2007 Seattle Leadership Awards

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More than 200 people packed the Task Force’s sold-out inaugural Seattle Leadership Awards on Jan. 27 to honor renowned activist and Task Force board member Marsha Botzer.

Botzer has been a longtime catalyst for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights, helping to found Equal Rights Washington, spearheading the movement to update Seattle’s Municipal Code to include gender identity as a protected category, and assisting the Pride Foundation’s shareholder activism project, which resulted in banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation at major corporations such as General Electric, McDonald’s and Wal-Mart.

Botzer’s commitment to equality goes back decades. She founded Seattle’s Ingersoll Gender Center, a direct service organization that has supported transgender people toward growth and wellbeing since 1977. She is a member of the Pride at Work organization, serves on the boards of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center and the Safe Schools Coalition, and serves on the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services GLBT Advisory Committee, which she chaired from 1999 to 2005. Nationally, she has served as treasurer, vice chair and co-chair of the Task Force’s board, which she joined in 2000.

Senator Ed Murray turned out to honor Botzer, having declared Jan. 27, 2007 “Equal Rights Day” for Washington’s LGBT community. The Leadership Awards happened to be held on the first anniversary of the Anderson-Murray Civil Rights Bill’s passage.

The Anderson-Murray Civil Rights Bill (HB 2661), which languished in Olympia for nearly three decades after its 1977 introduction, made Washington the 17th state in the country to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation and the seventh to include transgender persons.

The Task Force thanks our Gold sponsors: board co-chair Mark Sexton and his partner Kirk Wallace, and former co-chair Loren Ostrow and his partner Brian Newkirk. We also thank Silver sponsors Marci Bowers, board co-chair Alan Acosta and his partner Tom Gratz, board treasurer Maureen Burnley, and our terrific board members Margaret Burd and her partner Rebecca Brinkman, Julie Davis and her partner Kathryn Stebner, and Andrew Ogilvie and his partner Cary Davidson. Thanks also to our local business partners the Greater Seattle Business Association, Equal Rights Washington, the Pride Foundation and Seattle Gay News and to the many volunteers who made this event possible.