Debra Messing: ‘It’s time to make America gay again!’

Cleansing the Room

Ross Mathews, in his fourth turn as host, told me on the red carpet that this year “feels different.” “We’re gonna be real, real. Not mean, but just real,” outlining his approach. “You can’t put the genie back in the bottle [on social awareness], but you can take away rights.” On stage, he noted that Trump claimed victory from this very room on election night. He broke into a brilliant flaming (and flaming) sage ritual “in the name of Liza and Judy and all this is holy,” to cleanse away lingering negative energy, bringing the house down in laughter in the process.

Rosie O’Donnell’s appearance was a surprise, and then she surprised fans by pretending to tweet from the stage: “’Fuck you, Donald. From the gays.’ Sent.”

O’Donnell was there to introduce Billy Porter, recipient of the Vito Russo Award for his advocacy work and theatre career.

Billy Porter Hannah Simpson

Porter turned around to discuss his first disastrous interview on her show and the moment thereafter. “Rosie saw ambush in my eyes. ‘What’s wrong? My office, no bullshit.’” This night of celebration was a series of formative moments.

Hannah Simpson

“Go look for a gown, not a dress,” LGBTQ Nation assistant editor Dawn Ennis repeatedly advised me in preparing to cover this 28th annual GLAAD Media Awards. I have never purchased or worn a gown before. As a reporter for the first time at the LGBTQ community’s biggest media night, the stakes get raised.