Out With Dr. Bill – Remembering David Mixner, A Beacon of LGBTQ+ Activism

Dr. William Kapfer READ TIME: 14 MIN.

Thom Sesma, Andrew Durand, and Dashiell Eaves in "Dead Outlaw." Photo by Matthew Murphy

Growing up in Arizona, where rodeos, cookouts, and early lessons in horsemanship were part of my upbringing, I particularly resonated with the show's blend of historical narrative, engaging music, and moments of cowboy levity that held us spellbound.

It served as a refreshing reminder of the profound impact live theater can have in both entertaining and enlightening its audience!

Reflecting on the evening, I realized that the experience was enriched not only by the performance, but also by the company and the unexpected reunion with Brian. "Dead Outlaws" became a journey through time, evoking personal memories and celebrating our shared appreciation for the arts.

It stands as a testament to the creativity of David Yazbek, Erik Della Penna, Itamar Moses, and David Cromer, marking a memorable night at the theater filled with laughter, music, and the enchantment of storytelling.

Joining Hearts and Voices at Broadway Backwards 2024

On March 11th, I had the privilege of attending Broadway Backwards 2024 at the iconic New Amsterdam Theatre, currently graced by Disney's "Aladdin."

The event transformed this historic venue into a vibrant celebration of LGBTQ+ stories and music, achieving a remarkable fundraising feat of $917,651 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in New York City.

Surpassing the previous year's total by over $152,000, this new record was made possible by the incredible support and generosity of our community and its allies.

Broadway Backwards ingeniously reimagined beloved Broadway hits to spotlight LGBTQ+ narratives, delivering an evening of unparalleled entertainment. It begged the question: What does $1 billion of love look like? The answer was palpable in the joy, tears, and overwhelming support felt throughout this year's Broadway Backwards.

Seated between two influential community leaders, I found myself among remarkable company.

Jenn Colella, photo by Rebecca J. Michelson

To my right sat Lisa Linsky from McDermott, Will & Emery – a cherished friend, mentor, and confidant for over two decades – and our gracious host for this vital community fundraiser. To my left, Judith Kasen-Windsor, a passionate LGBTQ+ rights advocate, continued her tireless work for equality and justice in memory of her late wife, Edie Windsor. Edie Windsor's landmark case, United States v. Windsor (2013), marked a turning point for marriage equality in the U.S., overturning Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Jenn Colella, as the mistress of ceremonies, brought humor, warmth, and a sense of familial unity, reminiscent of Rachel Maddow's iconic presence, showcasing her talent and charisma.

A standout moment of the night was John McGinty's poignant rendition of "Listen" from the film version of "Dreamgirls." Portraying a deaf college student navigating his mother's struggle to understand his sexuality and hearing impairment, McGinty's performance, voiced by Jordan Fisher, served as a heartfelt plea for family acceptance. Daniel Marmion and Morgana Shaw, portraying McGinty's parents, added depth to the emotional storyline. As someone who learned sign language early on, I was deeply moved by the beautifully orchestrated performance.

Broadway Backwards 2024 not only celebrated the LGBTQ+ community, but also shed light on crucial issues of inclusivity and understanding, including for deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals. Its success in raising funds and awareness for significant causes, coupled with a night brimming with exceptional entertainment and emotional resonance, underscored the strength and love within our community.

This year's Broadway Backwards was a billion-dollar showcase of heart and hope, leaving an indelible mark on all who experienced it.

Save the Date: Lambda Legal in the Pines, July 27th!

Rob Levy and Todd Sears

The week wrapped up with a gathering of the Lambda Legal in the Pines 2024 host committee, hosted graciously by Rob Levy in his stunning New York apartment.

Stepping into his stylish home felt like entering a gallery, with each corner adorned with an exquisite collection of art spanning various styles, sizes, and mediums. It was truly breathtaking, and I couldn't help but admire the meticulous curation that went into each piece.

I want to express my sincere gratitude to our event's host, Todd Sears, as well as our co-chairs, James Dale and Andrew Mitchell-Namdar. Their efforts in bringing together such a vibrant and dedicated group of individuals to support Lambda Legal's enduring fundraiser on Fire Island are truly commendable.

And a special shoutout goes to the dedicated staff of Lambda Legal who joined us at the event, and to Michelle Riley, the newly elected board president, whose passionate words deeply resonated with me.
Michelle's reminder that our community is at a critical juncture in the fight for the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals and those living with HIV struck a chord.

Hearing the staggering statistics about the hundreds of anti-LGBTQ+ bills across the U.S. was disheartening, yet it fueled a renewed determination within me to do even more to support Lambda Legal as they mark their 50th year of advocacy.

As we reflect on Lambda Legal's ongoing mission to achieve full recognition of the civil rights of LGBTQ+ individuals and people living with HIV, I am inspired to redouble my efforts in supporting their vital work.

I'm excited to see everyone at the LL in the Pines Brunch and Pool Party on Saturday, July 27th.

by Dr. William Kapfer

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