“We’re so happy that we could keep our tent up for an additional week. After all, nobody can party like this community,” joked HBO SVP Jeffrey Guthrie at the Pacific Design Center Saturday night at the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s 47th annual Vanguard Awards. The network was the presenting sponsor for the event, which used the same ocean blue set-up from its Emmy fete last week.
At the LGBT Center’s soiree, actors also showed up to support the night’s winners. “Modern Family” stars Nolan Gould and Julie Bowen attended for Vanguard Award recipient and co-star Jesse Tyler Ferguson along with Tie the Knot co-founder and husband Justin Mikita.
“America has had a gay family in their living rooms for years, and they’ve fallen in love with them,” Bowen said of Ferguson’s portrayal of Mitchell Pritchett in the ABC comedy. “They’ve quickly become a fixture in pop culture. As funny, conflicting, and loving as any other sitcom family, Jesse’s work has been instrumental in changing how the world sees and accepts gay couples.”
While noting many advancements made in the LGBT movement, the evening was not remiss with recent setbacks for the community. Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Lorri L. Jean had the crowd on its feet when speaking about the nation’s current state of LGBT politics, noting the attack on Pulse Night Club in Orlando as well as anti-LGBT legislation passed in the last year.
“The good news is that we beat back those forces virtually everywhere else, due to the impressive show of support from both the general public and corporate America, including Hollywood,” she said. “Perhaps not many North Carolinians were phased when concerts were canceled by the likes of Maroon 5 or Cyndi Lauper, but when the NCAA cancels several championship tournaments in a state that reveres college athletics – that’s hitting them where it hurts.”
Greg Louganis also made an appearance during the evening to present an award to Olympian Amini Fonua. The ceremony, emceed by Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney, also lent itself as a fundraising event that included a raffle, silent auction, and live auction – which ended with the impromptu selling of two tables and bottle service at the Abbey in West Hollywood. The deal went for $1,800 to two bidders.