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May 1, 2018
Photo by: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images
Freedom to Marry founder and former Lambda Legal attorney Evan Wolfson received the Liberty Award for his ground-breaking work.

Last night, we celebrated at our National Liberty Awards in New York City, our most successful ever. We honored LGBT rights pioneer and attorney Evan Wolfson, who said, "The work of Lambda Legal is the work of our movement, but it is also the work of We, the People, called now to do more—not just for ourselves and our movement, but for the many communities and values under assault."

Orange is the New Black’s Lea DeLaria led the evening’s proceedings with uproarious, irreverent humor and an impromptu musical performance showing off her virtuosic jazz vocals. Her Orange cast mate Selenis Leyva spoke movingly of the personal meaning Lambda Legal’s work has for her and her sister, Marizol, who transitioned and is now living her life as authentically as possible.

Guests were also treated to the powerhouse vocal stylings of Broadway actor/vocalist Nathan Lee Graham. Openly-transgender pop phenom Kim Petras kicked off the after-party with her string of recently released dance hits, including her breakout single, “I Don’t Want It At All.” Other notable guests in attendance included John Cameron MitchellAbigail Savage, Justin Mikita, NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson, entertainment executive Ryan Tarpley, top Vine influencer Jeffrey Marsh, Page Six writer and TV host Carlos Greer, Lambda Legal CEO Rachel B. Tiven and more.

Lambda Legal plaintiffs Jameka Evans, Kim Hively, and Mark Horton riveted the audience with their personal experiences of being fired, denied promotions or having job offers rescinded because of basic discrimination—and what Lambda Legal’s work on their behalf has meant to them. “The freedom to work—to do what you love and earn a fair wage—is a fundamental right,” said Hively, who won a job discrimination landmark case on appeal. “When that was denied to me because of my sexual orientation, I decided it was not an indignity I was going to suffer lying down.”

Photo by: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images
Lambda Legal CEO Rachel B. Tiven with Page Six writer and TV host Carlos Greer.

It was an evening of performance, dancing and calls to action in an era when LGBTQ and HIV-positive Americans are facing legal threats from a hostile presidential administration and right-wing Congress.

“It is exactly when all the odds are stacked against us, when it feels like the whole world is trying, with all of its might, to shove us back into the margins of society, that we are at our very best,” said Lambda Legal CEO Rachel Tiven from a podium in a space so large that cameras projected the stage onto three giant screens. “We have found ourselves in the fight of our lives, and it’s a fight we cannot and—with your help—will not lose.”