This year’s 2015 LGBT Network Gala honored activists for their long history of making a difference for the rights of LGBT and working communities. The Gala was held at The Space at Westbury, a stunning concert and entertainment venue where The LGBT Network’s CEO David Kilmnick revealed plans for the highly anticipated Patchogue LGBT Community Center.
More than 350 guests joined with celebrities and top political and business leaders from Long Island and Queens praising The Network’s mission and work including Congressman Steve Israel, New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, and New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to honor Jason Collins (left), former NBA player and the first publicly gay athlete to play in one of the four major pro sports, Stuart Appelbaum (above), President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), and Julia Robinson, an emerging youth leader at Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth (LIGALY) dedicated to creating an inclusive and sustainable world for LGBT and ally youth.
The future of the LGBT Network was highlighted by an impassioned speech from David Kilmnick that reflected on LIGALY’s beginnings when few believed the organization could survive and prosper in conservative suburban Long Island, to current times where The Network is working on it’s fifth and largest LGBT community center in Patchogue.
“By uniting together on this night we have honored three individuals who are leading the way in making positive changes for the LGBT community,” said David Kilmnick, Chief Executive Officer of The Network. “As the Network continues to create change and grow, we extend our deepest gratitude and thanks to all those who believe in our work and are committed to creating safer and more supportive spaces for LGBT youth, adults, families, seniors, and allies throughout Long Island and Queens.”
Hundreds of guests perused the exhibition space featuring the LGBT Network’s renowned Silent Auction featuring chic leather furniture, exclusive weekend getaway packages, wine tastings, gym memberships, and dinner and show tickets featuring the best of Long Island and Queens. All proceeds of the event support the mission and services of the Network.
As the Long Island sun finally set and the stars began to shine, Grammy Winning Legend Thelma Houston (“Don’t Leave Me This Way”) was welcomed on the red carpet to Gala, where she performed a few of her hit songs, bringing guests to their feet before heading back out into the night.
By Adam Lombardi