Judith Light Talks LGBTQ Activism and Civil Rights at Jeffrey Fashion Cares Charity Soiree

Jeffrey Kalinsky hosted not a charity event but his quinceañera last night. That’s because it was his 15th annual Jeffrey Fashion Cares soiree held at The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York. The affair benefited various charitable organizations, complete with notable industry heads including Brandon Maxwell, Miss J. Alexander and the evening’s host, Judith Light.

This year, the proceeds from the fundraiser will be split equally between the Elton John AIDS Foundation (HIV/AIDS research), Hetrick Martin Institute (LGBTQ youth services) and Lambda Legal (LGBTQ civil rights/activism).

Jeffrey Fashion Cares has raised more than $9 million since its inception, and this year, its silent auction raised over $40,000 only halfway into the evening. While some individuals could have been intimated by the hefty amounts shelled out for the worthy causes, Light assured that there are many ways to take part, regardless of funds. She shared her take with FN on getting involved and staying motivated concerning charitable efforts.

“You have to have a passion for something in order to stay motivated about it,” Light said. “You have to remember that we are all here to serve each other, so if you’re coming from [a place of] service, you’re going to be fine no matter what you do. This whole event was done by volunteers, so you can volunteer for anything.”

“Get involved. Say, ‘I will,'” added Kalinsky.

The evening featured various items and experiences up for bid, including trips to the Maldives, London and Italy, and a night to “party with the stars” at Elton John’s Oscar viewing party. Many of the causes that Jeffrey Fashion Cares benefits have been hot topics as of late. Yesterday, the showcase honored staff Staff Sgt. Cathrine Schmid, a 12-year Army veteran who is also a plaintiff in Lambda Legal and OutServe’s lawsuit challenging the ban against transgender people serving in the military.

“If this is what you’re interested in, like HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ and civil rights, you can find those places to go and volunteer and help people out,” said Light. “You can also find out what organizations in your community are prominent in fields like this. If you know you want to serve other human beings, it will carry you.”

Though Kalinsky’s hands were full for the duration of the event, there’s at least a few aspects he took time to enjoy.

“I love the crowd. I like people watching,” he said. When it came to his plans post-party, Kalinsky revealed that he was in a New York state of mind.

“I’m going for pizza afterwards,” he said.

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