Vice President Joe Biden addressed the crowd at the third annual Trailblazer Honors last night, honoring the victims of the Orlando shooting and calling out anti-LGBT laws passed around the nation.
In a video message, the vice president pointed out the contrast between our feelings one year ago, when marriage equality won at the Supreme Court, and today, as we mourn the lives lost at a gay nightclub.
“As we celebrate a year of equality in marriage, draconian state laws deny transgender Americans basic civil rights,” said Biden.
“And in nearly 70 countries, it’s a crime to be who you are. And because the freedom to live freely means being free from bullying, free from harassment, and free from violence.”
Acknowledging the nation is still healing from the shooting at Pulse nightclub, Biden added “you’re showing tonight that we are Orlando. We’re all Americans. Unbowed. Unrelenting. We endure. We overcome. We’re hopeful and we will not be silent.”
Other honorees at the special, which will air Saturday, June 25, at 8/7c on Logo and VH1, included Billie Jean King, Harvey Fierstein and the Advocate magazine.
King was presented with an award by actress Emma Stone, who will play the tennis legend in the upcoming film Battle of the Sexes.
Syrian LGBT activist Subhi Nahas and transgender trailblazers Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera were also saluted, as was the workplace equality group Out Leadership and Charlotte, North Carolina, mayor Jennifer Roberts.
Other celebrities at this year’s event included Chloe Grace Moretz, Lance Bass, Thomas Roberts, Joel Grey, and singers Rachel Platten, Macklemore and Mary Lambert.
Tune into Trailblazer Honors on Saturday, June 25, at 8/7c on Logo and VH1.