Equality California’s 20th anniversary gala, the Los Angeles Equality Awards, celebrated the local fight for LGBTQ civil rights, equality and social justice last Saturday (Sept. 30) at the J.W. Marriott in Los Angeles, Calif. Among those honored by the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization were Transparent showrunner Jill Soloway, political commentator Ana Navarro, Equality California Board President Andreas Meyer, and Amy Quartarolo and Latham & Watkins, LLP.
Pop star Kim Petras brought the night to a solid end note with her performance, including “Icy,” “Heart to Break” and “Sweet Spot” in her standing-ovation-prompting set.
“Let’s make a toast to all of you, and to us collectively, to 20 years of leading the charge for LGBTQ civil rights… and striving to create a world that is healthy, just and fully equal for all LGBTQ people,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California, in a press release.
We are still on cloud nine after last night’s LA #EqualityAwards! —-
Here are some of our favorite moments from this incredible 20th Anniversary celebration. pic.twitter.com/nzpW5S7XKW
— Equality California (@eqca) September 29, 2019
— Equality California (@eqca) September 29, 2019
Soloway spoke about the “magic” of the queer community they have been increasing on-screen representation of upon receiving the Equality Visibility Award among their peers. “It’s an honor to receive this award from an organization that does so much to create a more just world for LGBTQ folks,” they said in their acceptance speech. “Queer and trans people are magic — so many kinds of magic… [and] I am so privileged to walk this road paved by my transcestors.”
Navarro received the Ally Leadership Award for tirelessly advocating for LGBTQ equality and immigration reform, Meyer took home the Equality Leadership Award after helping Equality California pass landmark state legislation, and Quartarolo and Latham & Wilkins, LLP won the Community Leadership Award for being “invaluable partners in our legal fight for LGBTQ civil rights over the years,” according to Zbur.
Except from my speech at @eqca, last night: And to all those people that think the LGBTQ community has lesser rights… Don’t tell me you are a Constitutionalist, if you’re not willing to defend Equal Protection Under the Law for everyone. Don’t tell me you’re pro-family values, if you’re against gay people building strong families. Don’t tell me you’re pro-life, if you’re against loving gay couples having the right to adopt children. And if you deny US citizenship to children born to American LGBTQ couples using foreign surrogates. Don’t tell me you’re pro-military, if you’re against patriotic Americans who want to serve and risk their lives in defense of our country being able to do so, not because they’re not qualified, not because they pretend to have bone-spurs, but because they’re transgender. Don’t tell me you’re in favor of less government regulation, if you want government to dictate who consenting adults can choose to love and marry. Don’t tweet out a daily bible verses, if you’re not willing to treat others like you would like to be treated yourself, like Christ would treat others. Don’t pound your chest and quote the Bible and tell me baking a cake for a gay wedding violates your religious values, or call somebody else’s life, “a sin”, when you have an altar boy, or a good-looking Latin pool boy in Miami, or personal trainer you like to hang out with and buy property for. Don’t tell me, gay marriage threatens traditional marriage, if you blindly follow a man who cheated on his first wife, with his second wife, and cheated on his third wife, with a Playboy Bunny and cheated on the Playboy Bunny with a stripper, and then paid them to shut up. Don’t tell me you’re afraid for the security of young children if a transgender person goes into a bathroom, if you voted for a man who has over a dozen credible accusations of sexual harassment against him. Don’t tell me it’s immoral and sets a bad example for an openly gay married man to be running for President, if you support a man who we all heard boast about grabbing a woman’s pussy. Some people want to pray away the gay. I want to pray away Hypocrisy! ??———-
Stepped out last night to help celebrate 20 YEARS of @eqca fighting for the equal rights of #lgbtqia individuals at the #EqualityAwards ! So proud of my sis @itsmebillielee who sat on the board, @itsshangela @ariana2525 & @TomSandoval1 ——??– #lgbt #lgbtq pic.twitter.com/YUy9Cb4xvh
— Isis King (@MsIsisKing) September 29, 2019
— Frankie James Grande (@FrankieJGrande) September 29, 2019
Other guests in attendance included Mayor Eric Garcetti, When They See Us actress Isis King, RuPaul’s Drag Race personality Shangela and Frankie Grande. Local DJ Kim Anh performed at the event’s official after party, who’s heralded for her ability to channel nightlife culture as an apparatus for activism.
UPDATE: An earlier version of this article referred to the event as the 20th Los Angeles Equality Awards, but it was actually the 20th-anniversary gala, not the 20th awards. Additionally, we’ve corrected the songs Kim Petras performed.