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Daryl Roth accepting the Hostetter-Habib Family Award on May 8. Photo courtesy Family Equality Council
It's the Family Equality Council's 30th anniversary, and for their annual Night at the Pier event May 8, everyone seemed to be in shock at the record-setting 750+ in attendance. The event honors LGBT parents and allies as they celebrate advances in equality for families of all definitions (such as the changes to the Social Security application form to no longer just have mother/father spaces).
This year's celebration, my first, certainly had a strong connection with New York City's theater scene as well. Musical guest performances included Montego Glover (Memphis), Clay Aiken (Spamalot, as well as Celebrity Apprentice), and the boys from Newsies (I asked if they always travel in packs, since I had seen them at a recent performance of Ghost the Musical as well. The answer? "Yes, we kinda always do."). But perhaps the most moving moment was Jordan Roth, the president of Jujamcyn Theaters (which owns and operates five Broadway theaters), presenting the Hostetter-Habib Family Award to his mother, Daryl Roth.
Daryl worked tirelessly to bring the 2011 Tony Award-winning production of Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart to Broadway audiences last spring, and she has been the force behind numerous other gay-themed plays, such as .
As Jordan said to the crowd: "My mom has been so supportive. The only thing that would have disappointed her, would have been if were NOT gay. She loves the gays."
As she explained in her acceptance speech, "Through my personal commitments and the work I've chosen to produce, I have been a strong supporter of LGBT rights, by trying to make the issues the community faces more visible, acknowledged and understood. I have always thought that if the grandparents of LGBT families like myself were more vocal about our acceptance and love of our children and grandchildren, we could send a powerful message."
In her speech she also announced that she was partnering with Family Equality Council to launch a new initiative titled, "Pearls of Wisdom - a Group for Grandparents"
"In Jewish tradition, the phrase 'La dor Va dor' means to pass our ideals from one generation to the next," Daryl Roth said. "So if we can take that to heart, and show our support across the generations, we can make our society a stronger, safer, and more loving environment for all of our families, gay and straight."