It couldn’t have been a lovelier setting or a more beautiful day to focus on what is an ugly topic. But that was exactly the point of the second annual Breaking the Silence Awards– to recognize those who have made it their mission to end LGBT homelessness, assist survivors of sexual abuse and reduce the numbers of LGBT sex workers by 2020 by shining a spotlight on the issues.
The event, put on by the I Love Me Foundation (ILMFDN), was held outdoors under the historic Moreton Bay fig tree at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica Sunday afternoon and featured live performances by Frank Ocean, Laith Ashley, Chris Woods and Sophie Beem.
The recipients of the Breaking the Silence Awards included former West Hollywood Mayor Abbe Land, DJ Zeke Thomas, Pulse nightclub massacre survivor Angel Colon, Williams Institute Founding Executive Director Brad Sears and OUT Magazine Managing Editor R. Kurt Osenlund.
“We all have a reason to break the silence,” said Robert Harrell, executive producer of the BTSA. “#BreakingTheSilence is a sustained movement that impacts millions of lives. We honor the personal stories that motivate individuals to speak up, and that highlight the urgent need to provide inclusive and affirmative services to LGBT survivors of sexual trauma who so desperately need them.”
It was an inclusive and diverse crowd– everyone from tastemakers to celebrities to politicians– who turned out to support the honorees and to raise funds for the I Love Me Foundation’s #Backpack10 Campaign program.
The goal is to provide 1,500 backpacks filled with toiletries and daily necessities to help LGBT homeless, non-gender conforming youth and others in need in the Los Angeles area. The efforts will be made in partnership with various LGBT organizations, City of Santa Monica, LA City Hall, Compton City Hall and the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Dept.
Guests included Kelly Osbourne, Miss Jay Alexander, Laith Ashley, Leeza Gibbons, Benjamin Patterson, Hayden Byerly, Meagan Good, Tre’vell Anderson, Perez Hilton and Jacob Tobia, along with many others who joined the LGBT community and LGBT allies at the festive event.
The luncheon’s live auction, led by comedian Sampson McCormick, featured an array of exotic destination getaways to Costa de Sol, Spain, St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles, and Los Cabos, Mexico.
Some of the proceeds from a silent auction which featured music memorabilia from the likes of Prince and Michael Jackson and framed prints from iconic artists including Chagall and Degas also benefited the foundation.
Sponsors of the event included Wen by Chaz Dean, L.A. Health Care plan and Scholar Strategy Network.