The Human Rights Campaign hit a new high for women last night at the HRC Los Angeles Gala, with women making a strong showing, including the evening’s two main honorees, Portia De Rossi and Kathy Griffin, as well as the keynote speaker Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and special guest speaker Suze Orman, along with other lady luminaries that graced the evening, Meredith Baxter and Jillian Michaels among others. It was an occassion for women to shine, and it is a sign that HRC is sincere in their efforts to get women more involved in the organization. In a packed room of approximately 800 attendees, it appeared that perhaps 20 percent of the guests were women, which is a significant increase from typical HRC events. One woman missed at the gala was Ellen, whose wife Portia received the HRC Visibility Award. Her absence was apparently intentional in order that her other half might have the spotlight to herself, though Ellen’s mom Betty DeGeneres presented the award and reminded the audience now fewer than three times that Portia was the best daughter-in-law she could wish for.
A surprize on the red carpet was Jillian Michaels, every woman’s fantasy personal trainer, looking absolutely smashing and sexy as she strutted down the press line. She was a guest of my favorite personal finance advisor, if only I could afford her, Suze Orman.
It was my third consequtive year of providing pro bono public relations services to HRC for the gala, and as always, it was a tremendously rewarding evening. I had the privilge to work with one of Hollywood’s top publicists, my PR Co-Chair Andy Gelb, and a top-notch team of PR volunteers. After the press line closed down, I was able to sit and enjoy dinner at a table with an assorted mix of interesting and engaging guests. To my right was LA Times blogger Irene Lacher of Culture Monster http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/irene-lacher/, and to my left Mark Takano, a wonderfully friendly 12th grade teacher who is also an member of the Board of Trustees of the Riverside Community College District. Also at Table 57 was one of the most renowned gay journalists in LA, and beyond, Karen O’Camb, who would not be the respected, hard-nosed reporter she is if she didn’t have a few challenging words about the speeches from the podium that night.
I managed to get only one photo from the evening, of myself and Meredith Baxter, who just happens to be the neighbor of my partner’s parents. As the picture was being snapped Meredith was telling me to say “hello” to them.
The evening was definitely a girl’s night out, with lots of out girls!