In an evening hosted by stage and TV star Michael Urie (“Buyer and Cellar”), Out magazine held its 19th annual OUT100 gala on November 14 at Terminal 5 on the West Side. The event, which coincided with the magazine’s November 19 newsstand release of its guide to the “most compelling people of the year,” featured musical performances by gay country music star Steve Grand, along with Charli XCX and Blondie’s Debbie Harry.
Jonathan Groff, along with co-stars Murray Bartlett and Frankie Alvarez, gave a sneak peek at “Looking,” a highly anticipated new show from HBO being hyped as the gay version of the network’s hit “Girls.” “Looking” premieres in January.
Other honorees included Laverne Cox and Lea DeLaria of “Orange is the New Black,” a Netflix series that recently enjoyed a successful first season. Cox, praised for her role as a transgender prison inmate, Sophia Burset, on “OSTNB,” received the first ever Reader’s Choice Award. In remarks to the audience, Cox spoke on behalf of her transgender brothers and sisters, saying the current cultural moment represents a turning point in public awareness of their historically underrepresented portion of the LGBT community.
The Lifetime Achievement Award was the evening’s high point, with Edie Windsor recognized for her successful challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act. After an introduction that compared her to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, Windsor thanked the crowd for their overwhelming support, saying she was humbled by the endless praise and attention she’s received since her June victory at the Supreme Court. She pointed out that most in the audience were “too young” to remember the darker days of the early LGBT rights struggle and to appreciate just how far the community had come since then. To this, Windsor was met with resounding applause. Her lead attorney, Roberta Kaplan, was also recognized at the event.
Other honorees included Jim Parsons (“Big Bang Theory”) as Entertainer of the Year. Unable to attend, Parsons sent a video message thanking his fans. Wentworth Miller (“Prison Break”), recognized as Newsmaker of the Year, recently came out in a letter in which he declined an invitation to the St. Petersburg International Film Festival, citing Russia’s new anti-gay legislation.
Pascal Tessier was honored for winning a “bittersweet” victory against the Boy Scouts of America back in May, when its National Council voted that no youth may be denied membership based on sexual orientation –– meaning he can stay active in the Scouts, but only until he is 18. Tessier was joined by Greg Bourke, a former associate scoutmaster, and David Knapp, who was a district executive until being forced out of the Scouts in 1993 because he is gay.
Mariah Carey accepted the Artist of the Year award on behalf of director Lee Daniels. Carey, who worked with Daniels in “Precious” and “The Butler,” described him as one of the film industry’s true innovators.
There is something surreal about the vast array of honorees featured –– from celebrities like Denis O’Hare (“True Blood” and a Tony for “Take Me Out”) and recently out Maulik Pancholy (“30 Rock,” “Weeds,” and “Sanjay and Craig”) to lesser knowns like Bryan Petroff and Doug Quint, owners of Manhattan’s Big Gay Ice Cream.
Gay City News took a poke at Out last year when the magazine included New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn in its list –– not for her political achievements and pending run for mayor, but for her recent wedding to longtime partner Kim Catullo. It’s true the magazine’s annual who’s who tends to favor celebrity. Then again, so does our culture. Edie Windsor was one of the honorees featured on this year’s four different special OUT100 covers. She was the only one from outside the entertainment world.
Who Else Was Seen at Terminal 5 (click on image for larger size):
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