MANHATTAN, NY — It is said to be one of the largest gatherings of the LGBTQ community – the Center Trailblazer Awards held at Cipriani Wall Street last Thursday.
One of the celebrated guests, among Ricky Martin and Anna Wintour, is Filipino American supermodel and transgender advocate, Geena Rocero.
“I’m standing here as a very proud transgender woman of color. A proud immigrant.”
The Center, a resource hub for the LGBT community since 1983, presented Rocero with its Community Leader award. Rocero is the founder of Gender Proud, an advocacy and aid organization that stands up for the rights of transgender people.
“Trans-people’s ability to survive, to thrive, to claim our space of worth, is a lesson in enlightenment. In this current political drama, the constant attack on trans, on LGBTQ lives, I’ll tell you what. I will make my voice the loudest that it could be, and I will never never apologize for being who I am.”
Visionary Award recipient, Anna Wintour, notes the importance of persistent voices like Rocero’s.
“A recent survey found that public support for LGBTQ support has dropped. This goes to show I think that bad attitude, start at the top. But a generation change is coming, and I believe with all my heart that we’re heading to a brighter moment than what we are living though right now.”
One of this generation’s urgent voices is Emma Gonzalez, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student who survived a mass shooting last February. Since that tragedy, she has been advocating for gun control. Emma is presented with the community impact award.
Meanwhile, another Fil-Am, Darren Criss, made an appearance during the program. Via video, Criss introduced the Center’s Trailblazer awardee, Ricky Martin. He and Martin recently worked together on a TV mini-series about Andrew Cunanan.
“I feel very lucky to call him my friend, and I am humbled and grateful that he shares his immense talent and big heart with the world. So a big congratulations on this big honor.”
The awards dinner was the center’s annual fundraiser, and on Thursday, it reportedly raised over $1 million.