Water Mill resident Jennifer Lopez received the 2013 Ally for Equality Award at the Human Rights Campaign’s 17th annual National Dinner in Washington, DC on Saturday.
The award celebrates those who strive for LGBT rights. “We recognize Jennifer for her talent, style, compassion, philanthropy and generosity, but foremost for her public commitment to LGBT equality,” HRC president Chad Griffin said in a statement before the event. “Even facing pressure from anti-LGBT groups, Jennifer stands her ground as a strident equality supporter,” added Griffin, lauding Lopez for not caving to pressure from anti-gay groups when she signed on to produce a gay-oriented television program earlier this year. “Throughout her career, Jennifer Lopez has always stood for fairness, justice and equality, and that’s what being an ally is all about.”
In April, Lopez stood up for LGBT families when she signed on as executive producer of The Fosters, the new ABC Family show about a lesbian couple raising their multi-ethnic biological and foster children. JLo said she came aboard after she read the script and connected with it because she has a lesbian aunt. The show was the number one new cable TV series of the summer with millennial viewers.
“For years, Jennifer Lopez has been vocal about her love for the LGBT community, from her outspoken support for marriage equality, to the millions of dollars she’s raised for HIV/AIDS research and her efforts on behalf of bullying and youth anti-violence causes,” the HRC blog notes.
In a 2010 interview with The Advocate, which called her a gay icon, Lopez said she considers her gay audience when cutting a new album, and whether or not they’ll want to impersonate her. “Would any drag queen want to put this on?,” Lopez asked, adding, “No? Then forget it — it’s not worth it.” She also told the magazine that her gay audience is “the best audience ever” when performing live.
Lopez was open about her support of gay marriage and named her manager Benny Medina, who is gay and godfather to her child, among her most trusted friends. She also told The Advocate that she would have no issue if one of her children turned out to be homosexual. “Honestly, it wouldn’t bother me at all,” Lopez said in the interview. “I wouldn’t be shocked or anything.” Lopez continued, “You just love your kids and want them to be happy, because it’s really about love. That’s what this is all about — I sing about it, I do movies about it, and that’s how I live my life.”
The HRC dinner included some 3,400 guests, making it the largest dinner in the organization’s history. Along with honoring Lopez, HRC presented the plaintiffs, including Southampton resident Edie Windsor, and attorneys from the historic Proposition 8 and Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) cases before the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year with the National Equality Award. Vice President Joe Biden was scheduled to give a keynote address at the dinner, but canceled due to the government shutdown.
In past years, the HRC’s annual dinner has had esteemed guests and honorees, including President Barack Obama, Sally Field, Wentworth Miller and Pink, among many others.
Founded in 1980, Human Rights Campaign is the largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. HRC represents a force of more than 1.5 million members and supporters nationwide — all committed to making the organization’s vision a reality.
Visit hrc.org to learn more or get involved.
Next year’s 18th HRC Annual National Dinner is on Saturday, October 25 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC. Save the Date!