Actress, comedian, and provocateur Kathy Griffin, was honored with a West Hollywood Rainbow Key Award at a ceremony on Tuesday, June 5, at the West Hollywood Council Chambers. She was recognized for being a fierce ally of the LGBT community and her tireless work for LGBTQ causes and HIV/AIDS services like Alliance for Housing and Healing, formerly known as Aid for AIDS, where she has helped raise more than $5 million as a host for the Best in Drag Show fundraiser.
WeHo Mayor John Duran, Mayor Pro-Tem John D’Amico and councilmember Lauren Meister were on hand to present the Rainbow Key Awards along with members from the Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board.
Griffin appeared before a packed room wearing Kate Spade to honor the designer who had been found dead from an apparent suicide in New York that day. She placed her Kate Spade purse on the podium after receiving her Rainbow Key Award and came prepared with a message: “I’m sure many of you heard of the tragic passing of Kate Spade today and in her honor, I decided to dress from head to toe in her beautiful clothing to pay homage to a woman who I admire so much and I didn’t even know her, but she was a self-made woman who paved the way for so many women designers. Her death by suicide is also an important reminder that suicide does not discriminate. It doesn’t care how much money you have, what color your skin is, or what your gender identity is. We also can’t forget that suicide rate in our trans community are disproportionately high.”
It’s been roughly a year after her joke-gone-wrong involving a Trump mask and lots of ketchup that forced the comedian to basically leave the country, but Griffin is back and she’s not apologizing anymore. The comedian weaved between humor and serious issues affecting the LGBT community and the nation. She made gay jokes. She asked for a show of hands of those who voted, and threatened to come for those who didn’t vote to emphasize the importance of voting. She called for Stormy 2020. She said she worried about apathy in this country. She made more gay jokes. And of course she joked about Oprah that may, or may not have included her BFF Gale—oh yes, and she also called Ivanka Trump a feckless cunt at the podium—“And you know what the best part is?” She added. “She doesn’t even know the insult is feckless.”
Griffin also spoke about misogyny, saying that in her opinion, our country is more misogynistic than homophobic “And it’s quite homophobic,” she said. “As much as I dream of the day a woman can be president,I’m finally dealing with the fact that a gay man will probably be president first.”
Other Rainbow Key Awards honorees included the following:
Rudy Akbarian, openly transgender member of the U.S. Army who has served as a mentor to other Trans service members;
Kathy Griffin, actor-comedian and fierce ally of the community who has helped raise more than $5 million for HIV/AIDS services and LGBTQ causes;
Matt Palazzolo, co-founder of Equal Roots, and a longtime member of the Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board, who passed away in January;
Brian Pendleton, organizer-philanthropist, founder of CauseForce and a leader of last year’s #ResistMarch;
Bamby Salcedo, Trans activist who has worked with migration, HIV, youth, LGBT, incarceration, and Latinx communities; and
Elizabeth Savage, longtime activist who recently retired after 22 years with the City, working for LGBT rights, affordable housing, and aging as part of a vital and diverse community.
Past honorees of the annual Rainbow Key Awards have included activists, artists, civic leaders, educators, community organizations, and more. Contributions, whether by an individual or a group, may be in many forms, including the arts, community action, humanitarian action, sports, medicine, armed services, leadership, benefit to the global gay and lesbian community, or in other ways. More than 150 Rainbow Key Awards have been presented during the past 25 years.