This year’s annual Point Honors Gala – sponsored by Point Foundation, the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organazation for LGBTQ students – was certainly a joyous celebration, despite the heavy air of paranoia that has been gripping the community. Speaker Jorge Valencia even started his presentation by saying, “We are living in a country where we’re told that facts are fake. And if you don’t like the reality you’re living in, all you have to do is choose an alternate one.” Still, the performers all presented confidently, and stressed the accomplishments of people under the Point Foundation banner.

Hosted by comedienne Michelle Collins,  the gala kept a humorous air to it the whole night, which was suitable as so many of the night’s guests had a presence in television. Honoree Laura Benanti, a well-known actress that has made a mark on popular television and theater, was honored with a thoughtful montage stressing her range. After being awarded the 2018 Point Impact Award she said, “I’ve always been a 55-year old gay man at heart.” After this humorous jab though, she made a bold statement about how we live at a time where we can’t trust that the government will give people the education that they need, so that the Point Foundation is more important than ever.

Other speakers included former basketball star Jason Collins, and current NYU student Angie Gonzalez. Television Personality Ted Allen even appeared via video, where he stressed that education is the most important ingredient for success. Also, last year’s recipient Thomas Roberts came by, and reiterated a quote made by Charles Dickens,  “A very little key will open a very big door.” He brought this quote up in light of the reveal of the Weinstein scandal, and its impact towards creating the #MeToo Movement.

The evening ended with journalist Ronan Farrow– who only recently revealed himself as a member of the LGBTQ community – who spoke about his concern regarding the level of homelessness and suicide among people in the community. The evening finally came to an ending when singer Jussie Smollett gave a performance with a full band accompanying him. He gave a soulful rendition, and once again asked people to keep their heads up amidst all the hatred we’ve been seeing too much of.

For more information on the Point Foundation, click here.