PHOTO ESSAY BY DONNA ACETO | Punsters might be forgiven for saying that the LGBT Community Center’s 16th annual Women’s Event, held November 23 at the Edison Ballroom in Midtown, was all about bustin’ out.
Among the three honorees saluted during a gala evening of cocktails, dinner, and dancing was Laverne Cox, who portrays Sophia Burset, a transgender prison inmate on the hit Netflix series “Orange is the New Black.” Many of Cox’s castmates joined her (seen in pink, with Center executive director Glennda Testone, in white) on the other side of the wall, including (l. to r.) Samira Wiley, Danielle Brooks, Michelle Hurst, Kate Mulgrew, Lea DeLaria, and Selenis Leyva. Despite all the attention Cox has received for the role, there are apparently moments when she can still genuinely react, “Who, me?”
Among the evening’s other honorees was Joy Tomchin, a longtime supporter of LGBT community organizations ranging from Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) to Gay Men’s Health Crisis, the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, and Congregation Beit Simchat Torah. Tomchin was an executive producer of David France’s Oscar-nominated 2012 documentary “How to Survive a Plague,” about the early years of the fight against AIDS. Tomchin is seen here addressing the gala audience and also greeting Edie Windsor, who successfully challenged the federal Defense of Marriage Act at the US Supreme Court.
The evening’s third honoree was Beth A. Brooke, Ernst & Young’s global vice chair for regulatory and public policy who is responsible for the accounting giant’s diversity and inclusiveness programs. Brooke worked on tax policy matters regarding insurance and managed care at the Treasury Department during the Clinton administration.
The gala’s three co-chairs — Lisa Linsky, Stephanie Battagaglino, and Aimee Saginaw — opened the evening with their take on “Orange is the New Black.” The event raised more than $350,000.