Well. The 2015 Allies for Equality Dinner/Gala/Fundraiser was, in a word, fanfreakingtabulous. What a night. Time of our lives (hangover of our lives). The Allies Dinner--a gathering that seeks to celebrate the preceding year's victories in equality, highlight the work still to be done, and offer up a damn good time in the process--raises funds that enable Equality Utah to continue to fight the good fight. And it's happening in true Rock 'em Sock 'em style, because we've had no small year in terms of the aforementioned victories (marriage equality in allll the states, remember?). We still have loads to do, but one night for applauding those who forward the effort on the daily seems reasonable.
What did this fabulous evening entail? Enough bars to accommodate 2,000+ eager allies for equality, a delectable, sit-down dinner, and some dazzling entertainment, for starters. The theme "Queer New World" left plenty to the imagination, which always makes for a touch of unexpected magic, and it came in the form of fashion: glitter and pops of color were sprinkled throughout the be-black tied mass, and it brought a proud tear to our misfit-lovin' eyes and a warmth to our COLLECTIVE hearts. The Allies for Equality act as a voice for those folks that perhaps aren't getting the respect or rights they deserve, and--as lovers of the one-off and advocates for the underdog--we're more than honored to have been a part of this enchanting eve. Tyler Glenn, the evening's keynote speaker and front man of Neon Trees, was no slouch behind the mic. His speech made for a smiling, teary-eyed crowd, and he followed it up with a song that evoked more of the same. (Oh, and then Kool & the Gang's "Celebration," to which we all shook as and--as requested--did some celebrating.) One of our favorite parts of the evening, however, came in the form of an announcement: to everyone's surprise, Equality Utah has been working with city officials in a proposal to rename 900 as "South Harvey Milk Boulevard." Milk, as we trust most of you know, was one of the first openly gay elected officials (it was 1977!). Prior to being assassinated the following year, he spoke out on LGBT issues and helped pass a non-discrimination ordinance in San Francisco. An inspiring human by any measure, and his name on one of our favorite city streets would do us COLLECTIVELY proud. Says Equality Utah's Executive Director, Troy Williams, "Harvey is a true pioneer and icon. He encouraged all people to share their lives openly and to build coalitions with other groups. Our hope is by naming a prominent downtown street after him, we'll send a message to all LGBT Utahns that they have value, they're loved and, like Harvey, they too can change the world." To that we say, amen.
All told, 2015 was a year of phenomenal strides in the fight for equal rights, but we know there's still a long road ahead. Time and again, we're reminded of the truly sensational group of people that populate the salty streets of this crackerjack town. You're what makes this place ace. Take a peek at the fantastic time had by all below. Here's to the next 365 days of progress, gang!