Sold-out Black Tie Dinner shimmers with fun & fundraising for LGBTQ+ Dallas
Now in its 42nd year, Black Tie Dinner took over the Sheraton Dallas on October 28 for an unforgettable evening of love, empowerment, and visibility in celebration of LGBTQ+ supportive organizations. Since its founding in 1982, Black Tie Dinner has raised nearly $30 million.
The theme this year, "Mirrorball," was reflected in the shiny, shimmering, sparkly, and reflective ensembles donned by the fashionable crowd of nearly 3,000, plus a mylar balloon tunnel entrance that proved great for photo opps.
Co-chairs Regina Lyn Pierce and Dustin Vyers, alongside the all-volunteer board of directors, put together a massive event that included a cocktail hour, expansive silent auction, performances, and speeches from this year's high-profile and hard-working award honorees.
Acclaimed LGBTQ+ pop star Vincint performed to both open and close the program, while emcee Megan Mitchell, an anchor and reporter for WFAA, kept the night's lengthy program moving.
For ease of reading, here's a list of the awards and their recipients:
- Black Tie Dinner Equality Award: Dr. Eric Cervini, award-winning author, producer, and historian of LGBTQ+ politics
- Media Award: Cynthia Nixon, award-winning actress and advocate
- Richard Weaver Volunteer Award:Lisa Harris, senior manager for American Airlines
- Visibility Award:Jesse James Keitel, actress and writer who helps further transgender representation in television
- Kuchling Humanitarian Award:Portia Cantrell, retired trauma nurse who works with LGBTQ+ seniors in North Texas
- Trailblazer Award:Trevor Wilkinson, third-year pre-law student at Texas Tech University who worked to create a more gender-neutral school dress code policy
Headliner Nixon saluted Black Tie Dinner’s beneficiaries as a source of hope, sometimes changing one life at a time, and also reflected on the “Mirrorball” theme: “This to me means at least two things – mirror back to the world, the world as you want to see it, and disco can heal."
Black Tie Dinner also awards John Thomas Scholarship funds to tireless and deserving volunteers in the community. The fund honors the legacy of John Thomas, who was an activist in the streets as well as in the business suites. This year's recipients are:
- Barry Brody, Uptown Players
- Alfonso Mendez, AIDS Services of Dallas
- Orion Tupper, Pride Frisco
- Connor Winston, Pride Frisco
- Parris Greer, Legacy Cares
Following the dinner and speeches, the famous AfterBlack Party kept everyone dancing long into the night.
Each year, Black Tie Dinner selects up to 20 nonprofit organizations from North Texas as local beneficiaries of its fundraising, as well as the Human Rights Campaign Foundation as its national beneficiary. This year's beneficiaries include:
- AIDS Services of Dallas
- Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star
- Black Trans Advocacy Coalition
- Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ
- Coalition for Aging LGBT
- Dallas Hope Charities
- Equality Texas Foundation
- Help Center for LGBT Health & Wellness
- Legacy Cares
- Northaven United Methodist Church
- Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas
- Pride Frisco
- Resource Center
- Synergy Wesley Foundation
- Texas Health Action
- The Women's Chorus of Dallas
- Turtle Creek Chorale
- Uptown Players