Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) held its Annual Gala on Tuesday, October 9, where over 400 supporters gathered for an awards presentation at New York City’s Plaza Hotel which raised more than $600,000 to benefit GMHC’s services for thousands of men, women, and families living with and affected by HIV.
Among those honored at the gala were the following:
Phill Wilson, president and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute, was presented with the Judith Peabody Humanitarian Award, (Wilson announced he is retiring from the institute, which he founded in 1999).
Nathan Coyle, CEO of Pride Media (The Advocate, Out, and Plus magazines), was presented with the Corporate Impact Award by Tony Award–winning actor Billy Porter (Porter stars on Pose and plays an HIV-positive character).
Oscar-winner Michael Douglas presented the inaugural Joan H. Tisch Award for Community Service and Philanthropy to her son, Jonathan Tisch. In recognition of the Tisch family’s continued support of GMHC, Jonathan Tisch announced that GMHC’s new headquarters at 307 West 38th Street will be named in honor of Joan Tisch.
Corey Johnson, the first openly HIV-positive Speaker of the New York City Council, received the Larry Kramer Activism Award. Johnson thanked GMHC Co-Founder Larry Kramer and other early AIDS activists for paving the way for someone like himself to not only be alive today, but to be in such a powerful position. Johnson who has been very open about his living with HIV and having dealt with alcoholism, was presented his award by Hamilton star Javier Muñoz (who is HIV-positive).
In his remarks, Johnson said, “We need to ask ourselves: are we really serious about ending this epidemic, or is it just a slogan? If we are serious, we need to commit ourselves to this. Because what people who are diagnosed with HIV and AIDS need right now is a new generation of Larry Kramers, of Peter Staleys, of Ann Northrops, of Joan Tisches, of Phill Wilsons. That’s what we need. They did their part. So, if we are serious, I want you to commit to ending it for real. Commit to moving heaven and earth to end this once and for all. I can tell you that I am.”
Other notable guests included influential leaders and activists dedicated to supporting GMHC’s programs, including Jason Wu, GMHC Co-Founder Larry Mass, Joy Tomchin, Ted Ackerman and Geremy Kawaller, Jon Mallow and Brian Jones, incoming Out magazine Editor-in-Chief Phillip Picardi, David S. Boger, Peter De Staebler and Timothy S. Martin, Julie Fink and Katie Aylwin, Ari Ginsburg and Ryan Zanin, Joe Hall and Martin Dagata, Michael C. Harwood (Board Co-Chair) and Theo Dorian, and Geoffrey Hoefer and Thomas Wei.