D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and transgender rights advocate Gavin Grimm were greeted with tumultuous applause at the Washington Blade’s annual Best of Gay D.C. Awards Party at Town Danceboutique nightclub Thursday night when the two appeared on stage to receive awards.
Bowser, a strong advocate for LGBT rights, was selected by Blade readers for the award of Best D.C. Public Official.
Grimm, 18, who with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit in 2015 against his school district in Gloucester County, Va., for the right to use his school’s boys’ restroom and locker room, has emerged as a nationally recognized champion for trans rights. Blade staff selected him for this year’s Local Hero Award.
In the 2017 Best of Gay D.C. Awards contest about 3,500 nominations were made and 20,000 online votes were cast in 100 categories ranging from Most Committed Activist and Best Local Pro Sports Team to Best Real Estate Agent and Best Straight Ally.
“I’m very proud to have been voted Best Public Official by the Washington Blade readers,” Bowser said after accepting the award. “I secretly last year was hoping that I would make it one day, and we did this year and I’m very proud,” she said.
“One of the things I’m proudest of is we’ve been able to recruit and appoint so many LGBTQ officials in my cabinet. And what it reflects is that the LGBTQ community knows that the D.C. government is welcoming and that they will be recognized and rewarded for their talents,” said Bowser, who recently announced she was running for election to a second term next year.
As Bowser stepped down from the stage the crowd began to chant, “Four more years!”
Grimm said his selection for the Local Hero Award reflected the efforts by him and trans youth throughout the country to stand up for their rights.
“I was incredibly honored,” he said. “I didn’t expect it and it really is an incredibly deep honor and I was really humbled to be in the presence of so many fantastic people.”
Also drawing prolonged applause at the event was the announcement that the late Jim Vance, D.C.’s longtime NBC4 News anchor, was posthumously selected by Blade readers for this year’s Best Local TV Personality Award.
Vance, 75, died in January following a prolonged battle with cancer. He worked at NBC4 for more than 40 years, making him the city’s longest serving TV news anchor.
NBC4 meteorologist Chuck Bell appeared at the Best of Gay D.C. Party to accept the award for Vance. Bell, who’s gay, won the Best Local TV Personality Award in 2015 and was selected as runner-up for the award this year.
A full report on all of the 2017 Best of Gay D.C. Award winners can be seen here: