April 29, 2015 at 4:00 pm EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
GLAA celebrates 44th anniversary
GLAA, gay news, Washington Blade

Mayor Bowser declared April 23 as the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance Day in D.C. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, City Council Chair Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large), and Council member Elissa Silverman (I-At-Large) were among the city officials who turned out on April 23 for the Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance’s 44th Anniversary celebration and awards ceremony.

GLAA, a non-partisan political group founded in 1971, is the oldest continuously active gay and lesbian civil rights organization in the United States.

Sheila Alexander-Reid and Terrance Laney, the director and deputy director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs, who also attended the event, presented GLAA with an official proclamation from Mayor Muriel Bowser declaring April 23 as the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance Day in the District of Columbia.

Mendelson, a longtime supporter of LGBT rights, presented a similar resolution on behalf of the City Council.

GLAA President Richard Rosendall and current and former GLAA officers presented the group’s 2015 Distinguished Service Awards to longtime City Council staffer Anne Phelps; black history specialist and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment advocate Chuck Hicks; and transgender advocate and Democratic Party activist Alexandra Beninda.

GLAA members have credited Phelps with playing an important behind-the-scenes role in helping to shepherd through the City Council at least six LGBT-related bills while serving on the staff of former Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6). She currently serves on the staff of Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), who succeeded Wells.

Hicks has been credited with playing an important role in helping to organize D.C. events surrounding the opening ceremonies of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and the 50th Anniversary celebration of the 1963 March on Washington.

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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