Monday, December 4th was a night of glamor, pride, and community. Last week, The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative (SIGBI) hosted its inaugural Stonewall Inn Brick Awards Gala’ in New York City!
This first annual celebration was dedicated to supporting SIGBI’s Safe Spaces Initiative and honoring LGBTQ leaders from around the world. Awards were given to a variety of activists and organizations including Pose’s Dominique Jackson (Icon Award), Human Rights Activist Dr. Frank Mugisha (Global Activist Award), The GenderCool Project (Youth Courage Award), Stoli’s LGBTQ Ambassador Patrik Gallineaux (Safe Spaces Champion Award), and ACLU’s Amber Hikes (Community Activist Award).
Tobagonian actress and author Dominique Jackson, was honored to be the night’s Icon Award recipient.
“It lets me know that I’m seen,” she says about receiving the award. “It shows me that my visibility is recognized and my voice is heard.”
She explains that by simply living her life authentically and thriving while doing it, she hopes to show her trans “sisters and brothers that we can have great lives, but we will have to try hard to get it.”
In the spirit of celebrating safe spaces, Jackson shared that she’s found many safe spaces throughout her life that allowed her to become the person she is today. She shared the first time she felt truly safe and accepted was in her first House with Shakira Revlon, Tiffany Revlon, Miss Marty, and more.
“That was a safe space that set the tone because I was homeless. I was fresh, I was confused. I knew nothing about the world.” She shares that after immigrating from Tobago, she felt lost in the world. “Shakira and Tiffany took me in, they didn’t care where I was from. All they knew was that I was a human being that they thought was beautiful and they wanted me to feel secure.”
“That was a space where I felt so happy. Because even if there was 4, 5, 6 of us sleeping on a mattress, once we closed those doors, we knew we were safe because we had each other.”
To close, she offered a word of support to the LGBTQ community. “We have to find those glimmers of joy in life. I know that there is so much going on in the world, my loves, but find that moment to smile.”
SIGBI’s Advisory Board member Lorna Luft was thrilled to be surrounded by so much LGBTQ excellence and joy that night.
The night was emceed by the iconic Peppermint and featured performances The Dragon Sisters and Jackie Beat, and a DJ set from Lady Bunny. Other guests in attendance included actor Nico Tortorella, former professional soccer player Ali Krieger, performers Lorna Luft and J. Harrison Ghee, comedians Murray Hill & Jeff Hiller, drag queen Yuhua Hamasaki, content creator Ian Paget, SIGBI CEO and The Stonewall Inn Co-Owner Stacy Lentz, SIGBI Co-Founder and The Stonewall Inn Co-Owner Kurt Kelly, to name a few.
For more information on The Stonewall Gives Back Initiative, visit stonewallinitiative.org.