Jamie Lee Curtis and Brandi Carlile were among the distinguished honorees at this year’s Out100 Celebration, receiving The Advocate’s Advocate of the Year and Out magazine’s Icon Award, respectively, for their contributions to advancing LGBTQ+ rights.
“These are very dangerous times,” Curtis said upon accepting her honor from presenter Candis Cayle, “and I’m very happy to be in a room with people who are fighting the best fight they can fight.”
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Held on Thursday at NeueHouse Hollywood, the cocktail soiree and red carpet procession featured prominent queer stars such as drag queens Trixie Mattel and Symone, Queer Eye star Tan France and previous honorees like GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. The 2023 Out100 list, which compiles the most influential queer individuals across entertainment, politics and business, included honorees like Dylan Mulvaney, Andrew Scott, David Archuleta, Vincint, Kim Petras and Zooey Zephyr.
“I looked at the entire list and I saw that from all walks of life, from every corner of LGBTQIA+ life, from every space in queer life, we’re platforming and drawing attention to people and the good work that they’re doing and the joy that they’re spreading from within our culture, also while really owning that that’s the cornerstone, the foundation of the influence for them,” Carlile told The Hollywood Reporter on the carpet.
Inside the event, Curtis spoke about how she hopes her platform can be channeled towards bringing awareness to and uplifting marginalized communities. “Especially for people who have felt hidden their entire lives, and who have had the remarkable courage to state their truths like my beautiful daughter, Ruby,” the Halloween star said of her child, who came out as trans in 2021. “I honor her courage … As a woman in recovery, I know only too well that the truth will set you free. Freedom is the goal for all LGBTQ+IA human beings.”
She continued, “My love for both of my daughters is absolute. It has never wavered, and it will never waver. As their mother, it is my job to help protect them, and I hope teach them that this is what you do when you’re a parent: you suit up and you show up with your heart open and your arms outstretched and your aim, true. Your job is to tell the haters to back the f—off.”
Curtis used her speech to call out the rise in anti-LGBTQ+ legislation backed by far-right politicians, saying, “I pray that the homophobia and transphobia that is being championed in the name of religion by the right is exposed and silenced as wrong by the love of humanity that is the center of our gay and out trans community.”
The star also took a moment to address recent backlash she received for an Instagram post regarding the Israel-Hamas war; following the initial Hamas attack, the star posted an image of children with the caption “terror from the skies” and an Israeli flag, but the children in the photo were actually from Gaza.
“I am also human and therefore I am flawed and contradictory, and I make mistakes, and I post things incorrectly and I say the wrong thing occasionally and I try to own them. But in this time of great conflict around the world, where we are all — every one of us — trying to find our individual center of care and compassion and outreach so that we can use our voices to help people amidst the cacophony of hate that is surrounding us,” she told the crowd. “My entire life has been focused on the care and treatment of critically ill and injured children wherever they are, whoever they are, whatever country they’re from, whatever their circumstances, religious affiliations. I will continue to do that amidst all of the anger and division and cleaving of our shared coexistence, our shared humanity. Tonight, I hope you will join me as I pray for the safe release of hostages all over the world, especially children. And I pray for the cessation of violence perpetrated against all people, all over the world, especially the children.”
Following the presentation of Curtis’ award, France took to the stage to introduce Carlile, a longtime friend with whom he’s shared parenting tips and, according to the latter, “soireed into queer domesticity together.”
“I was totally blown away and I had a hard time getting my head around the concept of being an icon or receiving such a prestigious accolade,” Carlile told THR of being honored. “I was having flashbacks to being a teenager and coming out of the closet and seeing things like Out and The Advocate and GLAAD and all of these different publications and platforms for queer people and recognizing that … I really needed that. I saw that as a future for myself in ways that I didn’t really understand at the time. The thought that this could mean that to someone else is really big. That’s more important than any Grammy.”
The singer-songwriter told the audience she was proud to represent the queer community, joking, “To think that I was cutting out pictures of lesbians in powersuits as a kid, and I might be that lesbian today.”
The Out100 festivity marked the continued progression of queer visibility in the public eye — a quality that RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Symone said provided a unifying moment for the community.
“Sometimes we seek outward validation from outside of our community but it’s always nice that we commend ourselves and we’re like, ‘We see you, we know what you’re doing,’” the drag queen and model said. “It’s so important that you highlight that because it’s nothing like getting it from the people that you’re most of the time doing it for.”
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