June 10, 2010 | by David J. Hoffman
Heroic distinction ‘very humbling’

The Capital Pride heroes are honored in advance of this year's festival. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

This year’s Capital Pride Heroes include four individuals and two organizations. Meet the heroes below.

MARTA ALVARADO

Latina and LGBT rights advocate Marta Alvarado leads the annual “Creating Change” conference, an important contribution to advancing the cause of LGBT rights.

Alvarado, whose National Gay and Lesbian Task Force job title of program coordinator for movement building barely hints at the array of skills she brings to getting all those cantankerous ducks in a row for five days of intensive movement-building, which she calls “the largest gathering of LGBT people and their allies.” It’s an exercise requiring equal parts precision and empathy.

Next year’s “Creating Change” conference — February 2-6 in Minneapolis — is expected to draw 2,000-3,000 people, she says. The year after that she will bring the conference to Baltimore.

For Alvarado, the Capital Pride Hero award is “a big honor … I had to take a step back, and receiving it takes me back to age 15 to my very first Pride event, and now it’s 15 years later, and I know the significance of Pride, and it’s very humbling.”

DESTINY B. CHILDS

How many ways are there to be dazzled by Destiny B. Childs?

Her list of titles as female impersonator and lady-illusionist are legendary, including her newest title of Miss Capital Pride 2010, the award she just won in a June 4 competition with seven other contestants at Town Danceboutique to kick off Capital Pride’s schedule. As such, she will preside over the parade on Saturday evening and the festival on Sunday.

Also known as Richard Legg, a 32-year-old government contracting specialist during the day, Destiny will be married on Aug. 28 in D.C. to her beloved, Rudy Benavides. With her theme song by Diana DeGarmo of “I Believe” and her special motto of “defy gravity,” Destiny has been doing drag for seven years in D.C.

Born in Albuquerque, Legg entered the Army and then completed his undergraduate education with a bachelor’s in health care management from Southern Illinois University in 2005. In D.C., he has been the featured entertainer at Freddie’s Beach Bar for six years and also a member of the Ladies of Illusion at Ziegfeld’s.

REV. ELDER DARLENE GARNER

Garner, the mother of four, grandmother of seven and great-grandmother of three, is a warrior of the spirit. She was born in Columbus, Ohio but after her divorce in 1973 she moved to D.C. to take a job as an administrative assistant at the World Bank.

Raised in the National Baptist Church, in 1976 she joined the still relatively new Metropolitan Community Church, where she is now an ordained minister and member of the MCC Board of Elders. She leads the MCC Conference for African-American Leaders and has also worked as executive director of the Philadelphia Mayor’s Commission on Sexual Minorities and previously as chaplain for an AIDS hospice and as board president for the Northern Virginia AIDS Ministry. She also helped to found the National Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays.

On March 9, she and her partner of many years, Rev. Candy Holmes, were married along with two other couples in the first ceremony under D.C.’s new same-sex marriage law.

DC CLERGY UNITED FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY

This diverse group of more than 200 “affirming and welcoming” clergy, representing religious institutions in every ward of the District, pushed back with robust fortitude and biblical testimony against the dogmatic naysayers from the homophobic corners of religious life.

“We are the District of Columbia clergy and religious leaders of many faiths, races, ethnicities, and sexual orientations,” they declared in a statement full of eloquent yet simple profundity: “We now join our voices again to speak a faithful word for freedom and equality.”

“We declare that our faith calls for us to affirm marriage equality for loving same-sex couples,” because “where love is present, God is also present,” and “it is holy and good.”

These clergy fought the “battle of Jericho” in D.C. and the walls came tumbling down.

DC FOR MARRIAGE

A program of the DC Center, this group of local residents became activists pushing politically every inch of the way to win votes on the D.C. Council in favor of this historic step. And the organization continues its important work today, for example in offering legal updates for D.C. residents on creating legal protections for “families of choice” brought together under the new marriage law. See more information on their ongoing work at www.dcformarriage.org.

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