On Saturday, members and supporters of the Mazzoni Center took over the Wells Fargo Bank and Museum for its fourth-annual Elixir Gala. The sold-out party, with the theme “Out Is the New In,” included a well-stocked open bar, delicious food, and a silent auction with prizes ranging from laser hair removal to GayBINGO tickets to a seven-night luxury trip to the Caribbean. When the mingling portion of the evening subsided, Master of Ceremonies Jim Donovan took the stage to announce this year’s 2014 Elixir Honorees. (But first a few photos from the evening, from Freedom G Photography’s Tara Lessard.)
Dr. Anita Radix, the director of research and education at the Callen-Lorde Health Center in New York, received the OUT in Medicine Award. Dr. Radix has been a longtime advocate for LGBT equality. The Callen-Lorde Health Center primarily serves the LGBT community, and Dr. Radix herself is experienced in HIV and transgender care. She uses this knowledge in her educational positions at Columbia and Yale, where she works with medical and nurse practitioner students on LGBT health. She kept it brief on the microphone, and simply reminded the audience of the difficulty that many LGBT individuals have in accessing healthcare.
AIDS Fund’s Executive Director, Robb Reichard, received the OUT Activist Award. His monthly event, GayBINGO, has raised over $2,000,000, and has become one of Philadelphia’s most popular monthly fundraisers. He stated, “1 in 5 gay men have HIV/AIDS, according to the CDC,” and later explained the importance of the emergence of TRUVADA in preventing the transmission of HIV/AIDS. But perhaps most memorable of all, was a quote he shared from his father, “If you want to be a success surround yourself with good people.”
Pennsylvania State Representative and Out 100 listee Brian Sims received the OUT in Politics Award. He hit the stage with a drink in his hand, and joked, “It’s a gay event, I can bring my drink up here.” After lightening the mood he used his drink to propose a toast to MC’s David Rosenblum, Mazzoni Center’s legal director who passed away suddenly on May 2nd. The mention elicited a wave of cheers from the audience.
The final award went to Margaret S. Stumpp, who received the OUT in Business Award. She currently works as the Senior Advisor for Quantitative Investment Management Associates (QMA) a $100 billion investment management subsidiary out of Prudential Financial that she helped found. Her award serves as a testament to her journey of transitioning while she was on the job at Prudential, a job where billions of dollars were being managed. She survived and thrived, and used this experience to help educate others, and now does presentations across the U.S. to increase awareness and acceptance of transgender individuals in the workplace.
Then the entertainment: After the honorees were announced, Lea DeLaria, most recently known as Orange is the New Black‘s Big Boo, climbed the stage. She dropped an F-bomb within two seconds of being on the mic, which warmed the audience up right away. She delivered jazz realness, and boy can she belt it out. This lesbian goddess wasn’t afraid to roast people in the audience either, throwing plenty of playful jabs out to anyone who spoke too loud or pissed her off. For example, during her number she called for everyone to sing along, and when the audience didn’t sing back, she stopped the song. “I clearly said everyone and not one of you bitches sang.” She gave the audience a lesson on the lyrics, and by the end everyone was singing with her. After her set, she gave a quick and hilarious reminder to donate, donate, donate. “I know there’s a queen out there with a black Express card.” She had the audience completely gagging.