Mariska Hargitay, Alan Cumming, Graham Norton and Project Runway star Tim Gunn step out for the GLAAD Awards held at Marriott Marquis in NYC.

“Whoever can say my name gets a smile,” Mariska chuckles to photogs, as she clutches her hubby Peter Hermann.

How does it feel to be back to work on Law & Order: SVU?

“Awesome,” she says.

“Hi, hi, hi,” Alan says. The actor, who is legally wed to his partner in Europe, urges closeted gays to come out.

“I think it’s a great thing to be able to live the life you want to live and not to have to lie. I feel sad for people who are not able to do that. As a performer, I think all the stuff that people say about ‘it will affect my career,’ I think that’s just stupid. A) It’s all hypothetical and b) Do you want to have a career that is about lying and living a lie and not being the person that you are? I don’t think people care that much about who’s gay and who’s straight when they go and see a film or a play.”

BTW, he tells me his Gray Matters co-star Bridget Moynahan is “lovely” with her 7-month-old son John.

How does Tim feel about being a role model for the gay community?

“It’s the greatest honor I have,” he says. “I mean that. I am so proud that people see me that way, and so proud that people respond positively to who I am, because I can only be who I am. I know how in need I was of positive role models when I was growing up. It was not easy. You had Paul Lind and I didn’t want to aspire to that, so I’m very touched by it.”

Despite hosting his own show on BBC America, Gucci-clad host Graham admits he’s stressed about heading up the evening.

“I think this is harder. It’s a big live event, and I don’t know this audience. I don’t know who’s going to be there. I’m sort of out of my comfort zone. My own little show, I just roll out of bed and do it.”

Xanadu star Cheyenne Jackson says he feeds his dog Zorra his protein shake. “I dribble it in a like a mama bird,” he says. “She’s mostly Rottweiler, with Labrador, maybe Doberman. We don’t know for sure. There is a $60 test you do — you swab the inside for their mouths, and send it away. They’ll tell you exactly what’s in your mutt. It’s kind of fun not to know, but I kind of do want to know.”

I bump into Mariska and hubby and Alan — holding a glass of chardonnay — again at the cocktail party. Time to join Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick and Barbara Walters inside.

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