HRC’s Ally for Equality Award recognizes the outstanding efforts of those who use their voice to publicly stand up for the LGBTQ community.
In 2017, HRC honored several allies who have committed time, energy and spirit to improve the lives of LGBTQ people and advance equality for all Americans.
Jeffrey Wright: Wright’s portrayal of nurse and former drag queen Belize in both the play and HBO miniseries “Angels in America” earned him a Tony Award and helped cement the actor as a true ally for LGBTQ equality. Wright received HRC’s Ally for Equality Award at the 2017 San Francisco Gala and, during his acceptance speech, delivered a powerful condemnation of Trump’s policies of division and hate.
Uzo Aduba: Known internationally in part for her celebrated role as Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren in the groundbreaking series “Orange is the New Black,” Aduba is an outspoken ally for the LGBTQ community. She credits the show with helping educate her — along with the rest of America — about the unique challenges LGBTQ people face. While acknowledging that improvements are being made, Aduba has also called for greater diversity in television — including more authentic stories of LGBTQ people. The child of immigrants from Nigeria, Aduba has also spoken out about the marginalization and persecution of the LGBTQ community in Nigeria.
HRC honored Aduba with the HRC Ally for Equality Award at the 2017 National Dinner.
Carrie Preston: Emmy Award-winner Preston received the 2017 Ally for Equality Award at this year’s HRC Chicago Gala. With a passion for the arts and natural gift as both a comedic and dramatic actress, Preston has not only landed standout roles in “The Good Wife”, “Person of Interest” and “True Blood,” but also used her talent to start the production company Daisy 3 Pictures, which creates, in her words, “gay films you can take your mother to.”
America Ferrera: Ground-breaking actress Ferrera uses her voice to speak out for justice and equality. A strong advocate for LGBTQ, women’s and immigrants’ rights, she spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention as well as at the historic Women’s March in January. Ferrera has been featured in roles on television, stage and screen, and is executive producer of Refinery 29’s “Behind the Headlines,” a multimedia project dedicated to humanizing the conversations around issues that matter to women. She was recognized with HRC’s Ally for Equality Award at the 2017 Las Angeles Gala in March.
Meryl Streep: Critically-acclaimed actress and LGBTQ icon Meryl Streep was honored with the National Ally for Equality Award at the Greater New York Gala in February. An outspoken advocate for LGBTQ equality, Streep credits her childhood music teachers — including her gay piano teacher and his partner, and another transgender music teacher -- for helping to open her eyes to LGBTQ acceptance.