On Friday evening, nearly 1,000 people gathered at Cipriani Wall Street to celebrate the Ali Forney Center’s annual A Place At The Table Gala. The event celebrated the AFC’s unwavering support for homeless LGBTQIA+ youth—a cause that resonated deeply with every attendee.

As the evening began, VIP guests, including Ariana deBose, Cynthia Nixon, Idina Menzel, Willy Chavarria, Sarah Burke, Jordan Roth, and Christine Quinn, were whisked away to a secret library, which was transformed into a cocktail soiree. The attendees were a vibrant group; clad in crystal-studded shoes, shimmering sequined dresses, sky-high stilettos, and bold printed dinner jackets—a testament to the individuality and freedom embraced by the community.

The evening’s agenda kicked off by honoring its award recipients. Architectural Digest received the Community Partner Award for raising nearly $1 million to transform a Harlem townhouse into a new home for Ali Forney’s trans and queer clients. The honor was presented by Anna Wintour and accepted by Amy Astley, editor in chief of Architectural Digest. Paolo Martini, chief scientific officer of Moderna, and Jonathan Hawkins, owner of The Crown and Anchor, received the Luminary Award for their outstanding contributions to the cause. And Kimberly Howard, a special projects specialist at the New York City Department of Health, was honored with the Ali Forney Award for her unwavering dedication to improving the well-being of homeless individuals facing health, mental health, and substance misuse issues.

Alex Roque, president and executive director of the AFC, made a striking entrance in (what seemed to be) a custom powder blue plaid suit. When asked about his look for the evening, he proudly revealed to Vogue, “It’s from Amazon. I’m not even kidding—I was supposed to have a fitting with Nordstrom, but the timing just didn’t work out.”

Indya Moore, star of the hit series Pose and a beloved icon within the community, assumed the role of the night’s host. They regaled guests with house rules for the evening: First, bars were to be closed during the speaking portion of the event, “Don’t be a sloppy drunk darling, Beyoncé would never order at the bar—neither should you.” Finally, Moore announced that the silent auction would be conducted entirely through a virtual platform, highlighting the opportunity to support the AFC “while also showing off your spiritual and material wealth,” they said.

Before dinner was served, Yoli Mayor took the stage and moved everyone with a soul-stirring rendition of “Alleluia,” leaving an indelible mark on everyone in attendance. As the evening progressed, drag darling Marti Cummings and Robbie Gordy took the spotlight as the evening’s auctioneers, using their undeniable wit to peer pressure guests into donating. With a mischievous glint in their eye, Cummings exclaimed, “Come on! $15,000 is nothing—that’s a Birkin!” The crowd roared with laughter and applause, fueling an outpouring of generosity by raising $1.88 million.

Donations flew through the air in an amusing display of support. A sense of joy permeated the room as attendees recognized that their generous contributions would safeguard homeless LGBTQIA+ youth, providing them with the comprehensive services they need to thrive.

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