September 11, 2013 at 4:40 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Activists to receive Stein Club awards
Toby Quaranta, Young Democrats, gay news, Washington Blade, Democratic Party

Nikisha Carpenter, Andy Bowen and Toby Quaranta were named as recipients of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club’s Annual Leadership Awards for 2013. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

LGBT Youth Pride Alliance leader Nikisha Carpenter, D.C. Trans Coalition organizer Andy Bowen, and former D.C. Young Democrats President Toby Quaranta were named Tuesday as recipients of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club’s Annual Leadership Awards for 2013.

The Stein Club, the city’s largest LGBT political organization, issues its leadership awards each year during its anniversary celebration and fundraising reception. This year’s event, which marks the 37th anniversary of the club’s founding in 1976, is scheduled to take place 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar on Capitol Hill.

“These awardees represent some of the brightest leaders and advocates we have in our movement and we are proud of the work they’ve done to advance our equality within the Democratic Party and across the D.C. community,” said Stein Club President Martin Garcia in a statement.

“Our community is ripe with outstanding leaders and deciding who among them to recognize was challenging,” Garcia said.

Carpenter, president of Youth Pride Alliance for the past four years, is credited with expanding the organization’s capacity to fulfill its mission of representing the city’s LGBT young people. She will receive the club’s Heil-Balin Community Service Award, named in honor of the late Stein organizers Jerry Heil and Ron Balin, who were partners in life.

Bowen is credited with coordinating the D.C. Trans Coalition’s efforts on several fronts, including shepherding through the D.C. Council legislation reforming the city’s policies for issuing new birth certificates for transgender people and providing safe shelters for LGBT homeless people. She will receive the club’s Wanda Alston Award, named after the late LGBT and women’s rights advocate Wanda Alston.

Quaranta, a former official with the Human Rights Campaign, is credited with advancing LGBT rights work within the D.C. Young Democrats and drawing more participants to the group’s projects, including its involvement in the Obama re-election campaign, during his tenure as president. He will receive the Stein Club’s Desi Deschaine Young Democrat of the Year Award, named for the late Stein Club member and youth advocate Desi Deschaine.

In addition to the awards for the three individuals, the club will present its Richard Rausch Equality Award to the D.C.-based organization TransLAW, which serves as a legal clinic providing assistance to the transgender community, including legal help in the process of changing one’s name and gender. The award is named after the late Stein Club organizer and Democratic Party activist Richard Rausch.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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