Press

Task Force to honor six activists at Creating Change Conference, Nov. 8-12, in Kansas City, Missouri

Date: 
October 24, 2006

Honorees’ ages range from 20 to 81; work spans past 50 years of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights movement

MEDIA CONTACT:
Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications
media@theTaskForce.org
646.358.1465

WASHINGTON, Oct. 24 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force will honor six activists at the 19th Annual Creating Change Conference in Kansas City, Mo., Nov. 8–12, for their notable efforts to advance lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. A total of $32,500 will be awarded to the honorees at Creating Change, the countrys largest LGBT organizing conference, attracting more than 2,000 activists.

The honorees, whose ages range from 20 to 81, represent the diverse communities of Kansas City, Mo.; Paola, Kan.; Washington, D.C.; Burlington, Vt.; Chicago, Ill.; and West Hollywood, Calif. Their work spans the past 50 years of the LGBT rights movement and includes such issues as aging, reform of anti-LGBT laws and policies, high school and college campus life, transgender and disability rights and leather community-building.

Recipients of the 2006 Creating Change Awards, funded by the
Anderson Prize Foundation:

Franklin E. Kameny (who coined the slogan "Gay is Good" in 1968), 81, will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award for his vision, leadership and courage in challenging governmental policies that targeted lesbians and gay men for prosecution and persecution. After losing his federal job in 1957 because he is gay, Kameny devoted his considerable energies and organizing acumen to pursuing changes in law and policy that would benefit millions of members of our communities. He founded the Washington, D.C., chapter of the Mattachine Society in 1961, led one of the first public demands for fairness and equal treatment for LGBT people in 1965, founded the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance in 1971 and was a founding board member of the Task Force in 1973. His collected papers and protest signs were recently accepted by the Library of Congress. ($7,500)

Wick Thomas, 20, will be honored for his work at Paola High School in Paola, Kan. Thomas, supported by two friends, founded the school’s first Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) in 2004, enduring harassment and death threats. The GSA survived and thrived despite only tepid support from the school’s administration. Thomas now studies sociology at the University of Missouri–Kansas City and hopes to enter the field of conflict resolution. ($5,000)

Eli Clare of Burlington, Vt., a white, disabled, genderqueer poet and essayist with a penchant for rabble-rousing, will receive a Creating Change Award. He has walked across the United States for peace, coordinated a rape prevention program and helped to organize the first-ever Queerness and Disability Conference in 2002. Clare is the author of Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation (South End Press, 1999). His collection of poetry called The Marrow’s Telling will be published next year. He works at the University of Vermont’s LGBTQA Services. ($5,000)

Jovan Sage will be honored as a student leader and self-described “professional volunteer” who invests time, energy and good spirit in the LGBT communities of Kansas City. Sage served two terms as president of the University of Missouri–Kansas City (UMKC) campus group Queers and Allies and was a member of the LGBT advisory board. She also interned at PROMO, Missouri’s LGBT advocacy organization. Sage is a graduate student in communications studies at UMKC and leads the People of Color Hospitality Committee of the 2006 Creating Change Host Committee. ($5,000)

Dave Rhodes is the publisher, editor and owner of The Leather Journal, founded in 1987, the only national publication covering the leather communities. Rhodes is the founder and coordinator of the Mr. and Ms. Olympus Leather Contest, the only male and female contest for the pansexual leather community. He is an honorary board member of the Leather Archives and Museum. Rhodes has judged countless leather contests and competitions around the country and is a revered leader in the leather community. ($5,000)

Recipient of the 2006 Allan Morrow Community Service Award,
funded by the Allan Morrow Foundation:

The Task Force honors Terri Worman with the Allan Morrow Community Service Award for her leadership, vision and commitment to LGBT aging work. In Chicago, Worman has joined her passions for LGBT issues and aging, finding a natural fit for her outspoken activism as manager for state operations for AARP Illinois. Worman is a proud member of the Lesbian and Gay Aging Issues Network of the American Society on Aging. She is co-chair of the Chicago Task Force on LGBT Aging and was inducted into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame in 2004.

Since 2001, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has had the great privilege and honor of presenting the annual Creating Change Awards to recognize the hard work and dedication of some of our colleagues in the LGBT movement. This awards program, presented at the Creating Change Conference, is generously funded ($27,500) by the Anderson Prize Foundation, administered by Allen Schuh. We thank Schuh and the Anderson Prize Foundation for helping to recognize activists at the local, state and national level. The Allan Morrow Community Service Award ($5,000), which recognizes the leadership of an activist working on aging issues, is generously funded by the Allan Morrow Foundation.

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.