The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s (“GLAAD”) annual event and fundraiser, GLAAD Manhattan, was held at 230 Fifth Avenue’s rooftop bar on Tuesday. Many local and national celebrities came out to support GLAAD’s mission of advancing positive portrayals of the LGBT community in the media.
AfterEllen.com spoke briefly with several LGBT celebrities and straight allies on the red carpet, including the cast of The Real Housewives of New York, out lesbian chef Josie Smith-Malave and Olympic figure skater and reality show star Johnny Weir.
Real Housewives of New York’s Alex McCord and Simon van Kempen
The cast of The Real Housewives of New York may not always be in synch on the small screen, but they are united in their support for the LGBT community.
AfterEllen.com: Why are you supporting GLAAD? Why the interest in GLAAD?
Simon van Kempen: It’s important to put out positive stories [about the LGBT community] and fight against the stereotypes a lot of people have.
Alex McCord: We tried to do that on Season 2 [of The Real Housewives of New York] when we had a play date with my best friend from college who is a man married to another man, and they have an adopted son.
SvK: But they have to live in Massachusetts in order to do that.
AM: And you know, I have to say, it makes me so angry that my best friend can’t leave his job in Massachusetts because of the health benefits and their child. Won’t it be great when he’ll have the freedom to move to another state?
Event host Bethenny Frankel of Real Housewives of New York and Bethenny Getting Married
AE: So how did you get this gig? How did you get hooked up with GLAAD?
Bethenny Frankel: Um, I applied — no, I’m just kidding! [Laughs] I have a show on Bravo and I think I’m pretty outspoken and I’m pretty honest about who I am. I think the right images should be portrayed about the gay community and be properly communicated through the media. Also, I think gays relate to me, because I’m honest about my life.
Miss New York, Claire Buffie
Ever since Miss California Carrie Prejean came out and declared that the only true definition of marriage is “opposite marriage” the tiaras of pageant queens everywhere lost a little luster. But Miss New York Claire Buffie may have restored the reputation of pageant contestants with her hard work in advancing LGBT rights. It should also be noted that Claire Buffie is associated with the Miss America pageant and not the Miss USA pageant; the former requires contestants to have a talent other than looking swell in a swimsuit whereas the latter does not.
AE: So tell us why you’re here at the GLAAD event.
Claire Buffie: My platform within the Miss America organization is called Straight for Equality: Let’s Talk, and I’m here to open a dialogue about gay rights, and I feel that the Miss America organization is a very unlikely channel to talk about this issue, so I feel really privileged to have a voice about gay rights through the Miss America organization.
AE: Can you tell us more about Straight for Equality?
CB: I work predominantly with PFLAG New York City, Parents Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays and I’m an executive board member there. We speak in schools to middle and high school students about eliminating discriminatory vocabulary and creating a more inclusive environment that’s safe for kids.