Debra Messing of Will & Grace — which returns to NBC this September — used her acceptance speech for GLAAD’s Excellence in Media Award Saturday night in New York City to advocate for resistance to anti-LGBTQ politics, from President Trump to the Republican-controlled Congress.
“Things are getting dire,” Messing told the black-tie crowd attending the annual gala to honor members of the LGBTQ community and allies who work in the news and entertainment media. “To paraphrase Charles Dickens, ‘This year has sucked,’ ” she said. “Unless you are an unenlightened straight cisgender white male, you are a target. That makes us all a target. There is a very bad and very orange man in the White House. At least a few times a month.”
And then she directed her acceptance speech at President Trump’s oldest daughter, Ivanka, who as his unpaid adviser has her own White House office, and who was booed in Germany last month at a women’s summit. “One Jewish mother to another. It is not enough to simply say women’s issues are important to you. It’s time to do something.”
Ivanka, you can change the lives of millions of women and children just by telling your dad stories about real people who are suffering. Don’t let him separate immigrant mothers from their American-born children. Don’t let him take healthcare away from women who need it.
And her remarks were just one part of an evening that began as a mix of celebration, frustration, and resilience that was not lost on the stars or guests. Blue ampersand pins symbolized the night’s “Together” theme, linking human rights activism across women’s, immigrant, LGBTQ labels.
In addition to Messing, the star-studded gala at the Hilton Midtown also featured Whoopi Goldberg — who won Outstanding Reality Program for her trans modeling show, Strut, which she executive produced —in addition to Star Trek’s Zachary Quinto, Christian Slater, Comedy Central’s Trevor Noah and actress and entrepreneur Angelica Ross — who together won for Outstanding Talk Show episode, for The Daily Show — author Janet Mock — who has a new memoir, Surpassing Certainty, out soon — as well as CNN’s out anchor Don Lemon and YouTube sensation Gigi Gorgeous.
Although the evening was filled with jabs at the sitting president, this night wasn’t just about attacking Trump. There was plenty of that, but it felt bigger, because together we are bigger.