(L-R) Steven Canals, Mj Rodriguez, Indya Moore, Hailie Sahar, and Dominique Jackson attend The Trevor Project’s TrevorLIVE Gala at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on December 02, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California.
Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez (Getty Images)

The Trevor Project is a blessing for LGBTQ youth, but many attendees of its annual event, TrevorLIVE LA, weren’t afforded the privilege of such a wonderful service.

The Trevor Project is the world’s largest organization specifically designed to serve as crisis intervention for youth within the LGBTQ community. Every year, the organization gathers to honor notable activists pushing the positive narrative forward with a star-studded fundraiser and gala. The 2018 honorees were award-winning Hollywood trifecta Ryan Murphy and the cast of Pose, who earned the Hero Award, Amandla Stenberg, winner of the Youth Innovator Award), and AT&T who were honored with the 20/20 Visionary Award, presented by Empire’s Jussie Smollett.

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“Often times who we are is postulated in the context of pain, shame, and tragedy, and although that may be a facet of our experiences I do not feel that it is by any means the totality of them or how I experience being gay,” said Stenberg during their acceptance speech. “I find that understanding so limiting and inaccurate when I know that if anything we are the opposite; we are joy and light. We are the sacred unraveling of damaging fabrications who reveal the power of truth through love. We are unapologetic expressions of divinity and exuberance.”

Some of our Pose faves stopped to talk with us on the red carpet leading to the elegant gala at the Beverly Hilton.

“To me, the Trevor Project is all about refuge and safe space and being a beacon of life for all those people who feel like they don’t have anyone to support them,” mused Dyllón Burnside (Ricky Evangelista).

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Because the Trevor Project has undoubtedly saved countless lives, my pressing question to all was: What would you tell your younger self, knowing what you know now?

“Hang in there,” answered Dominique Jackson (Elektra Abundance). “Do the work. When it gets really hard and tough, that’s when you have to fight even harder. That’s when you have to be resilient. Don’t give up. Jump over the hurdles, go under the hurdles, knock them over, go around those corners [...] because at the end of that journey, you’re going to find yourself.”

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Billy Porter’s (Pray Tell) message was straightforward and direct, much like the domineering character he portrays on Pose. “Stay strong. Find your tribe. Save yourself no matter what.”

After hugging me down with all the love and support she has for The Root (she represented at The 2018 Root 100 gala, too!), Indya Moore (Angel) had a word for anyone behind the curve when it comes to true progressiveness.

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“If you’re not supporting your trans community, if you’re not supporting your black and brown brothers and sisters, and you don’t see the intersections between anti-gender variants and anti-blackness, then you need to wake up and you need to smell the colonialism,” she remarked, with a firm and steady snap of her fingers.

Fans of Pose (aka, everyone in the building) were also treated to a surprise musical performance from Billy Porter, Mj Rodriguez, and Our Lady J. Yes, the song from that hospital scene.

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The emotionally-filled night ended with Deborah Cox performing her iconic 90s hit, “Nobody’s Supposed To Be Here” as well as a rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”

Like everyone and their mama, I was itching to know what to expect for the next season of Pose, given the conclusion of its freshman season. However, as is well-known in the industry, Ryan Murphy’s vault is shut tighter than a smedium sweater after a second helping of Thanksgiving dinner. Other than the publicly known time-jump in the series to 1989, Moore put it best for us anxious fans, “keep your imagination open.”

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Since we couldn’t go forward, I decided to take it back... back into time, and asked the cast their favorite moments of the first season.

“My favorite moment was when Damon [Ryan Jamaal Swain] danced and auditioned for my school,” said Charlayne Woodard (Helena St. Rogers). “The whole day he danced and each time was so full-out and amazing. I could’ve watched him for three more days, it was such a beautiful moment.”

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I could’ve, too.

Other cast fave moments included Damon and Ricky’s warehouse date (which, Burnside told us was his first scene to shoot for the series!) and the true-to-life museum robbery scene (which, I believe to be one of the best openings in TV series history).

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“That dining room table scene was my favorite moment where I cussed all those kids out because I was drunk,” said Porter with a chuckle.

If you are or know someone who is feeling helpless or suicidal, counselors are available through TrevorLifeline’s crisis line at 866-488-7386.