“Hope Never Remains Silent:” 2016 Trailblazer Honors Remembers The Victims Of Orlando

Harvey Fierstein, "The Advocate" and Billie Jean King were among those honored at this year's ceremony.

The 2016 Trailblazer Honors had a more somber tone because of the recent tragedy in Orlando, but spirits were lifted as presenters and honorees reminded us why Pride is more important than ever.

Singer Rachel Platten started off the evening with a performance of “Stand By You,” followed by Wilson Cruz, who memorialized his relative Brenda Lee Marquez McCool and the other victims of the shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub.

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 23:  Wilson Cruz speaks at the 2016 Logo's Trailblazer Honors at Cathedral of St. John the Divine on June 23, 2016 in New York City.  Trailblazer Honors airs Saturday night, June 25th on Logo and VH1. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Logo)
Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

Emma Stone, who will be playing Billie Jean King in the upcoming movie Battle of the Sexes, presented the tennis legend with a Trailblazer Honor.

King reflected on being outed in 1981, saying it was the darkest moment of her life. “I almost lost faith in humanity at that time.”

But she, reminded the audience, to focus on love, not hate.

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 23:  Honoree Billie Jean King speakt at the 2016 Logo's Trailblazer Honors at Cathedral of St. John the Divine on June 23, 2016 in New York City.  Trailblazer Honors airs Saturday night, June 25th on Logo and VH1. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Logo)
Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

RuPaul made a surprise appearance, warning the enemies of the LGBT community not to “fuck with my family.” He then led the room in a moment of silence for the victims of Orlando.
 

 
When Bob the Drag Queen and Joel Grey presented Harvey Fierstein with his award, he made an passionate speech about the LGBT community and the Orlando massacre.

“All of those lives destroyed because someone told him he could not be [himself],” Fierstein said about the Orlando shooter. “Instead he took a gun and destroyed hundreds of lives.”
 

 
Fierstein reminded the audience that life is fleeting and history is being made in every moment. “You either participate or you don’t—it doesn’t matter, just show up. Show up for life and make history.”

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 23:  RuPaul's Drag Race All-Stars Tatiana, Alaska Thunderfvck, Phi Phi O'Hara, Alyssa Edwards and Ginger Minj perform at the 2016 Logo's Trailblazer Honors at Cathedral of St. John the Divine on June 23, 2016 in New York City. Trailblazer Honors airs Saturday night, June 25th on Logo and VH1.  (Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Logo)
Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

Former RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants Ginger Minj, Alyssa Edwards, Phi Phi O’Hara, Tatiana and Alaska paid tribute to Fierstein with a rousing rendition of “I Am What I Am” from the musical, La Cage Aux Folles, which he wrote the book for.

The final honoree was The Advocate, the LGBT newsmagazine heading into its 50th year of publication. Editor-in-chief Matthew Breen gave an empassioned speech about the need for gun control and lashed out at politicians standing in the way of common sense.

“We are not interested in your prayers unless they are followed up with action. You have fucked with the wrong group of people,” Breen warned, as the crowd leapt to its feet and applauded.

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 23:  a view of the interior at the 2016 Logo's Trailblazer Honors at Cathedral of St. John the Divine on June 23, 2016 in New York City. Trailblazer Honors airs Saturday night, June 25th on Logo and VH1.  (Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Logo)
Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

A video message from Vice President Joe Biden closed out the evening. Just having returned from paying his respects in Orlando, he promised that “hope never remains silent. We are Orlando. We are all Americans.”


Trailblazer Honors airs Saturday, June 25 at 8/7c on Logo and VH1.

I write about drag queens. Dolly Parton once ruffled my hair and said I was "just the cutest thing ever."
@chrisreindeer