2008 Christopher Street West
Los Angeles LGBT PRIDE Honorees
Every year Christopher Street West recognizes individuals for their outstanding contributions to the community by honoring them in a variety of categories that include the arts, community and political involvement, and sports and media publications.
Nominations come directly from the Greater Los Angeles LGBT community to Christopher Street West through advertised channels, outreach and open recommendations for candidates that uphold and demonstrate our commitment to advancing human rights, education, and outreach for LGBT community and celebrating our diversity.
This year's honorees are a distinguished collection of persevering talents whose personal integrity and commitment to truth have increased freedom and equality for everyone.
Rita C. Gonzales
Woman of the Year Award
Rita C. Gonzales started her activist career in radio, first as host of "Radio GLLU", to its current incarnation of "IMRU". President of GLLU, board member of Connexxus and the One National Gay and Lesbian Archives, Women On A Roll, to current chair of Bienestar Health Services, Rita's dedication is endless.
The Woman of the Year is that individual continually involved in an important undertaking that makes a positive statement for the LGBT community as a whole.
man of the Year Award
Los Angeles Councilman, Bill Rosendahl, has been an educator, an award-winning television broadcaster and a White House appointee. He is a veteran of the Vietnam War, spending a year as a psychiatric social worker counseling troops returning home from combat. Bill is highly involved in civic life with a commanding mandate for positive change as a regular moderator of community forums and steering discussions on various issues including charter reform, secession and the formation of neighborhood councils. He has chaired the California Commission on Tax Policy in the New Economy, served as president of the Los Angeles Press Club, as chairman of the Cable and Telecommunication Association and was a member of the education fund of the Los Angeles League of Women Voters. Bill is an honored public servant and the first openly gay man on the Los Angeles City Council. He leads by Proud example and determined action in supporting gay marriage and equal rights and is one of the most influential and important voices in the struggle of the LGBT community.
Thank you, Bill Rosendahl, for the bold and courageous developments you perform to continued exploration of united goals and civic development.
The Man of the Year is that individual who continually is involved in an important undertaking that makes a positive statement for the LGBT community as a whole.
Rabbi Denise L. Eger
Morris Kight Lifetime Achievement Award
A brilliant individual who continues to weave a cultural tapestry of spirituality, tradition and activism within our community, Rabbi Denise L. Eger was the first lesbian or gay Rabbi at Beth Chaymin Chadashim and has been the Founding Rabbi of Congregation Koi Ami, West Hollywood's Reform Synagogue, for the past 16 years. Her extensive work includes
gay marriage rights, religion, medical research, AIDS services and running the only Jewish HIV support group in the country.
CSW Special Community Award
From Rebel To Ruler: Alexei Romanoff. His gait has regained its younger stride since the accident that almost cost Avatar President Alexei Romanoff his leg. His longevity is remarkable, a life in leather begun long before Stonewall. Born 1936 in the Ukraine, his family fled when the Nazis invaded. Making their way through Japanese-occupied Manchuria to America, he has joined the circus, the Marine Corps., been a "beat" generation artisan, and a gay bar co-owner whose accidental heroism contributed to today's Pride celebrations. LAPD raids on his bar, New Faces, led to the first ever protest of a bar raid in the country. Battler against the Briggs Initiative, BDSM and sexual educator, Alexei personifies the past as a living voice of history.
Reverend Troy Perry &
Mr. Phillip RayDe Blieck
Special Community Award
2003 Canadian Newlyweds Reverend Troy Perry and partner Phillip Ray De Blieck are awaiting the California Supreme Court decision regarding their right to have their marriage recognized here. Founder of the 43,000 member Metropolitan Community Church, Troy Perry has devoted his life to helping others. Besides serving on the LA County Commission on Human Relations, Rev. Perry was appointed by President Clinton as a delegate to official White House Conferences on Hate Crimes, and yet another on AIDS. Troy Perry and his partner, Phillip Ray De Blieck, share their lives with the world as an inspiration of what is possible when peace, love and acceptance energizes two activist hearts.
Robin Tyler & Diane Olson
Special Community Award
Robin Tyler and her partner of 14 years, Diane Olson, became the first lesbian couple to sue for same gender marriage in The California Supreme Court. Before that momentous act, Robin's reach extended back to the '70's, where she became the first openly lesbian or gay comic in any entertainment venue. Producing the Main Stage events for the '79, '87, and '93 Marches on Washington, Robin has intertwined women's music, queer comedy, and internet activism along with her performance career. Robin Tyler and Diane Olson's inspirational talent lead the LGBT community by example.
Special Community Award
Along with Thorn Edwards and Martin Rodriguez, Marc Chambers founded the Lambda Basketball League in 1990 to provide a safe and accepting environment for LGBT basketball players and friends to socialize, compete and build life-long relationships. As a team leader, Mark has led Long Beach athletes to compete at the Amsterdam, Sydney and Chicago Gay Games in 1998, 2002 and 2006. In 2003, he founded the National Gay Basketball Association, helping players across the entire country to organize successful LGBT basketball programs and tournaments. As a team player in the true sense of the word, Mark is a constant advocate for the inclusion of specialized interests and talents of our diverse community and is a proven leader, having built large social networks to promote ideals of acceptance, culture and camaraderie through sports interaction.
Thank you, Marc Chambers, for fulfilling a valued and necessary community outlet for sports programming that embodies interaction amongst our brothers and sisters on a global level.
The CSW Special Community Award acknowledges outstanding persons, organizations, businesses, etc., that are identified as deserving of special recognition for exceptional reasons.
Outstanding Youth Leader Award
Dinorah Garcia is the Director of Mentoring at LifeWorks Mentoring, an organization for youth between the ages of 14-24. Now serving over 500 LGBT youth, Dinorah's efforts, outreach and vision have been an incredible attribute to the success of this remarkable organization. Her unique personality augments the greater Pride movement in the way she is able to generate trust, develop confidence and motivate esteem in the youth of our community.
Transgender activism is at the forefront of social and political struggles today. Masen Davis, Executive Director of The Transgender Law Center, co-founder of the FTM Alliance of Los Angeles, puts the "T" in LGBT advocacy for an historically marginalized segment of our community. Transgendered health care, immigration, employment, leadership development, local and national governance boards, nothing escapes the purview of this intelligent and talented activist.
The Berman/Schaffer Award recognizes an individual or organization with a notably positive impression whose vision for the LGBT community inspires self-esteem and builds strategic partnerships. Named for Steve Berman and Ralph Shaffer, who were both active in the Los Angeles Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Community Services Center in the 1970's.
George Moscone Award
The actions of a single individual charged with regulating media can either liberate or suppress large segments of the population. Helen Goss is a liberator, a media gatekeeper in charge of the City of West Hollywood's Public Information/Cable Television systems. During her 20 years of service to the City, Helen has become a lawyer and a teacher as well. Her diverse talents serve the greater representation of our community and she exhibits strength through example and equality through action.
The George Moscone Award recognizes a non-gay individual who furthers human rights and does not shy away from involvement or speaking out on LGBT issues. This award is named for the late mayor of San Francisco, George Moscone.
Worthie Meachum aka “MOMMA”
Harvey Milk Award
Divine. Hilarious. Empowering. Worthie Meachum has been entertaining audiences with his beloved character, “MOMMA”, providing a voice for those who need it most. Momma has helped with almost every AIDS service organization in Southern California, other youth service groups such as the Trevor Project, Gay and Lesbian Adolescent Social Services, Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network and many breast cancer charities; this support has helped efforts to raise over nine million dollars! An established performer and host, Momma has appeared in the opera ‘il Pagliacci’ for Franco Zeferelli at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and at the Kennedy Center and is a crowd-favorite hosting headliners on the LA PRIDE Festival Main Stage Pavilion. Momma evokes the figurative love, acceptance and encouragement to make a difference in people’s lives. Even if we haven’t heard it before, Momma uses the voice of the community to provide a new level of personal validation to all.
Thank you, Worthie Meachum, for sharing your gracious talent, stunning presence and touching humor that makes a difference in a countless number of lives.
The Harvey Milk Award recognizes an individual who gives of himself or herself well beyond the call of duty in countless ways. This award is dedicated to the memory of San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk.
(Marquita Thomas, Producer)
Pat Parker Arts Award
Serafemme Queer Women of Color Music Festival was created in 2005 by producer Marquita Thomas. Designed to increase visibility for lesbian and bisexual women of color, with past appearances by Grammy and Tony award winners, Serafemme is an eclectic mix of music, spoken word and comedy. The 2008 festival is slated for August 17 at the West Hollywood Park Baseball field.
(Odalys Nanin, Producing Artistic Director/President)
Pat Parker Arts Award
MACHA (Mujeres “Women” Advancing Culture, History & Art) Theatre Company is a non-profit organization formed in 2000 to build social, cultural and artistic bridges between the straight and gay communities of various ethnicities and provide the LGBTI community a sense of belonging. As an accomplished actor, writer, director and producer, Artistic Director, Odalys Nanin, has been busily creating a full roster of plays, musicals, short films and workshops to drive forward the contemporary Los Angeles theatre scene. She is one of the most influential Latinas in our community and a motivating force in what one person can say through art and culture to bring the minds and hearts of a people together.
Thank you, MACHA Theatre Company and Odalys Nanin, for your imaginative spirit and outstanding reputation for creating of critical acclaim to promote common values both inside and outside our inclusive community.
The Pat Parker Award recognizes an individual or organization that supports the LGBT spirit through the arts. This award is dedicated to the legacy of Pat Parker, a groundbreaking African American lesbian poet and activist.
(Pepe Torres, Al Ballesteros & Enrique Romero, Founders)
Torie Osborn / Dick Michaels
Pepe Torres, Al Ballesteros and Enrique Romero founded Adelante Magazine in June of 1998 to provide bilungual information to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Latin community. It is a testament to their talent, character and vision in bringing this special publication to life in the extremely competitive and highly saturated market of Los Angeles. Adelante remains committed to mainstreaming the voice of the Latin Gay community.
Brains, beauty, and a razor sharp comedic wit make nationally syndicated radio host Stephanie Miller the dazzling Grand Marshall in the LA PRIDE Parade. A veteran radio and television presence, Stephanie Miller brings a lifetime of political awareness to the airwaves. Her father, Republican Congressman William Miller, was Vice Presidential running mate with Senator Barry Goldwater in 1964. A dedicated advocate of Equality and Pride, Stephanie Miller uses her powerful talents to raise national awareness of the LGBT community and their importance in the social fabric of America.
AIDS Life Cycle
Community Grand Marshall
Heart pumping, leg cramping, life saving, AIDS Life Cycle arrives victorious as this year's Community Grand Marshall for the 2008 Christopher Street West LA Pride Parade. Thousands of bicycle riders and support staff traverse the 545 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise money for both cities' essential AIDS service centers. The result is millions of dollars raised, hearts filled with joy, and life long memories of what strength in numbers can achieve. Christopher Street West and the LGBT community of California honor AIDS Life Cycle as this year's Community Grand Marshall.