On a night celebrating three Hollywood figures for their contributions to the LGBTQ community, it was Donald Trump that seemed to take center stage.
Wanda Sykes, Jill Soloway and Wilson Cruz were honored Saturday by the Point Foundation, an organization that supports higher education for LGBTQ youth through scholarships and mentoring. With the president’s recent attack on the transgender community, and gay rights as whole, the night became a call to action and a reaffirmation of support from the honorees.
“We’ve got to gear up and just do more, because there’s a bigger battle out there to fight, all the cuts and things they’re taking away from LGBTQ organizations and rights,” Sykes told The Hollywood Reporter.
Currently starring on ABC’s Black-ish, Sykes has long been an LGBTQ advocate as a gay woman herself. She continued to discuss Trump in her award’s acceptance speech, when she mocked him for throwing paper towels into a crowd of Puerto Ricans when visiting after Hurricane Maria last week.
Soloway, creator of Amazon’s Transparent, who identifies are gender non-binary and created the show when her parent came out as transgender, has been similarly affected by Trump’s presidency.
“I would say before the election, I think in some ways we really took for granted that the world was with us, and then the shocking turn of events and now I think a lot of people feel like you just can’t stop, you know?” Soloway told THR. “When you’re not tweeting you should be marching, when you’re not marching you should be yelling and then save an hour for self-care and then get back out there and try to change the world.”
Attendees at the event, held at the Beverly Hilton, included Anthony Anderson (who presented Sykes with her award), Kathryn Hahn, Judith Light, Naya Rivera and host Michelle Collins. Adam Lambert also performed several songs to close out the ceremony.
Hahn gave a speech honoring Soloway, telling the story of how the two met five years ago at the Silverlake Farmers’ Market. Since then they have become close friends and have worked together on Transparent, I Love Dick and Afternoon Delight. Anderson spoke about Sykes, with whom he co-stars on Black-ish. Cruz did not attend the event and sent a video accepting his award.
The Point Foundation honored many of its scholarship students throughout the night as well, sharing personal stories of how some of the LGBTQ youth were abandoned by their parents after coming out and the organization provided a way for them to go to college.
A live auction raised money for more scholarships to be offered next year by Point Foundation, which has given out more than 350 scholarships since its creation in 2001.
“I know that a lot of LGBTQ students kind of shy away sometimes from pursuing secondary education because of things like bullying or feeling like they’re not a part of something or maybe their parents didn’t support the idea,” said Lambert. “So I think this is an amazing organization to give them that support and that backbone to pursue their education.”
Soloway said that her goals align closely with the Point Foundation’s in shedding light on unrecognized gay and trans people and giving them opportunities to succeed. “On Transparent, that means giving them opportunities in front of the camera, behind the camera, in the office. It’s a state of emergency for women, people of color, queer people, trans people,” she said. “Every opportunity you get to help people up onto the boat.”