On Saturday, March 11, 2017, an award-winning journalist from Seattle will combine forces with a famous vlogger duo from L.A. and a photojournalist entrepreneur from the Bay Area to glam up Hollywood’s red carpet experience unlike any other. Watch what happens live as Sarah Toce, Brandy Black and Kersh Branz take their fans behind-the-scenes at the Family Equality Council’s LA Impact Awards!
At the event, Actress Julie Bowen will present the award to Transparent writer Our Lady J on behalf of Jill Soloway and Kim Kardashian will present the award to Jonathan Murray and Harvey Reese, who have proven themselves to be vocal advocates for LGBTQ youth and families. Awards will also be given to Target for their work demonstrating an unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusivity for all people, particularly in regard to the LGBTQ community and will be presented by TV Personality Ross Mathews. Guests and honorees will also be treated to performances by Cheyenne Jackson and Michael Arden.
Also expected to attend: Kyle Richards, Mauricio Umansky, Lisa Rinna, Camille Grammer, and Dorit Kemsley from Real Housewives of Beverly Hills; Jason George from Grey’s Anatomy; Kearran Giovanni from Major Crimes; Beth Grant from The Mindy Project; comedian Tig Notaro; Larry Sullivan from Big Little Lies; Michael Arden from Anger Management; and Transparent star Alexandra Billings.
Family Equality Council connects, supports, and represents the three million parents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer in this country today and their six million children of all ages. The organization works to change attitudes and policies to ensure that all families are respected, loved, and celebrated – including families with parents who are LGBTQ.
Although all three businesswomen have worked together on various projects and currently serve on the Family Equality Council’s West Coast Advisory Council, they have never actually met in person. This will all change as the powerhouse trifecta meets at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on the evening of the LA Impact Awards. Trading off hosting duties throughout the evening, viewers at home will get three different POVs intertwined throughout the night to illustrate the combined message that they will have to see to believe!
“When you have an opportunity to come together, take it-reach out and inspire positive change in the world. We need each other now more than ever,” remarked Branz, founder of The Pride & Joy Project and Queer Mamas*. “In times of struggle our greatest allies are our families, our communities and ourselves.”
“Separately, we are a force to be reckoned with,” said Toce, founder of The Seattle Lesbian and producer of Seattle Women’s Pride. “Together, there’s no telling what we will accomplish. This is a truly remarkable endeavor and I can think of no one better to share it with than Brandy and Kersh!”
“I am beyond excited to join forces with Sarah and Kersh to celebrate all that Family Equality Council is doing for our community,” said Black.
With these three ladies on the scene, there’s never been red carpet coverage quite like this one!
Meet the Team
Sarah Toce was the recipient of the 2016 National Diversity Council’s LGBT Leadership Award and was named one of GO Magazine’s Red Hot Entrepreneurs of 2014. Toce is the founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of Seattle’s only lesbian newspaper – The Seattle Lesbian. In its first year alone, The Seattle Lesbian reached a threshold of one million readers. In 2012, the Seattle Lesbian was a distinguished recipient of the McCormick Foundation’s New Media Women Entrepreneurs Award. She is also the founder and producer of Seattle Women’s Pride. In 2012, she contributed to the book, Gay Press, Gay Power: The Growth of LGBT Community Newspapers in America. She reported on the Windy City Times’ AIDS @ 30 series, which won the prestigious Peter Lisagor Award from the Chicago Headline Club and was nominated for a national Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Award. She is a member of the Online News Association (ONA), National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) and the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA). For more information visit: sarahtoce.com, theseattlelesbian.com, and seattlewomenspride.com.
Brandy Black is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Next Family (TNF), a site for the modern parent featuring gay, single, adoptive, and mixed race parents. She has assisted her clients in guiding social messaging and awareness for the LGBTQ community specifically in the area of family. Black has participated with Mattel in a Barbie documentary discussing the evolutionary changes that she deemed necessary for the modern parent. She has participated in roundtables, think-tanks and national campaigns centered around women and girls, LGBTQ and modern parents for clients including Disney, Mattel, Tylenol, and Dorel Juvenile Products brand Quinny. She has been featured on the Huffington Post, The Advocate, and Babble Parenting Magazine multiple times. She lives in Los Angeles with her wife and three children. For more information visit: The Next Family.
Kersh Branz is the founder and photographer of The Pride & Joy Project and Queer Mamas*. The Pride & Joy Project seeks to change the global narrative of what queer mothers and families look like by harnessing the power of social media, family portraiture and storytelling. The Pride & Joy Project has been featured in O! The Oprah Magazine, San Francisco Magazine and on podcasts and media outlets around the world. Queer Mamas* is an international Facebook group for queer mothers* and their families to connect, share and find community. Branz lives with her wife Toby and their family in San Francisco. For more information visit: prideandjoyproject.com and facebook.com/groups/queermamas.
The annual LA Impact Awards recognizes individuals and companies that have made outstanding contributions to supporting the wellbeing of LGBTQ families. The 2017 gala will honor the creators of the Amazon series Transparent, Target and longtime Family Equality Council supporters Jonathan Murray and Harvey Reese.
“I am honored to receive a 2017 Family Equality Impact Award on behalf of Transparent,” said Jill Soloway, the show’s writer, creator and director. “I created the show hoping it would make the world a safer place for my own trans parent and all queer families alike. In these uncertain times, the work Family Equality Council does to protect the rights of LGBTQ families is needed more than ever.”
Target has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusivity for all people, particularly in regard to the LGBTQ community.
“We’re incredibly honored to receive a 2017 Impact Award in celebration of our ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion,” said Caroline Wanga, Chief Diversity Officer for Target. “Family Equality Council has been a long-standing and valued partner and advisor for Target and we’re humbled by this recognition.”
Murray and Reese stand among Family Equality Council’s strongest supporters and have proven themselves to be vocal advocates for LGBTQ youth and families. Following Jonathan’s success with the groundbreaking MTV reality show Real World, he has turned his attention more recently to producing social issue documentaries like Autism: The Musical and Valentine Road, both of which aired on HBO, They Call Us Monsters, which airs on PBS this spring; and the current documentary series, Born This Way, which airs on A&E. Murray and Reese are celebrating their 25th year together and their 18th year as parents to their son Dylan.
“We are thrilled to receive a 2017 Impact Award in honor of our professional work and long-time support of LGBTQ families,” Murray and Reese said in a statement. “Since we became parents in 1998, we have been comforted knowing that Family Equality Council is fighting every day to better the lives of families like ours.”
Past honorees at the LA Impact Awards include Greg Berlanti, Sara Gilbert and Linda Perry, Modern Family, Glee, NBC, Honey Maid, former football player Chris Kluwe, actor/screenwriter/director Peter Paige & producer Bradley Bredeweg, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, and ex-Cub Scout leader Jennifer Tyrrell. Past special guests include Sandra Bernhard, Darren Criss, Melissa Etheridge, Cheyenne Jackson, Adam Lambert, Sarah Paulson, and Sharon Osborne.
The 2017 LA Impact Awards Gala is chaired by Stuart Bell, Greg Berlanti, David Marshall Grant, and Paulson. Vice-chairs are Natalie Bergman and Seth Yanklewitz. The event’s table host co-chairs are Jeff Bernstein and Danielle Cooper.
— Family Equality (@family_equality) February 23, 2017
— The Next Family (@thenextfamily) February 24, 2017
Follow the hashtag #LAImpactAwards to get the latest news leading up to the Gala, and on the night.
For more information and to purchase tickets or tables, visit familyequality.org/la.