The Family Equality Council’s Impact Awards celebrated LGBTQ families and acknowledges those who have made a significant impact in the fight for fundamental equality Saturday at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills. This year’s co-chairs included Sarah Paulson, playwright David Marshall Grant, and Growing Generations co-owner Stuart Bell, all of whom voiced their opposition toward the Trump administration’s attitude in regards to LGBTQ rights in the evening’s opening remarks.
Given that the evening was dedicated to families of all kinds, Paulson stressed the importance of peer support throughout the next four years.
“It’s hard to hold on to all the positive things that come your way when you’re in the middle of a very bleak moment in time,” Paulson told Variety. “I think things have tipped a little bit with the new administration where they think fear is currency, almost — but you just need to find members of your tribe or family for support.”
Paulson also urged LGBTQ youth to not allow the current setbacks to discourage them in the overall battle for equal rights.
“Find a way to make your voice heard. Nothing is going to change until people start getting a megaphone and demanding change,” said Paulson. “A new part of our culture is definitely heading to a direction where everyone is feeling the value of their own voice. There has been so much impact and motion because of that.”
Among this year’s honorees were Target and Amazon’s “Transparent,” both of which have shown “an unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusivity for all people,” according to the Family Equality Council. Accepting the award on behalf of “Transparent” were creator and executive producer Jill Soloway with writer Our Lady J, who became the series’ first transgender writer in 2015.
Though Our Lady J is grateful for the show’s honor, she acknowledges that foundations such as Family Equality Council deserve greater visibility.
“It’s really humbling to accept this award because I feel like we should be giving Family Equality Council the award. They are the ones who are doing the work,” Our Lady J told Variety. “Our team does a lot of work as well — putting these stories onto the show and making sure that mainstream America understands and empathizes with the trans community — but I think right now the focus should be on these organizations, especially ones that lend money to legal foundations, because that’s where it all ends up and where our rights really change.”
Inside the gala, comedian Tig Notaro used deadpan delivery to charm the crowd as the evening’s emcee. Even as the audience lulled, Notaro managed to reel them back in with her dry wit, jokingly stating, “I’m not for everyone.” At one point, she even engaged in playful banter with Paulson, who was seated directly in front of the stage.
The evening also honored “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” executive producer Jonathan Murray and his longtime partner, Harvey Reese. The award was presented by Kim Kardashian, who announced that moving forward, the trophy would be renamed the Murray-Reese Family Impact Award. In a moving speech, Murray began by thanking Kardashian for her abiding support toward the LGBTQ community, before recognizing those who have paved the way for LGBTQ rights.
“When her step parent [Caitlyn Jenner] made the courageous choice to transition to the person she always knew she way, it was Kim who helped the rest of her family understand and accept Caitlyn’s transition.”
Reese added: “We are always cognizant that the joyful life we’ve created for our family would not be possible without the great men and women who stood up for their rights of the LGBT community L.A.’s [The] Black Cat bar and New York’s Stonewall [Inn] many years ago.”
The star-studded gala also featured appearances from “Modern Family” star Julie Bowen, “American Horror Story” actor Cheyenne Jackson and more.