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Barbara Streisand joins a host of stars to defend LGBT+ community centers

Barbara Streisand joins a host of stars to defend LGBT+ community centers

  • ‘LGBTQ kids may not have a meal’ without the centers.
Barbara Streisand.

Barbara Streisand joined stars including Kesha, Billy Porter and Pete Buttigieg to support LGBT+ community centers.

The celebrities joined two hosts, the American comedian Billy Eichner and Canadian YouTube star Lilly Singh via video link.

LGBT+ US media charity GLAAD created the event Together in Pride: You Are Not Alone to support LGBT+ shelters and community centers.

And the public rallied round to raise an initial donation of $225,000. The money will go to CenterLink and local LGBT+ centers suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Big names including Rosie O’Donnell, Matt Bomer, Wilson Cruz, Bebe Rexha, August Getty, Gigi Gorgeous & Nats Getty, Sean Hayes, Adam Lambert, Dan Levy, Brian Michael Smith, also joined the hosts.

Meanwhile Melissa Etheridge, Mj Rodriguez & George Salazar, Alex Newell, and the cast of Broadway’s Jagged Little Pill provided special musical performances, alongside Kesha.

LGBT+ kids ‘may not have a place to go’

Opening the event, 78-year-old Streisand said:

‘Hi everyone, it’s Barbra Streisand and I am so thrilled that GLAAD’s Together in Pride: You Are Not Alone event is happening tonight to raise much-needed funds to support local LGBTQ community centers all over the country who are being seriously affected by COVID-19.

‘If these community centers had to close their doors that means that LGBTQ kids may not have a meal, it means they may not have a place to go and it also means they won’t have the support that so many of these facilities need to help them find a job and be successful.

‘I know that times are tough but I really hope you’ll help save these organizations. Give as you can, every bit helps.’

Towards the end of the show Kesha sang her song Rainbow from her home. Wearing a rainbow jumper, she told the audience:

‘I want to sing you one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written about seeing a rainbow through a shitstorm.’

Gay ER doctor: ‘I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel’

But not all the guests were celebrities. The event also took time to speak with an everyday hero fighting coronavirus.

Actor Brian Michael Smith interviewed Dr Darien Sutton. He is a gay doctor working in an emergency department in Queens, New York NYC and has been on the front lines of COVID-19. Dr Sutton said:

‘I feel like I’ve gone through a rollercoaster of emotion and patient volumes. When we first started we had really high patient volumes but now we are kind of stabilising. So I think it’s a good time, I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.’

Smith also asked him about the US ban on gay and bi men giving blood. The Food and Drug Administration has changed the rules during the crisis. However, gay and bi men still have to abstain from sex for three months before donating.

Dr Sutton described the rule as ‘archaic’ and ‘frustrating’. And he said: 

‘I have willing, healthy people who are not able to donate blood. So we need to put pressure on the FDA to release these restrictions so we can get our patients the things that they need.’

You can watch the whole event here:

LGBT+ centers at risk

The charity event will support CenterLink. It’s a coalition of more than 250 LGBT+ community centers from 45 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, as well as Canada, China, Mexico, and Australia.

Around 2million people use the centers each year but they urgently need funds.

During the pandemic, they are still providing crucial services. These include medical care, shelter for homeless LGBT+ youth, mental health counseling, filling prescriptions, providing hot meals and check-in phone calls for older adults, and hosting virtual support groups.

CenterLink released a letter from 160 LGBT+ centers on 15 April. In it, they call on the US Congress to include LGBT+ nonprofits in future relief packages. The letter says:

‘The reality is more assistance is needed for LGBT community centers.

‘Given the current financial crisis and loss of revenue, LGBT community centers could be forced to shrink their services, meaning tens of thousands could go without care.

‘We urge Congress to expand the eligibility for nonprofits to participate in future stimulus packages. LGBT community centers are relying on you so that we can continue to provide critical and essentially needed services in response to the COVID-19 crisis.’