Last night, I had the honor of co-hosting Broadway Sings For Pride, and it was truly an unforgettable event. I will be sharing more in the upcoming weeks, but for now I wanted to share a very personal speech I opened the show with:
Good evening everyone! Thank you so much for joining us tonight to celebrate Broadway Sings For Pride’s 6th Annual Benefit Concert! We have an incredible night ahead, full of performances from the best of the best on Broadway, intimate stories to be shared by influential members of our community, surprise guests and more.
Shortly after I got married about two months ago to my beautiful husband Gio Benitez (who is here tonight), I woke up on our honeymoon to an e-mail from the founder of this event, Neal, asking if I would co-host this event.
When I found out one of the organizations that tonight benefits is the Tyler Clementi Foundation, I jumped at the opportunity. For those of you who know me or may follow me on social media, you know that one of the most important things for me to shed light on and educate people about is the need for everyone, no matter what your sexual orientation is, is to be treated with love, respect and acceptance. I often wonder what it would be like to wake up one day and live in a world of real acceptance, one where the word “normal” does not exist.
Normal – meaning “the usual” or “the average” is a very dangerous word.
This word creates an idea of what you should be like. Who you should love. How your life path should go if you identify with being a male or a female. And because of tying a word like “normal” to gender and sexuality, so many people create an idea of what constitutes as wrong or right which can result and has resulted in the launch of hateful attacks – physically, emotionally and digitally on people who are different from their “norm.”
We see this far too often. We just saw this in the horrific attacks on the gay club in Orlando, and as a community, we need to encourage immediate change. I challenge each and every one of you in the audience today to remove the word normal from you vocabulary and to encourage your peers to do the same. Let’s stop using words that segregate one another and start using words that support each other.
And in the spirit of this tonight, I want you to SING louder than you’ve ever sung before. I want you to DANCE harder than you’ve ever danced before and let’s all LOVE more than we’ve ever LOVED before. This is a night about being heard by using all of the right words – Let’s go Broadway Sings!