Audra McDonald to Make Appearance at PFLAG NYC Gala, 10/15
PFLAG NYC (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays of New York City) has just announced that Audra McDonald as the featured honoree at the 32nd Annual PFLAG NYC Awards Gala to be held on Monday, October 15, at Tribeca Three Sixty in New York City. Ms. McDonald will receive the PFLAG NYC "Stay Close" Leadership Award in recognition of her years advocating full equality for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and for her participation in the PFLAG NYC "Stay Close" campaign which features straight celebrities appearing with their LGBT loved ones.
"Bobby and Andy have been there for me at so many important points in my life," explains Ms. McDonald about her godfathers, Bobby Wilson and Andy Gale, who are gay and with whom she will appear in a new "Stay Close" portrait to be unveiled at the PFLAG NYC gala. "I love them so much. I don't know what I would do without them."
"Stay Close" is a communications effort launched by PFLAG NYC to raise awareness for the organization and its mission to help LGBT people and their families. The campaign is based on a simple truth: Life is about relationships, and relationships with our loved ones are too precious to lose merely because someone is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. With her "Stay Close" portrait, Ms. McDonald joins an esteemed and star-studded roster of PFLAG NYC allies, including Cyndi Lauper, Ben Affleck, and Rosario Dawson.
The PFLAG NYC Awards Gala will benefit the Safe Schools Program, where parents and LGBT speakers work with classrooms of middle and high school students across the city. In the past two years, Safe Schools has spoken to over 8,000 students in the five boroughs, sharing family stories and engaging students in what, for many of them, is the first open and respectful conversation they have had about LGBT issues. "Bringing the Safe Schools Program to our students has made a huge difference in how they relate to one another and has helped to create a much more respectful environment for everyone," said Jim Tierney, a middle school English teacher at the Paula Hedbavny School in Washington Heights, Manhattan. Speakers often use the celebrity power of the "Stay Close" campaign to inspire dialogue with students, and to demonstrate that LGBT people can be a part of loving, supportive families.
In addition to Audra McDonald, City Councilmember Daniel Dromm, the first openly gay teacher in NYC and a longtime advocate for LGBT rights will also receive a PFLAG NYC "Stay Close" Leadership Award for his many accomplishments on behalf of the LGBT community. And for the first time, this year's gala will present the PFLAG NYC Safe Schools Leadership Award to an educator who has promoted understanding and acceptance in order to create a climate where all students can thrive.
Major national and New York corporations help support the work of PFLAG NYC in the schools, directly helping keep families together when a young person comes out as LGBT. JetBlue Airways, New York's Hometown Airline(TM), is the Platinum Sponsor of the dinner for the seventh consecutive year, and MetLife is also a lead sponsor.