil rights are legal prerogatives. These rights are shared by everyone. ... Gay and lesbian rights are not special rights in any way. ... It is an ordinary universal entitlement to citizenship."
"Like race, our sexuality isn't a preference. It is immutable and unchangeable, and our Constitution protects us from discrimination based on immutable differences."
"Marriage is a civil right. If you don't want gay people to marry in your church, okay. But you can't say they can't get married in city hall because of your religious beliefs."
Bond notes that opponents of gay marriage used the Bible to validate their homophobic stances. But current US law contradicts religious texts in so many ways; how can it influence some laws and not others?
On 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell': "Rampant homophobia is not just wrong, it's dangerous to our national security. ... In '89, a Pentagon study concluded that sexuality is irrelevant to job performance as is being left- or right-handed."
Bond quotes Martin Luther King Jr.: "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."

9:54 -- Michelle Clunie (Queer as Folk) introduces the fourth finalist for the E-Hero Award, "DOMA Protest".

9:36 -- HRC President Joe Solmonese honors Senator Dianne Feinstein and her history of bravery and support in Congress. Feinstein notes that the journey for African-American civil rights was a gradual process, and we must have the same patience in this fight.
"I can't tell you when or how. It may take another year or five. It may take another ballot initiative. I believe that equal marriage will proudly be the law of this great state."
"Over the course of these decades, I've seen this community be born and come into a life of its own. I've seen with my own eyes, the happiness, the joy, and the stability that marriage has come with." Feinstein punctuates her support of marriage equality by pointing out how many displaced children have found loving parental support in the households of same-sex couples. "I believe this is a good thing."
"I know from experience, that it's tough to lose. But time doesn't stop, and it's on your side. Because like me, like my views, people do change. And they understand. As they see the smiles on the film that we saw today. ... People change, and that's the change we need. About 5% more.
I support you on this quest, and it will happen."

9:28 -- The show continues with a movie: "Corporate Heroes of HRC". It chronicles the many and proud supporters of HRC, including Bank of America, WaMu, ATT, Nike, Dell, COX Enterprises, Google, Shell, and Tylenol PM. Kelsey Bray and Parker Williams also appear to remind us that just one more way to keep the fight going is to support the companies who have publicly stood up for equality. [A comprehensive list of HRC sponsors can be found here:]

8:44 -- [Intermission and dinner]

8:37 -- Kelsey Bray and Parker Williams, HRC Federal Club Co-Chairs, urge tonight's guests to join the Human Rights Campaign's membership. [More information can be found at]
Bruce Bastian, the first $1,000,000 donor to HRC and a member of the HRC's board of directors, comes out and speaks about Proposition 8. Bastian is from Utah and is a former member of the Church of Latter Day Saints, one of the biggest proponents of Proposition 8.

8:34 -- T.R Knight (Grey's Anatomy) introduces the third finalist of the E-Hero Award, the Courage Campaign's "Fidelity" (with music by Regina Spektor).

8:24 -- Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese: "To win full equality, both here in California and across this country, will require the same kind of selfless determination from everyone in this room, everyone across this country."
Solmonese acknowledges the guests here tonight that have fought against Prop 8, including Senator Dianne Feinstein, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and No on 8 donor Bruce Bastian.
"This year, [because of current federal legislation], we will finally pass an inclusive Matthew Shepherd hate crime bill. ... We will finally pass an employment non-discrimination bill that includes gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transexual people."
Solmonese goes on to describe several bills that HRC is pushing to get passed this year. "Know that we will be there with you again and again for every single fight until justice is finally served in this state."

8:20 -- A video montage is shown to display how far the Human Rights Campaign has come to fight for gay rights over the years. It includes footage of civil rights leaders (including Martin Luther King Jr. and Harvey Milk), federal legislation, news broadcasts across the country, and current President Obama.

8:18 -- Candis Cane (Dirty Sex Money) introduces E-Hero Award finalist, "What About Gay Marriage?"

8:08 -- Antonio Villaraigosa: "It wasn't too long ago that I had the great personal privilege and honor of participating in 11 of the weddings of our over 18,000 same-sex couples. ... I was overwhelmed by the feeling that our state and country have opened a new chapter."
Villaraigosa compares the struggles of African-Americans and women to the current battle for gay rights.
"We must take the fight ... from coastal blue to inland red. You see, this is our chance to add our voices to the story of America's progress."

8:03 – Jane Lynch appears on stage to introduce the first nominee for the E-Hero Award, “And She’s the Constitution".

8:01 – The first annual E-Hero Award is introduced. This award will be given to one of 5 internet viral videos seeking to voice the message of marriage equality.

7:57 -- “I just had a birthday. I feel things happening, man. I feel things getting old. The bladder ain’t what it used to be. I used to carry an extra pair of panties in case I got lucky. Now I carry it in case I sneeze.”

7:55 -- “I got married. I’m very, very happily married. … People focus too much on 'same-sex'. It’s just a relationship. … They’re all the same. One likes to talk a lot, the other one pretends to listen.”

7:49 -- Sykes jokes about her novicehood in the gay community.
"Change is here, change is coming... I'm so excited about that [Obama]."
On Rush Limbaugh’s pessimistic statements on Obama: “What kind of bullshit is that? … Let’s not close down Guantanamo, let’s send Rush Limbaugh’s big ass over there.”

7:40 -- Show begins with a brief intro video and the night's first appearances: DJ Casey Alva, the LA Derby Dolls, and host Wanda Sykes. Her sharp wit opens the show with a bang.
After seeing the LA Derby Dolls:"I should have come out a long time ago."