Celebrities at the HRC Los Angeles Dinner spoke out for Transgender Day of Visibility — a day to celebrate transgender and gender-nonconforming communities and remember the battles they face.
Rob Reiner, Marcia Gay Harden, Yeardley Smith, Peter Paige, Ross Mathews, Lea DeLaria, Fortune Feimster, Jake Choi, Paris Barclay, and Nhandi Craig sent messages of support to trans people in red-carpet interviews with The Advocate Saturday at the JW Marriott L.A. LIVE.
“I am here to support the trans and gender-nonconforming community, and I just want to say God bless you and keep on with your bravery and your voices and your advocacy," said actress Marcia Gay Harden at the event, which raised funds for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest LGBTQ civil rights organization.
“Happy Trans Day of Visibility! Girl, boy, whatever! I got your back,” said Ross Mathews, host of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
“I am here to give you all sorts of love and tell you, I see you, this day of visibility and every day, I see you,” said Peter Paige, star of Queer as Folk and producer of The Fosters and Good Trouble.
“I just want to say to my trans brothers and sisters, you are family. I got your back, bitches,” said Orange Is the New Black star Lea Delaria.
“To the trans community, we support you, we celebrate you. To my very most beautiful, special, extraordinary trans friend Alexandra Grey, thank you for starring on our film, thank you for opening my eyes and my heart. I love you,” said Yeardley Smith, the voice of Lisa Simpson on The Simpsons who was being honored by HRC for her contributions to LGBTQ equality. Smith is producing a coming-of-age, transgender drama starring the actress Grey (Transparent) called Gossamer Folds.
“I support you. I’m with you. I want equal rights and I’m really thinking about all of you and hope that we keep moving forward and keep getting progress and keep getting … the equality that you deserve and we deserve. Much love to you,” said comedian Fortune Feimster.
“To all my trans friends and all the friends I haven’t met yet, go, be strong, you’re gonna do it and we’re gonna do it for you with the Equality Act,” said Paris Barclay, a producer and former president of the Directors Guild of America.
“We’re fighting for you. You are amazing. And just continue to live in truth and don’t take shit from anybody,” said Jake Choi, the star of ABC’s Single Parents who was recently featured in a cover story for The Advocate.
“I just wanted to give a quick shout out to all our fellow transgender Americans. You guys are wonderful people. You guys are making the path so much more easy for other young trans youth to be bold and come out and be themselves and live in their skins. Thank you for being you … If you aren’t out, just know there’s always a door and it’s waiting to be opened,” said Nhandi Craig, a.k.a. DJ Young 1.
“We have to move past singling out transgender, LGBTQ, black, white, Jewish, Muslim, Latino. We have to get way past that and start accepting the idea that we’re all human beings. We’re all human beings, we all share the same planet, and we should all have the same rights, period. It’s no more complicated than that,” said The American President and When Harry Met Sally director Rob Reiner.
Shea Diamond, the transgender singer of “American Pie” who performed at the gala, also reminded allies that “visibility without purpose is a problem.”
“The most important message I can give would be one reminiscent of Miss Major,” Diamond said, referring to the trans icon and Stonewall activist. “It’s not for trans women to be more visible. It’s for those who love us and support us to be more visible and be heard. We’re out here and we’re visible, and we’re being killed out here in these streets. It’s about time we had more people in solidarity that has our back. That’s all we need. So, Trans Day of Visibility. Friend a trans person. Protect a trans person. Stand with a trans person. Stand for trans rights. Stand for equality, for human rights.”
Jacob Tobia, a genderqueer activist and author of Sissy, echoed this message.
“Visibility is profoundly important but we got to remember that it’s only ever step one. So yes, we need to celebrate visibility for trans and gender-nonconforming people. But also know that it doesn’t mean we’re done,” said Tobia.
The fight for transgender equality took center stage at the gala, as well. Sens. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, speakers during the charity event, discussed how trans rights are under attack by the Trump administration in their speeches.
"It is not justice in our country when you ban men and women from serving in this country who love their country and are prepared to die for their country,” said Kamala Harris, referencing the transgender military ban imposed by President Trump that will soon take effect.
Booker spoke to how the fight for equality is shared between minority communities. He referenced the late black gay author James Baldwin in his own remarks: “If they come for you in the morning, then they’re gonna come for me tonight.”
“As long as there’s one child whose being bullied for who they are… as long as there is a president who is banning patriots … we have a collective responsibility to change it,” said Booker.