The Center Dinner Turns 10 with Mary-Louise Parker, Whoopi Goldberg, Alexis Bittar

by Eddie Roche
The Center

“She fights for us! She fundraises for us! She loves us!” Those were Cynthia Nixon’s words last night at the 10th annual The Center dinner at Cipriani Wall Street. The “she” Nixon was referring to is actress Mary-Louise Parker, honored with the Ally Award from the downtown Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center, which welcomes more than 300,000 visitors a year for various programs. Parker (who has a Tony, Emmy, and two Golden Globes) has been a longtime ally of the LGBT community and called the honor and intro by Nixon “one of the greatest moments of my life!”

“In some ways there is no group of people who understand celebrating better than the gay community,” the Ally honoree told the crowd. “Some of us are over-privileged and some of us are ridiculously lucky like myself. Those of us who are so lucky and so blessed, we are obliged to celebrate, passionately and raucously, because we understand that shame is the great crippler. Sometimes the best antidote to shame is celebration so it’s our job to celebrate and our job to do that raucously, loudly, and sometimes rudely, and talk about it the next day.”

Other honorees included Tim Chow (who brought along a sizable fan club) for the Community Impact Award and BNY Mellon for the Corporate Impact Award, which was accepted by Mitchell E. Harris and Scott Meoni-Ridenour. 

Center stage for the event were Whoopi Goldberg, Michael C. Hall, Nico Tortorella, Billy Eichner, Stacy London, Michael Stipe, Jenna Lyons, Mary Alice Stephenson, Meredith Koop (also known as Michelle Obama’s much revered stylist), Adam Lynch, Nick Pramik, Nathan Coyle, and Alexis Bittar, the Center’s BFF from the fashion world. The Center’s charming and funny executive director Glennda Testone announced that the evening raised over $1 million. One more reason to celebrate.

Photography: BFA.com

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