Ricky Martin turns Human Rights Campaign dinner into surprise coming-out party
Mixing policy talk with zeitgeisty celebrity guests, the Human Rights Campaign annual dinner always feels like a state-of-gay-America report card. Prop 8 overturn? Check. The gay kiss on "Modern Family"? Of course. Don't Ask, Don't Tell? Booed, of course.
But hey, here's one we weren't expecting! As "The Cup of Life" thumped over the speakers at the Washington Convention Center Saturday night, two giant video screens parted and out strolled a bestubbled Ricky Martin in a velvet-lapelled tux to huge cheers from the 3,100 guests.
"You guys heard I'm gay, right?" said the Puerto Rican pop star. Wait, was that just this year? Martin came out in March to the surprise of, well, few people but was here, without prior announcement, making his first appearance at a gay-rights event, reports our colleague Dan Zak. "It took me a while, but tonight I'm here," he said. "And I want to add my voice to yours."
Martin was the first course of a menu that included garbanzo bean salad with jumbo shrimp, generous pours of wine and the usual auctioneering, pontificating and backpatting that comprise most D.C. galas. The stymied repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" and the rocky climb toward gay marriage rights adrenalized every speech, tainted every sip of Acqua Panna.
"Y'all like to make long speeches in D.C.," noted actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson, one half of the gay couple on the sitcom "Modern Family," which received the HRC's national arts and culture award.
President Obama dispatched senior adviser Valerie Jarrett to lament the recent spate of gay teen suicides and affirm the administration's commitment to gay rights, though its largest victory thus far may have been last year's Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Comedian/actress Mo'Nique, who presented a visibility award to her "Precious" director Lee Daniels, roused the crowd with a routine in which she orated love letters to each part of the acronym "LGBT."
"For you bisexuals, enjoy the best of both worlds," said this year's Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner, in a shoulder-baring, tassled red gown. "Get it, get it, and get some more."
The Reliable Source
| October 10, 2010; 6:39 PM ET
Categories: Parties, Politics
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