More than 400 guests and celebrities filled the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Saturday night October 13 to support LGBTQ scholars. The event, Point Honors Los Angeles raised more than $400,000 for Point Foundation (Point), the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization for nearly 100 LGBTQ students of merit nationwide.
At the gala, Eric McCormack, aka ‘Will’ of the Emmy Award nominated “Will and Grace” received the Point Impact Award. Actor and singer-songwriter Cheyenne Jackson presented the award to McCormack for his efforts to impact and significantly improve the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) plus allied community. Steven Canals, writer, Co-Creator, and Co-Executive Producer of the acclaimed FX Series “POSE,” received the Point Horizon Award. Best-selling author and advocate Janet Mock presented the award to Canals, which is given to a trailblazer who has taken a leadership role as an advocate of the LGBTQ community.
Both McCormack and Canals used their acceptance speeches to send inspiring messages of support and encouragement to Point Foundation’s LGBTQ scholarship recipients and alumni, a number of whom were in the audience.
“I’ve been on this stage many times over the last twenty years, but I don’t think I’ve ever stood in front of a braver, stronger, more inspirational group of people,” McCormack said. “No one’s going out there with the determination, the empathy, the humor, the talent and the love that you, collectively, can harness. You are the future. Go show us how it’s done. And we will follow.”
“Whether you are a woman, a person of color, or LGBTQ, you will not, you cannot, be held back by your perceived limitations,” Canals said. “College is where I discovered that my voice would be my
weapon of choice. And in this heavily contested and highly political time, I implore each and every one of you to speak out. It is your right, and your duty!”
An astonishing number of LGBTQ celebs were in attendance and working the red carpet. Comedian and writer Solomon Georgio hosted the inspiring evening, which included a special performance by Leona Lewis. Also performing were musical talents Jennifer Foster, Mike Cordone, and jackbenny, as well as dancer, Point Scholar Michael Arellano. Celebrity participants included Kalen Allen, Thomas Dekker, August Getty, Blair Imani, Trace Lysette, Conrad Ricamora, Hailie Sahar, Nico Santos, Johnny Sibilly, Tracie Thoms, Jacob Tobias and many others. Previous honorees, Jason Collins, Greg Louganis, and Adam Shankman also attended the gala.
Many of them were interviewed on the red carpet by Los Angeles Blade’s 11-year old Lily Soloway, daughter of Los Angeles based immigration attorney Lavi Soloway and his husband television executive Sebastian Dungan. Lily is thought to be the youngest person to ever host a red carpet for an LGBT media outlet.
Point Foundations announced that Creative Artists Agency (CAA) would begin underwriting a new Point Foundation Scholarship in 2019. Jorge Valencia, Executive Director and CEO of Point Foundation, says the support of CAA, along with the many corporations and generous individuals who made Point Honors possible, is a message of encouragement that will bring much hope to LGBTQ students.
“October is LGBTQ history month, and while we recognize the achievement of LGBTQ leaders who paved the way for us, we can best honor their achievements by investing in the future – our young people,” Valencia said. “Tonight’s honorees, our special guests, and everyone joining us for Point Honors share our commitment to expand access to education for all young people eager to improve themselves and the world around them.”