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2014 has been a breakthrough year for the LGBT community, onscreen and in the headlines.
“Being gay is permeating the mainstream in this country in a way that even 10 years ago was kind of unfathomable,” Zachary Quinto told The Hollywood Reporter while stepping into New York City’s Stage 48 on Thursday night for the OUT100 Awards. “That in and of itself is such staggering movement forward, coupled with all the political gains we’ve had — with some minor recent setbacks. But all that needs to happen is that people need to stand up and come out in whatever way they need to — whether that’s gay or straight — figure out what they believe in, and share it and honor it. It’s happening all around us and in a way that I know people in my generation couldn’t have imagined. It’s more commonplace from this younger crop of adventurers.”
See more Stars’ Best Speeches When Coming Out
After The Case Against 8 and Love Is Strange, the year will close with Benedict Cumberbatch portraying closeted WWII code breaker Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, of which Quinto said, “Benedict! I love my Benedict — I’m so proud of him, and I can’t wait to watch that movie and see him at the Oscars.”
On television, Amazon’s Transparent was top of mind for the ceremony’s guests, including the cast of Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black. “We’ve all been flabbergasted by the overwhelming reaction, but I think the world is ready for trans stories,” said Transparent producer and actress Zachary Druker. “Most people don’t know trans folks in their everyday lives, so in culture, visibility is so important for us to move forward as a community.” Transparent actress Kiersey Clemons added, “With something like that, you expect a little bit of backlash, and we were prepared for it but we didn’t get much. That says so much about our society and the direction we’re going in.”
Orange actress and awards show host Lea DeLaria listed Transparent, Orange and Modern Family as shows with noteworthy LGBT characters, and Danielle Brooks said she loves what Glee and Scandal have done over the years. Alysia Reiner, of both Orange and How to Get Away With Murder, told THR of respective showrunners Shonda Rhimes and Jenji Kohan, “They’re both fearless women about being themselves fully, accepting and embracing all of themselves, which is something we all could learn.”
Nurse Jackie’s Stephen Wallem recalled a quick moment during a Wheel of Fortune episode: “Pat Sajak interviewed a contestant who just so casually mentioned his husband — seeing on television how it’s, ‘No big deal,’ it gives me so much hope.” Additionally, The Real Housewives of New York City‘s Luann de Lesseps highlighted Rosie O’Donnell‘s welcomed return to The View this season.
The evening’s attendees — which also included Christian Siriano, Perez Hilton, Bryanboy and the Fashion Queens cast — praised the recent public announcements from basketball player Jason Collins, football player Michael Sam, and country stars Ty Herndon and Billy Gilman. “Two in one day! What a ripple effect that was,” said GLAAD CEO and president Sarah Kate Ellis.
See more The Making of ‘The Imitation Game’
During the ceremony, which featured performances by Mary Lambert and MNDR, David Burtka presented the Ingenue of the Year honor to Orange’s Samira Wiley, who thanked her parents for accepting her wholly and shared, “It’s OK to be me, it’s OK to be you.” Paul Bettany also gave the Artist of the Year award to Quinto, who set aside his written speech “for another time” due to the overly loud crowd and instead said simply, “Stand up for who you are, and live what you believe,” to a roaring applause.
Jaimie Alexander presented the Entertainer of the Year award to an absent Ellen Page, and Neon Trees’ Tyler Glenn awarded the Breakout of the Year honor to an absent Sam Smith. HBO’s Looking sent their gratitude for the TV Show of the Year award via video from their wrap party on a San Francisco rooftop. Buick’s LGBT communications manager Joe LaMuraglia, and a video greeting from Glee’s Darren Criss, presented the Readers’ Choice Award to YouTube personality Tyler Oakley. “I won’t distract you from the alcohol!” he told the boisterous audience, and thanked them for acknowledging the impact of his living-room broadcasts.
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