A sense of urgency defined the 14th annual National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Leadership Awards, held in Los Angeles on September 28. Award recipient David Lee, cocreator and executive producer of Frasier, was honored in part for his uncompromising opposition when Paramount decided to put Dr. Laura Schlessinger on TV. Lee displayed the same outspokenness Sunday night in his fiery acceptance speech, which took gay organizations to task for failing to challenge homophobia in religious institutions.
Next, transgender activist Calpernia Addams, the real-life heroine portrayed in Ron Nyswaner's award-winning telefilm Soldier's Girl, won laughs and applause as she challenged television executives to create transgendered characters who aren't "hookers and psychos."
L.A. city councilman Antonio Villaraigosa was honored for his staunch advocacy of GLBT causes during his time as California state assembly majority leader.
Last came Rosie and Kelli O'Donnell, honored for their work on behalf of gay adoption. O'Donnell lightened up the festivities from the start. When it was announced that gorgeous Amazing Race winner Reichen Lehmkuhl was in the back of the theater, O'Donnell called out from the front row, "Oh, I love him! Why'd you break up with that cute guy?" Later O'Donnell turned serious--and generous. She donated $100,000 from the podium and challenged nine other wealthy gay rights supporters to follow her lead, in order to raise $1 million for NGLTF's grassroots operations.