GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, today hosted a digital event to highlight the LGBTQ response to COVID-19 and to raise money for CenterLink and local LGBTQ centers affected by COVID-19.
“Together in Pride: You are Not Alone”, hosted by Billy Eichner and Lilly Singh, brought the LGBTQ community together with messages of acceptance and honored LGBTQ heroes providing direct services during COVID-19. The event raised an initial donation of over $225,000 for the LGBTQ community centers that are members of CenterLink. Donations are still being collected. The Ariadne Getty Foundation (AGF), GLAAD’s largest donor, made a donation of $150,000 to the event. Ariadne Getty, President and Executive Director of AGF, said: “LGBTQ community centers and GLAAD are cornerstones of the community and we are proud to help their important work to help LGBTQ people everywhere.”
To watch the event: click here and follow #TogetherInPride
Actor and producer Erich Bergen directed the event and served as an Executive Producer with GLAAD staff.
During the event, GLAAD also premiered an exclusive clip from the upcoming Hulu series Love, Victor. Inspired by and set in the world of the GLAAD Media Award-winning film Love, Simon, the upcoming Hulu series follows Victor, a new student at Creekwood High School, on his own journey of self-discovery, facing challenges at home, adjusting to a new city, and learning about his sexual orientation. Love, Victor premieres June 19th on Hulu.
Hosts Billy Eichner and Lilly Singh interviewed LGBTQ notables throughout the event, which also featured several musical performances from talent including Kesha, Melissa Etheridge, Mj Rodriguez & George Salazar, Alex Newell, and the cast of Broadway’s “Jagged Little Pill.” The event also featured interviews with executive directors of local LGBTQ centers and Dr. Darien Sutton, an Attending Emergency Physician currently working to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in NYC.
Participants included Barbra Streisand, Billy Porter, Mayor Pete & Chasten Buttigieg, Rosie O'Donnell, Matt Bomer, Wilson Cruz, August Getty, Gigi Gorgeous & Nats Getty, Sean Hayes, Adam Lambert, Dan Levy, Tatiana Maslany, Ross Mathews, Javier Muñoz, Tyler Oakley, D.J. Shangela Pierce, Bebe Rexha, Brian Michael Smith, Patrick Starrr, Sharon Stone, Jonathan Van Ness, Michelle Visage, and GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.
The “Together in Pride: You are Not Alone” livestream raised critical funds for CenterLink, a coalition of more than 250 LGBTQ community centers from 45 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, as well as Canada, China, Mexico, and Australia. During the epidemic, LGBTQ community centers are still providing critical services such as medical care, shelter for homeless LGBTQ youth, mental health counseling, filling prescriptions, providing hot meals and check-in phone calls for older adults, and hosting virtual support groups to decrease social isolation. LGBTQ community centers could be forced to shrink their services, meaning two million LGBTQ people who use the centers each year could go without care and community.
"During this truly unprecedented time, tonight’s event brought together some of the world’s biggest stars to send necessary messages of support, solidarity, and community to LGBTQ people across the world, as well as the heroes on the frontlines battling this pandemic," said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “LGBTQ people are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, and we have a responsibility to highlight the impact of this pandemic on our community, as well as to ensure that LGBTQ people are not left behind. The funds raised for CenterLink will help to support the community centers providing direct and life-saving services to LGBTQ people at a time when they need it most.”
"LGBTQ centers are the heart of the community, and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic these centers have continued to provide vital connectivity and services, pivoting to virtual programming, modifying in-person services when possible, and ensuring that their communities have resources and support when they need it the most," said Denise Spivak, Interim CEO of CenterLink.
Official media partners Bustle, Entertainment Weekly, Los Angeles Blade, LGBTQ Nation, Logo, Metro Weekly, NBC Out, People, Pride Media (Advocate, Out, Pride.com, PLUS), Queerty, The Randy Report, them, Thomson Reuters Foundation (Openly), Washington Blade, and Windy City Times helped to share GLAAD’s “Together in Pride: You are Not Alone” livestream across their social channels, sending messages of acceptance and affirmation to the LGBTQ community.
GLAAD has also launched a COVID-19 portal on its website, which provides the latest news updates, self-care tips, how-tos, stories of inspiration from LGBTQ leaders, and more to help the LGBTQ community through this unprecedented time.
The impact of COVID-19 on LGBTQ people has been far-reaching. In March, GLAAD joined over 100 LGBTQ organizations in an open letter calling on U.S. public health officials and media to address the heightened vulnerability of LGBTQ people to COVID-19. Amongst other factors, the LGBTQ community experiences higher rates of cancer, HIV, and tobacco use – all which factor into higher susceptibility to negative outcomes from COVID-19. Additionally, LGBTQ people continue to experience discrimination and unwelcoming attitudes in medical settings, and as a result, many are reluctant to seek medical care. GLAAD also joined AIDS United and over 90 organizations in calling on Congress to recognize the increased vulnerability of people living with HIV to COVID-19. Prior to the livestream, GLAAD also launched a storytelling campaign on its site to spotlight LGBTQ people responding to COVID-19 and to remember community members lost in the pandemic.
On April 15th, Centerlink released a letter signed by over 160 LGBTQ community centers to House and Senate leaders, asking them to include nonprofits who serve the LGBTQ population in future relief packages. The letter states: “The reality is more assistance is needed for LGBT community centers. They are providing critical services such as medical care, mental health counseling, virtual support groups, filling prescriptions, providing hot meals and check-in phone calls for older adults, serving as shelters for homeless youth, distributing nonperishable food items and hygiene products, case management, HIV testing, and hosting virtual engagement activities to decrease social isolation. Given the current financial crisis and loss of revenue, LGBT community centers could be forced to shrink their services, meaning tens of thousands could go without care.” The letter continues, “We urge Congress to expand the eligibility for nonprofits to participate in future stimulus packages. LGBT community centers are relying on you so that we can continue to provide critical and essentially needed services in response to the COVID-19 crisis.”
Sarah Kate Ellis and Erich Bergen served as Executive Producers of the “Together in Pride: You are Not Alone,” as well as GLAAD Media Award producers and staff members Anthony Ramos, Bill McDermott, Mark Hartnett, and Rich Ferraro.