The Task Force will honor activists for their outstanding contributions to LGBT equality at Creating Change in Dallas, Texas

January 27, 2010

Inga Sarda-Sorensen
Director of Communications
(Office) 646.358.1463
(Cell) 202.641.5592

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force will honor activists for their outstanding work and dedication to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) movement and the advancement of equality at the 22nd National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change in Dallas, Texas, Feb. 3?7. These awards are generously funded by the Anderson Prize Foundation, administered by Allen Schuh; the International Court System; the AIDS Community Action Foundation; and Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE). The honorees will be recognized at the conference that brings together more than 2,000 LGBT rights activists from across the country.

About the honorees

Grace Sterling Stowell will receive the Susan J. Hyde Activism Award for Longevity in the Movement. Stowell is a transgender woman who has been an activist and leader in the social justice and LGBT communities for more than 35 years. As a gender nonconforming child growing up in the 1960s, Stowell's personal experiences of discrimination and violence served as a catalyst for her understanding of her own oppression and that of broader movements for social justice. In 1980, Stowell joined the founders of the newly formed Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Youth (BAGLY). As its first executive director, she led youth and adult leaders in the expansion of BAGLY from a Boston-based, all volunteer, grassroots social support group, to an established nonprofit organization that also coordinates the GLBT Youth Group Network of Massachusetts. Celebrating its 30th anniversary, BAGLY is a nationally recognized model of youth leadership and community development, having served more than 30,000 youth. Stowell was also an early activist in counseling, advocacy and research on behalf of transgender and gender nonconforming youth and young adults.

The Leather Leadership Award will be given to Hardy Haberman. Haberman has been active in LGBT politics since the mid-1970s. First becoming a member of the Dallas Gay Political Caucus and later part of the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance, he has worked for and spoken out for LGBT people. Currently he serves as a member of the board of the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas. Haberman is a member of many organizations, including the Leather Rose Society, National Leather Association-Dallas, Discipline Corps and a founding member of Inquisition-Dallas. He is the author of four books, including his latest, Soul of a Second Skin — The Journey of a Gay Christian Leatherman. His documentary, LEATHER, has won numerous awards and appeared in festivals around the world. His video, Out of the Darkness, The Reality of SM, is widely used by mental health care professionals. Haberman's blog, Dungeon Diary, focuses on progressive politics with occasional forays into alternative sexuality and spirituality. He is a regular columnist for the Dallas Voice.

Aiden Aizumi will receive the Paul A. Anderson Award for Youth Leadership. Aizumi, 21, is a transman activist currently studying to become a firefighter/paramedic. Aizumi is an active member of PFLAG and is currently a member of the Pasadena PFLAG executive board and participates in informational panels with PFLAG to educate local high schools and colleges about the LGBT community. He volunteers with LifeWorks mentoring at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, which offers mentoring opportunities for LGBT youth ages 12-24. Aizumi serves on the Youth Advisory Council of The Trevor Project and has a leadership role in the youth leadership of the organization. He facilitates educational programming of the Lifeguard Workshop and conducts outreach in parts of Los Angeles often overlooked by other social service agencies. Aizumi is an administrator for TrevorSpace, helping to provide a safe and enjoyable social networking site for his LGBT and allied peers.

The AIDS Community Action Award, sponsored by the AIDS Community Action Foundation, will be awarded to Sharon M. Day. Day, Ojibwe, is enrolled in the Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe. She is the one of the founders of the Indigenous Peoples Task Force (IPTF), formerly known as the Minnesota American Indian AIDS Task Force. IPTF began in 1987 as a volunteer organization, hiring its first staff in 1988. Day was hired as the executive director in May 1990 and has served in that role ever since. IPTF has strived to ground its services in the culture of American Indian people. Day is second degree M'dewiwin and follows the spiritual path of the Anishinabe people. She is an artist, musician and writer. She is an editor of the anthology Sing! Whisper! Shout! Pray! Feminist Visions for a Just World.

Joyce Pierson, M.A., will receive the SAGE Advocacy Award for Excellence in Leadership on Aging Issues. Pierson has been a professional activist in California's aging services network for more than 30 years. Pierson joined the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) in 2000 to develop its LGBT Elder Law Project. Prior, she served as program director for the New Leaf Outreach to Elders, retiring in 1999. In 1975, she trained to be an elder law paralegal and worked in the El Dorado County (Calif.) Legal Assistance for Elders until 1979, when she was tapped to lead the county's new Area Agency on Aging. Legends Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon recommended her to lead NCLR's LGBT Elder Law Project. Just 66, she seized the opportunity to join NCLR and to strengthen elder law education and senior empowerment. Her expansion of the Elder Law Project built bridges between the established mainstream elder services and the evolving LGBT aging movement. Pierson recognizes that her work succeeds because of collaboration and inspiration from colleagues in the movement and the support of family and friends. This award is generously supported by Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE).

For more information about the conference and to register, please visit

For media credentials, please contact Pedro Julio Serrano at

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. We do this by training activists, equipping state and local organizations with the skills needed to organize broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and 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.