Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, announced that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and award-winning actor Sigourney Weaver will be honored at the 2016 Greater New York Gala on Saturday, February 6. In addition, HRC announced Grammy Award-winning British singer and songwriter Jess Glynne will perform for the gathering.
During his tenure, Governor Cuomo has made LGBT equality a core part of his agenda, from fighting for marriage equality to combating HIV/AIDS to removing obstacles and improving opportunities for transgender Americans. Last fall, Governor Cuomo went even farther, taking a historic step to extend via executive action vitally important non-discrimination protections to transgender New Yorkers and visitors in employment, housing, and public accommodations. Building upon state and federal case law, Governor Cuomo’s administration issued regulations clarifying that gender identity is included in the definitions of sex and disability which are protected under current state non-discrimination law. A state bill to explicitly create these protections -- GENDA -- had stalled in the state senate for years before Governor Cuomo’s leadership ensured transgender people would have recourse under existing law. HRC will present Governor Cuomo with the National Equality Award.
“Governor Cuomo has been a steadfast champion for LGBT New Yorkers, committed to advancing equality not only when it’s easy, but when it’s hard,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “His remarkable leadership in fighting for full LGBT equality in the Empire State sets an example elected officials across the nation should emulate. We are so proud to honor Governor Cuomo with the National Equality Award and celebrate his work on behalf of our community.”
HRC will also recognize award-winning actor Sigourney Weaver, who will be honored for her tremendous advocacy on behalf of LGBT equality throughout her career. HRC’s Ally for Equality award recognizes the outstanding efforts of those who dedicate time, energy, spirit and whole-hearted commitment to better the lives of LGBT people. This award is given to allies outside the LGBT community who stand up on behalf of equality for all Americans. Weaver unapologetically embraces these qualities in a belief that the fight for LGBT equality is the “big battle” of our time.
“Sigourney Weaver has been a valuable and outspoken ally to the LGBT community,” said Griffin. “Using her influence and global platform to bring attention to the challenges faced by our community, she is committed to advancing fairness and equality and improving the lives of LGBT people. We are grateful for her work, and proud to recognize her accomplishments with our Ally for Equality Award.”
HRC also announced a special performance from Grammy award-winning artist Jess Glynne. In 2014, Glynne won a Grammy for "Best Dance Recording" for her feature on the two-time platinum record, "Rather Be" with Clean Bandit, which she went on to receive accolades and pop-radio airplay for her next smash single, "Hold My Hand." Glynne's debut album, "I Cry When I Laugh," debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart in 2015. Glynne, who has been outspoken about defying labels and the fight for equality, was recently honored within the annual OUT 100 and is currently gearing up for a North American tour kicking off later this month.
"We are thrilled that Jess Glynne will be performing at our Greater New York Gala," said Griffin. "She's a rising star in the music world, and we are looking forward to an inspiring performance that will make the evening even more memorable."
The Greater New York Gala is one of HRC’s biggest events of the year, attracting more than 1,000 of the organization’s most active grassroots leaders, supporters, and members. The event regularly draws political officials from federal, state, and local governments, as well as celebrity entertainers and leaders in the business community. As previously announced, Accenture will receive the HRC Corporate Equality Award at the event for their commitment to equality for the LGBT community, and multi-award winning artist Bill T. Jones will be honored with the HRC Visibility Award for his work to bring to light the struggles and resilience of those living with HIV.
To purchase tickets for the #HRCGreaterNY gala or learn more about the event, please visit www.HRCGreaterNY.org