Video by Carol Hagey (for better quality, see Suz526 video, below)
Adam Lambert received the Equality Idol Award last night in a room full of Los Angeles leaders, members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. The award was bestowed by Equality California, the largest statewide LGBT-rights advocacy organization working to achieve equality and civil rights for all of California’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens. Adam received his award for “using his newfound fame to act as a fearless, outspoken advocate for LGBT kids and quickly won the hearts of youth desperate for positive role models. He shot a video message as part of the “It Gets Better” campaign to help LGBT youth overcome bullying and alienation. He also released a song, “Aftermath,” to benefit the Trevor Project, a national suicide-prevention hotline for LGBT youth,” as stated in the event program. Other honorees included Facebook, receiving the Equality Advocate Award and New York Assembly member Daniel J. O’Donnell, receiving the Equality Leadership Award. Mr O’Donnell is the attorney sponsor of the recently passed New York Marriage Equality Act and also the brother of Rosie O’Donnell. From last night’s program, “In 2007, O’Donnell introduced the Marriage Equality Act which would have guaranteed LGBT people in New York the right to marry. The bill passed the assembly and had the support of then-Governor Eliot Spitzer. But it was blocked by the Republican-controlled state senate. He tried again in 2009 and successfully passed the bill twice before seeing it shot down by the Republicans once again. May 10, 2011, Assemblyman O’Donnell introduced the Marriage Equality Act. Just a few weeks later, on June 24th, Governor Mario Cuomo signed the bill into law.”
Facebook received its award for their leading role in the LGBT community. They recorded the 2010 “It Gets Better” video project, which Adam Lambert had an appearance in. According to the program from last night’s awards, the video “featured Facebook employees telling their stories about being young and LGBT and offering support and encouragement to GLBT youth who are struggling. Following a number of LGBT suicides, Facebook further combatted anti-LGBT bullying by forming a “Network of Support,” which includes partnerships with a range of LGBT organizations.” They have also added “domestic partner” and “civil union” to their relationship status options.
Okay, now that we’re done with the formal reporting, let’s talk about how amazing the event was. First, I was lucky enough to attend this event with Glamworld-famous videographer, the incredible Suz526! She and I drove up from San Diego, having no expectations of what our evening would be like. We didn’t even know until a few days ago that Adam would actually be in attendance! Suz had one other friend at the event, Julie, better known to you all on Twitter as AZGlamFan who came with her husband from Arizona, as you probably guessed. Julie was lucky enough to catch Adam, Sauli and Leila on the Red Carpet. Me? I had a martini in my hand, checking out the Silent Auction items and was unfortunately oblivious to the Red Carpet. Rats. To be honest, I was so happy that Glamberts didn’t take over this affair, as they did the Grammy Rock Star Summit on Social Media. Not that I want to be selfish, but I didn’t want the other honorees to feel shadowed. Fortunately, this was not the case.
One of the sponsors was Blue Angel Vodka, so the most delicious martinis were circulating around the outer reception room, being offered by the most gracious wait staff. The Beverly Hilton certainly knows how to attend to their guests! Hors d’oeuvres were for the taking, but I didn’t want to crowd my hands. It was challenging enough trying to maintain amongst the largest gathering of the most sparkly, well dressed and groomed people I’d ever been in!
Guests were encouraged by the Host EQCA representatives to register and bid on the Silent Auction. I’ve never attended a silent auction and was quite impressed with the set-up. I don’t mean to insult the more sophisticated readers, but I’d like to share their great system. First, the registration desk slid our credit card and we were given a sheet of almost 40 barcode stickers, complete with our private number. Next, we visited tables full of wonderful trips, restaurant offerings, movie packages, art pieces, wine tasting trips, spa visits, gym memberships, and more. Many of these items were completely neutral, but several had content that reminded you what event you were attending. LOL! These were all donated items. Each item had a sheet with progressing dollar amounts listed. If you found something you wanted to bid on, you placed your barcoded sticker next to the dollar amount you wanted to bid. We were told we would receive notice later that night if we won. Unfortunately my bid for the 2 dozen gourmet cupcakes wasn’t high enough. I guess that’s good and bad.
Next we were ushered into the main banquet room for dinner and the evening’s awards. We enjoyed a delicious dinner while key representatives from the EQCA made speeches. (OMG the most fabulous filet I’ve ever eaten and something we named Risotto in Disguise. The trio of chocolate cheesecakes was heavenly too!) Suzanne and I shared our table and the rest of the evening with 3 of the most delightful gay couples, one of which was on their first date. It was so cute to watch them look and giggle with each other! I sat next to Jean-Guy, originally from Quebec and his partner, Joe. I found Joe’s story fascinating when he told me he had 3 teenage sons, and had been married for 17 years. His marriage did not break up because he was gay, in fact he didn’t really explore that until well after the divorce. His 3 sons never blink an eye at accepting their father. One son has told him that sexuality isn’t even a part of his thinking, and they completely accept school friends who are gay. I was amazed all evening of how welcomed we were by this fabulous community. In fact, Jean-Guy and Joe told us a few times how glad they were that two straight women had driven 2 ½ hours to attend this event. Little do they know the lengths we’ve gone to, to celebrate Adam!
One speaker who brought tears and aching hearts to everyone was Wendy Walsh, the mother of 13-year old Seth Walsh, the boy who took his life after suffering bullying. Legislature named Seth’s Law followed. See here for more details.
On the other side of emotions, singer Jasmine Jonas really got the room going when she sang Defying Gravity, from Wicked. As soon as the accompanying pianist played the opening bars, almost everyone in the room let out a cheer. I guess the song has become somewhat of an anthem for the gay community. I just loved the irony, seeing how Adam was in the audience too. Her voice was beautiful. Here’s a clip of Jasmine singing Defying Gravity, from another time.
Before Adam received his award, Kathy Griffin was on stage to present the award to Facebook. She made it an absolutely incredible evening for everyone there when she went off-course and started singing Mad World, hoping Adam would join her on stage. When he didn’t, she took a microphone into the crowd, seeking out Adam, who was loving “making her squirm.” Thank goodness for the quick-thinking of whoever brought her the microphone! Thanks so much to Suz526 for having the video camera going during Kathy’s speech. Now you all get to enjoy what we did too!
Next was the topper to the evening; time for presentation of Adam’s award. Here’s the full video shot by Suz526, with intro by Sam Sparro. At 2:29, a completely human moment of Adam’s was shared with us all, when Adam thought it was his time to come to the stage, only to be told “just a moment” by Sparro.
We can see Adam’s growth in his acceptance as a role model. Remember when Rolling Stone came out and Adam was criticized by a magazine editor (I’m sorry I can’t remember his name, but I know you know who I’m talking about) for not being the right kind of gay public figure? And Adam’s position was he wasn’t trying to be a spokesperson, just a singer? Now, he seems to have accepted that role and is doing great things with it.
I felt incredibly honored to have been given the chance to attend this event. I hope you all are able to support Equality in any way you can. Pardon my preaching, but the world will be a much nicer place with it.