HRC Announces Rep. Lucy McBath, Cynthia Erivo & Ryan O’Connell to Headline the 2019 HRC Atlanta Gala

by Hayley Miller

WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization — announced that Rep. Lucy McBath, who made history as the first Black woman elected to Georgia’s 6th District, will speak at the 32nd annual HRC Atlanta Gala Dinner on Saturday, May 4. HRC also announced that actress Cynthia Erivo will be honored with the HRC Ally for Equality Award and actor and writer Ryan O’Connell will be honored with the HRC Visibility Award at the event.

“From speaking out against the Trump-Pence administration’s discriminatory trans military ban to fighting for the Equality Act, Rep. Lucy McBath continues to be a tireless advocate and ally to the LGBTQ community,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “By working to achieve crucial non-discrimination protections for our community, Rep. McBath is a key leader in our effort for full federal equality, and we are honored to welcome her to the 2019 HRC Atlanta Gala Dinner.”

“Cynthia Erivo is a multi-talented artist who is using her platform to lift up the LGBTQ community,” said Griffin. “On the page, stage, screen and beyond, Cynthia Erivo is leaving her mark on American culture while proudly standing with us as a fierce ally and advocate. We are excited to honor Cynthia Erivo with the HRC Ally for Equality Award at the 2019 HRC Atlanta Gala Dinner.”

“Ryan O’Connell is an incredibly gifted artist and activist who is inspiring LGBTQ young people, people living with disabilities, and so many others across the country,” continued Griffin. “As a writer, actor, producer and advocate, Ryan O’Connell is changing countless hearts and minds by boldly speaking out for fairness and equality. We are proud to honor Ryan O’Connell with the HRC Visibility Award at the 2019 HRC Atlanta Gala Dinner.”

A longtime champion for LGBTQ equality, Rep. Lucy McBath has spoken out against the Trump-Pence administration’s discriminatory trans military ban and supports the Equality Act — crucial bipartisan legislation that would finally provide clear, comprehensive non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people nationwide. In 2017, McBath joined Gold Star father Khizr Khan, HRC National Press Secretary Sarah McBride, DREAMer Astrid Silva, international disability rights activist Anastasia Somoza and Karla Ortiz, the 12-year old daughter of undocumented parents, to create a united message of hope for resistance under an administration intent to divide and conquer.

Cynthia Erivo has been a vocal advocate and ally for the LGBTQ community, from speaking out against the Trump-Pence administration’s discriminatory trans military ban to honoring the victims of the Pulse massacre. An award-winning actress, Cynthia Erivo is also a singer and songwriter best known for her performance as Celie in the 2015 Broadway revival of The Color Purple. Her performance on Broadway earned her several awards, including a Tony Award, a Grammy Award, a Daytime Emmy Award, the Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Awards. Erivo recently starred in Steve McQueen’s drama “Widows” and Drew Goddard’s “Bad Times at The El Royale” and currently is in production on the HBO Series’ “The Outsider” based on the novel by Stephen King. Erivo will be seen next in Kasi Lemmons’ “Harriet,” where she will elevate the legacy of Harriet Tubman, who helped free hundreds of slaves from the South after escaping slavery herself in 1849.

As a gay man with cerebral palsy, actor, writer and producer, Ryan O’Connell has been an outspoken advocate for both the LGBTQ community and people living with disabilities. Based on his 2015 memoir, I’m Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves, Netflix’s new show Special is a coming-of-age comedy inspired by events in O’Connell’s life that navigates sexuality and disability. O’Connell’s writing has been featured on Thought Catalog, Vice, The New York Times, Buzzfeed, Medium and numerous other publications. He has also worked on MTV’s Awkward and Will & Grace.

Set to take place at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, the annual event brings together hundreds of HRC’s most active members and supporters in the Atlanta area to raise crucial funds in the fight for LGBTQ equality. Tickets and further information are available at

Media interested in covering the event should request media credentials by email to Due to limited space, only members of the media who have been credentialed in advance will be allowed entrance.

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