Hold Me Closer

Jeffrey Guard


In late August the much-anticipated collaboration between Elton John and Britney Spears’ new song, “Hold Me Closer” instantly went viral, hitting number one in over 30 countries. It’s not hard to understand why. 

The song is an updated version of Elton John’s mega-hit “Tiny Dancer” with an underlay of Britney Spears singing--something so many have been craving since her emancipation from her conservatorship. Plus, its slick production and upbeat tempo are infectious.  I’m not going to lie, it’s on repeat when I’m working on the elliptical at my gym.

The greater significance of this anthem is that it speaks to what we are in desperate need of right now: celebration and connection.

The LOFT is finally coming full circle with our LOFT OUT Gala 2022 being held in person at The Mamaroneck Beach & Yacht Club. It has not been held, in person, for three years because of COVID--and the timing could not be better.

Let’s take stock of all that we’ve been through since that time: The Trump Administration wreaked havoc on our community, COVID-19 and its fallout hit our community hard, the social justice movement that erupted in June of 2020 and was a painful but worthy reckoning for so many, the January 2021 Insurrection, The Dobbs Decision that allowed for the outlawing of abortion, LGBTQ+ book bans, “Don’t Say Gay” and all the other odious LGBTQ+ legislation being passed in state legislatures, Monkeypox…and many smaller things that no doubt contributed to the toll on our physical, mental and spiritual health.

This doesn’t even cover the personal setbacks that so many of us have endured during this time.

We’ve, collectively and individually, been put through the wringer. If there’s one thing that I have learned about life in the past three years is that celebration is not a luxury; it’s not even a "nice to have," it’s absolutely essential for the prosperity and well-being of a community.

I saw it this summer with Westchester PRIDE 2022. The crowds were amazing, full of jovial people enjoying the entertainment, the performances, the after-party, and the info tables. More importantly, I saw a ton of hugging, laughing, dancing, holding hands, bodies--young and old, leaning on one another. It was meaningful and you could see people become physically lighter because of it. It was inspiring, and healing to experience.

What it also reminded me of was our spirit. We’re definitely living in uncertain times right now with our civil rights hanging in the balance. It's important to remember that there’s one thing they can't take from us: our desire to connect with each other and to celebrate our existence, everything we’ve overcome, and everything we will overcome.

That’s what we’re doing Friday, September 30, 2022. We’re gathering to celebrate coming back together, holding each other a little closer as we remind one another of our resilience in the face of non-stop challenges. We’ve come full circle. The Gala marks the very last event to be held in person. Our center has re-opened, and many groups and services are either in-person and or virtual, Pride--as you know is back!


So, if you are joining us for The Gala--we hope you are ready to celebrate because we have so much in store for you--evening cocktails, an inspiring program, exciting auction packages, and of course dancing.

We hope to see you there!


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