Kristin Chenoweth, Tom Ford Honored for Work With LGBTQ Community

Kristin Chenoweth_Trevor Project - Getty - H 2017
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Armie Hammer, Carol Burnett and Tatiana Maslany helped honor the two at TrevorLIVE, a fundraising gala for The Trevor Project.

Stars from across film, television, music and theater converged at The Beverly Hilton on Sunday night for TrevorLIVE, a fundraising gala for The Trevor Project. The group, which focuses on suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth, honored performer Kristin Chenoweth and director and designer Tom Ford for their work with and impact on the LGBTQ community.

Armie Hammer, Carol Burnett, Fergie, Isla Fisher, Lisa Kudrow and Tatiana Maslany were among those on hand to celebrate the honorees and help The Trevor Project raise money for expanded suicide prevention efforts. TrevorLIVE was live-streamed through the organization's Facebook page and featured performances from alternative rock band Garbage and songs from the musical Wicked, along with a live auction. 

Chenoweth, a Tony and Emmy winner who starred in the original cast of Wicked, told The Hollywood Reporter that in the age of social media and cyberbullying, groups like The Trevor Project are more important than ever. 

"We have everything at our fingertips and everything can be done like that, and that means bad comments too can come immediately to somebody and I just want kids to take with them, 'You’ve got to delete, see that and delete,'" she said. 

The honor was especially meaningful to Chenoweth, as she told THR she got involved with the group as a result of a gay childhood friend taking his own life. She elaborated on the story during her acceptance speech, saying her friend Jeff joined a fraternity in college and struggled with his identity. 

"I was hoping he would find his way, but this was 1988, and we didn’t really know about the Trevor Project and we didn’t have it," the performer said. "Jeff had to move on to heaven...and I know tonight he is looking down on me."

Actress Kathy Najimy and Burnett presented the award to Chenoweth, with Burnett joking, "She has told me countless times on numerous occasions that she’s my biggest fan and that I taught her everything she knows. With all humility, I accept the credit."

Hammer, who called working on Ford's 2016 film Nocturnal Animals "one of the great honors of my life," presented the director's honor.

"I’m just myself, and that’s what all of us have a right to be. Unfortunately many young people don’t grow up in an environment where they feel comfortable to be themselves or in which to explore who that self might be," Ford said during his speech. "That is what the Trevor Project is helping to ensure, that the youth of today grow up understanding that they have every right to be themselves."

Ford also added to a common theme of the night, on how Donald Trump's presidency has impacted the LGBTQ community. The Trevor Project said it has had more gay and transgender youths reach out for help in the last year than ever before. 

"We all know we’re currently enduring a political climate that thrives on hate and division so we must work harder to ensure we celebrate and fight for inclusion, understanding and most importantly, love," the director said. 

Maslany, a TrevorLIVE presenter and longtime supporter of the organization, echoed that message of standing up and spreading the word for LGBTQ youth in 2017. 

"We all feel really afraid right now and we all feel in crisis but they’re a very often unheard group," she told THR. "The rate of suicide and the depression in LGBTQ youth is massive and only going up at the same time as we have this incredible visibility and these incredible new platforms in terms of storytelling and film and television. It doesn’t change the fact that politics are altering how people are able to be themselves in the world — that’s horrifying and needs to stop."