NEW YORK, NY (Oct. 21, 2020) — In honor of their extraordinary advocacy for people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, GMHC honored Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives; Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID); and actor, activist and icon, Billy Porter, at its 2020 annual gala.
This year’s gala took place on Oct. 21 as a virtual event hosted by Hamilton star Javier Muñoz. The evening’s program, which is now available at gmhc.org/fallgala, included remarks from each of this year’s honorees and messages from GMHC Gala supporters. Proceeds raised support GMHC’s life-saving prevention, care, and advocacy services, for 10,000 New Yorkers living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.
GMHC’s annual gala recognizes outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Previous honorees have included President Bill Clinton, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and philanthropists Joan H. Tisch and Judith Peabody. This year’s honorees continue to exemplify the spirit of GMHC’s mission to fight for the health, dignity, and rights of those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Fauci, Pelosi, and Porter are all listed on TIME Magazine’s list of the “100 Most Influential People” of 2020.
“This year’s honorees represent our country’s leading voices in the fights against both the HIV/AIDS and COVID-19 pandemics,” said GMHC Chief Executive Officer Kelsey Louie. “From science to advocacy to activism, each of them has made extraordinary contributions toward a healthier and more equitable world. Their dedication and commitment inspire all of us here at GMHC.”
Fauci has worked to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic since its earliest days, notably collaborating with activists to change the ways in which the government conducted drug trials and increasing access to experimental HIV treatments. As NIAID director, he has also been on the frontlines of the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaker Pelosi has been a tireless advocate for people living with HIV/AIDS since she was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1987. Throughout her tenure, she has advocated for community-based HIV/AIDS care and accelerated development of an HIV vaccine. She also has helped to expand access to Medicaid for people living with HIV and to increase funding for the Ryan White CARE Act, the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, the Minority HIV/AIDS Initiative and other federal initiatives vital to people living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS.
Tony, Emmy, and Grammy-award winning actor and performing artist, Billy Porter, is the first openly gay Black man to be nominated and win in any lead acting category at the Primetime Emmy Awards. Porter won his first Emmy for his role in the acclaimed FX show Pose, which delves into New York’s underground house-ballroom culture of the 1980s and ‘90s, during the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis. Throughout his career on stage, screen, and behind a microphone, Billy Porter has championed the civil and human rights of marginalized communities.
GMHC’s fall gala provides critical funds for a range of services, including the agency’s response to COVID-19. Since GMHC temporarily closed its facility in mid-March, the agency has transitioned most of its services to remote delivery. The agency also has launched new initiatives to protect the health and safety of clients, many of whom are at higher risk of complications from COVID-19. These initiatives include GMHC on the Go, which has delivered nearly 40,000 meals to over 800 clients, and remote mental health and substance use counseling sessions using videoconferencing technologies.