Singer Tyler Glenn exults in the moment at the Black Tie Dinner. (Photo by Sheryl Lanzel.)
Nate Robbins, Grace Stockdale, Terrance McNally, Tom Kirdahy, David Taffet, Judith Kasen, David Robinson, Tyler Glenn; photo by John Doc Strange
Michelle Brannon Brookshire; photo by Sheryl Lanzel
Speaker Terrence McNally, photo by Sheryl Lanzel
Lee McLeod, Erin Wyma, Ron Allen; photo by Riley Pennell
Long Mugianto, Joe Pacetti Cassandra Cass, Rodney Bryan Pratz; photo by RIley Pennell
David Robinson, Grace Stockdale, Tyler Glenn, Nate Robbins; photo by John Doc Strange
Speaker Eric Fanning, photo by Sheryl Lanzel
Caroline Keener, Jennifer Kenner, Judge James Frederick, Shruti Krishnan, Mathieu Ulmschneider, Michelle Brannon Brookshire, Keith, Brookshire; photo by Steve Foxall
Grace Stockdale, Tyler Glenn; photo by Bryan Chatlien
Speaker Jess Herbst, photo by Sheryl Lanzel
Cameron McCree, Jeff Watters, Caleb Patterson, David Estrada, Emilye Abkenar, Randy, Santellana; photo by Jorge Martinez
George Billingsley, Lindsay Billingsley, Ross Blackstone, Chad Griffin, Amy Ward Meier, Ed Meier, Morgan Cox, Derrall Hill; photo by Sheryl Lanzel
Grace Stockdale, photo by Sheryl Lanzel
Black Tie Dinner 2017, photo by Sheryl Lanzel
Tyler Glenn, Grace Stockdale, Morgan Cox, Derrall Hill; photo by John Doc Strange
Black Tie Dinner 2017, photo by @twistedfocusmedia.
Striking the perfect balance between entertainment and inspiration is a skill that Black Tie Dinner has honed over the 36 years since its inception. Over the years, the event has brought local and national figures such as Maya Angelou, Geena Davis, Lily Tomlin and Connie Britton to Dallas. It has also raised more than $21 million for local and national beneficiaries.
The nation’s largest LGBTQ fundraising dinner was as uplifting as ever this November, as it brought together thousands of well-heeled patrons with a bounty of remarkable speakers, award recipients and performers.
Taking over the ballroom of the Sheraton in Downtown Dallas, Black Tie Dinner devised an evening equal parts empowering and fun. The non-profit organization recognized equality-driven luminaries, including Tony Award-winning playwright Terrence McNally, who was presented with the Ally for Equality Award by doting husband, Tom Kirdahy; and Rev. Eric Folkerth of Northaven Methodist Church, a believer in the “separation of church and hate,” who was presented with the Kuchling Humanitarian Award.
Other memorable moments included moving speeches from equality trailblazers Eric Fanning, the featured speaker of the evening, the 22nd Secretary of the Army and the first openly gay head of any service in the US Military; and Jess Herbst, Mayor of New Hope, and the first openly transgender elected official in Texas history.
While the evening was filled with emotional points like these, the mood was nothing short of optimistic – it is, after all, the most successful dinner in the country supporting the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.
On the entertainment front, Black Tie Dinner welcomed Grace Stockdale of Waitress for a sneak preview of the broadway show (you’ll be able to catch more when Dallas Summer Musicals brings Waitress to North Texas next year), and closed the program with an electric performance by Tyler Glenn, singer and former lead vocalist of Neon Trees.