I took yesterday off — it’s a lot of work having 285 people over for dinner. (Not to my place, mind you. My place seats 8.)
It was a mainly LGBT fundraiser with the First Lady t0 celebrate the progress we’ve made since the last time, as a senator’s wife, she spoke at our dinner. Here‘s the video we showed. It begins with an excerpt from her remarks five years ago.
There were many highlights — Super Bowl champ Brendon Ayanbadejo was there! Inaugural poet Richard Blanco was there! P-FAW’s Michael Keegan, GLSEN’s Eliza Byard, Lambda’s Kevin Cathcart, and GMHC’s Marjorie Hill were there! A JIHAD FOR LOVE’s gay Muslim documentarian Parvez Sharma was there! Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum and Freedom to Marry’s Evan Wolfson and the ACLU’s James Esseks and the Victory Fund’s Chuck Wolfe were there! Media Matters founder David Brock and Athlete Ally founder Hudson Taylor and All Out co-founder Andre Banks and SLDN’s Aubrey Sarvis were there! The first transgender member of the DNC’s executive committee, Babs Siperstein, was there! Robbie Kaplan, who argued Edie Windsor’s case before the Supreme Court, was there! Edie Windsor HERSELF was there! – along with Members of Congress, gay and straight, two gubernatorial candidates, the nation’s first openly gay ambassador and, for a few minutes, the President’s Chief of Staff . . .
. . . Sara Bareilles sat herself down at a grand piano and sang three great songs . . .
. . . and it was no surprise that Bravo’s Andy Cohen would do a fine job emceeing and that NBA center Jason Collins would give the First Lady a great intro and that the First Lady herself would bring the assembled to their feet and leave them cheering . . . all that went as planned . . . but the unexpected highlight of the evening was a 22-year-old transgender woman who did a lovely job of introducing DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and then turned to the portal through which the Congresswoman was to emerge.
But was not emerging.
She waited a few moments . . . waited a few more . . . nervous, supportive laughter rising from the crowd . . . and then — far from freezing in the headlights — won us over completely by telling us “her story,” taking questions, making us laugh — the transgender CEO of a $3.4 billion-dollar biotech firm at my table with her wife was loving every minute of it — until, at last, DWS appeared . . . by which time young Evie Renee Arroyo was, at least in our eyes, a star.