D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and three members and one former member of the D.C. Council joined members and supporters of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance on April 26 to celebrate the group’s 41st anniversary.
“I am absolutely delighted to be here and I rarely miss a GLAA event because I have so much respect for the organization and the people and the cause that it sustains,” Gray told participants at the anniversary gathering, which was held at the Washington Plaza Hotel.
GLAA was founded in April 1971 by activists who worked on a first-of-its-kind election campaign for the late gay rights pioneer Frank Kameny, who at the time ran as the first known openly gay candidate for Congress. Kameny also was one of the group’s founders. Today GLAA holds the distinction of being the oldest continuously active gay and lesbian civil rights organization in the U.S.
D.C. Council members Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large), Michael Brown (I-At-Large) and former Council member Carol Schwartz presented the group with a resolution approved by the Council declaring April 26 as GLAA Day in the District of Columbia.
GLAA officials presented the group’s annual Distinguished Service Award to Jeffrey Richardson, director of the Mayor’s Office of GLBT Affairs; Ruby Corado and Jeri Hughes, whom GLAA described as being among the city’s leading champions for transgender rights; and Will O’Bryan, managing editor of Metro Weekly magazine and former arts editor of the Washington Blade.
Also receiving the group’s Distinguished Service Award were the LGBT-oriented group Burgundy Crescent Volunteers, which has long played a key role in assisting with local LGBT events; and the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League, which advocates for and provides services to LGBT youth.
GLAA President Miguel Tuason, the group’s vice president for political affairs, Rick Rosendall, and GLAA co-founder Paul Kuntzler each paid tribute to Kameny’s role in the city’s and the nation’s LGBT rights movement.