Thursday, March 29, 2012

Straight for Equality in Entertainment: Audra McDonald and Will Swenson

As a part of next week’s Fourth Annual Straight for Equality Awards Gala in New York, Broadway stars Audra McDonald (The Gershwin' Porgy and Bess, Private Practice) and Will Swenson (Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Hair) will receive the 2012 Straight for Equality in Entertainment Award. Speaking on behalf of the couple, McDonald said, “Will and I are thrilled and honored to be recognized by PFLAG National.”

Both members of the couple, who became engaged on New Year’s Eve 2012, are long-time outspoken straight allies.  Ms. McDonald, a four-time Tony and two-time Grammy award winner, has long been a strong voice in the cause for marriage equality for LGBT people. Days before the groundbreaking decision to legalize same-sex marriage in New York, McDonald joined pro-marriage-equality marchers, performed at the marriage rally, and lobbied New York state senators at New York’s state capitol building in Albany and, in July 2011, she sang at the New York City Hall wedding reception for City Hall employee John Feinblatt and Commissioner for Consumer Affairs Jonathan Mintz. Officiated by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the wedding was one of the first same-sex civil marriage ceremonies to be performed in the state of New York.

Tony Award-nominee Will Swenson has also been an outspoken advocate for marriage equality, and sits on the advisory board, along with McDonald, of the marriage equality advocacy organization Broadway Impact. Swenson, who was raised in the Mormon faith, narrated “Bring them in from the Plains,” a 10-minute video prepared by the Foundation for Reconciliation to help raise awareness about the issue of gay suicides in the LDS community. He is set to direct a film adaptation of Carol Lynn Pearson's play, Facing East, which follows a Mormon couple struggling with their faith after their gay son dies by suicide.

“We couldn’t be more excited to honor Audra and Will,” said Jody Huckaby, Executive Director of PFLAG National. “Their work together, and separately, speaks volumes about what it means to be a straight ally, and goes right to the heart of the mission of Straight for Equality. That they are also a loving, straight couple, raising children in the spirit of equality for all, goes a long way in supporting PFLAG’s 40-year mission of support, education, and advocacy by and for parents, families, friends, and allies of GLBT people.”

Stay tuned this week for more about the 2012 Straight for Equality Awards Gala award winners, Workplace honoree KPMG LLP.


Alicia Lara said...

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Alicia Lara
"Entertainment Marketing"

Sally Campbell said...

I can't imagine how many onlookers were present to witness such wedding. With the presence of celebrities, the catering people involved for the wedding reception should have commendable facade like the ones I saw for catering equipment mines.

David Huffman said...

Back home, celebrities usually go for long island weddings for a more controlled crowd. Audra and Will's wedding will definitely attract a lot of witnesses.

William Helton said...

This couple definitely depicts equality in entertainment. The film Facing East would most probably land on varied award nominating bodies.

Carl Parker said...

It's sad that this photo does not show the nice pearly whites of this couple. It's also one of their asset. I wonder who their dentist is.

Dianna Sneed said...

Equality is the key! Well, our LGBT friends have their own right to get married and have the family that they want. I don't see anything bad about it. Special events in their lives should be respected. God said don't harm your brothers and sisters, but look who's doing bad to others.

Valerie Anderson said...

I can't believe that even in casinos and entertainment field the issue of sexuality still exist. I think, people should start understanding the situation these people are into and consider as someone who is just a normal citizen in the community.

Noah Bird said...

In the picture, are they implying the public has no say in the subject matter? I partially agree with them, public opinion is needed in this but they should have representatives to be formal.

Gina Cullen said...

Surely this kind of view can be attributed with how the culture of the society picturize people like them. And obviously, the view was partly by the way the society mold and nurture once belief.

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