Ryan Murphy is rising the blue wave.
“In 2020, I’m going to create and fund, with corporate sponsorship, a multi million dollar organization that targets anti LGBTQ candidates running for office,” Murphy announced on Sunday at the Trevor Project’s TrevorLive gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. “Senate and congressional candidates who think they can get votes hurting and discriminating against us — well, we can get votes too.”
The initiative, named “Pose Gives Back,” aims to financially support candidates who are running against those with platforms that stand on anti-LGBTQ views. “We are going to send a message which says you cannot make discrimination against us a political virtue anymore. You can’t keep killing our vulnerable young people by promoting and nationalizing your rural, close-minded anti-constitutional viewpoints,” Murphy said.
Murphy and the cast of “Pose” were honored with the Trevor Project’s Hero Award for their work in furthering LGBTQ representation in television. The Trevor Project is the country’s leading LGBTQ youth suicide prevention organization.
“It was the midterms this year that gave me hope,” Murphy said. “One after one, anti LGBTQ candidates who made hate speech and ideology part of their legacy fell, disgraced and eliminated by Democratic candidates — who were largely boosted by victory by young and female voters, by the way. The number was astounding to me — over 20 anti LGBTQ right wing politicians and their horrifying views gone.
Murphy went on to name politicians against his agenda. “Dana Rohrabacher. Mia Love. Jason Lewis. Pete Sessions — bigots, all of them,” he continued. “And all replaced by our Democratic allies… new politicians who won’t spread harmful and wrong rhetoric that can lead a young LGBTQ person to actually believing they are not good enough or worthy enough to stay on this earth anymore.”
“I have to be honest, it feels a little strange to be to be honored this way when it feels like I have yet to do the work I want to do in celebrating my queer identity,” said Stenberg. “I didn’t come out as gay until about six months ago, so I still consider myself a baby gay,” she joked.
She continued, “Often times, the way that we express ourselves and who we are is postulated in the context of pain and of shame and tragedy. Although that may be a facet of our experiences, it is by no means a totality of who we are. We are joy and we are light.”
The Trevor Project raised $1.5 million by the end of the night.
AT&T, the evening’s main sponsor, received the 20/20 Vision Award for the company’s supportive practices for LGBTQ employees. Having committed $1 million to expanding the Trevor Project’s crisis counseling services, AT&T powers the suicide hotline and text line that connects youth in crisis to trained counselors who can talk them through suicidal thoughts.
The evening also featured several musical performances, beginning with Lauren Jauregui performing her breakout single “Expectations.” “Pose” producer and classical pianist Our Lady J accompanied “Pose” actors Mj Rodriguez and Billy Porter in a duet. Later, Porter joined singer Deborah Cox for a rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” Also in attendance were Emma Roberts, Mara Wilson, Dan Levy, Josie Totah, and Jason Blum.
In line with the show’s creator, “Pose” actor Ryan Jamaal Swain was critical of the current administration’s recent attempts to take away trans and LGBTQ rights. “F— that administration to be quite honest. We have to realize, when you are disenfranchising someone’s being…that’s a problem,” Swain said. “What ‘Pose’ does is, it takes a very specific story and gives you a universal truth…you see yourselves in all of these people no matter if you decide to identify with the LGBTQIA+ community. That is the revolution that is being televised.”