The National Center for Lesbian Rights Celebrates 35th Anniversary

(San Francisco, CA, January 20, 2012)—The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) is proud to announce that it will honor seven heroes in the movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality at its 2012 Anniversary Celebration—which marks its 35th year—on May 5, 2012 at San Francisco’s City View at Metreon.

NCLR will honor out actress Jane Lynch, of “Glee” and “Julie & Julia,” for using her fame as a platform to further LGBT equality, and for being an outspoken advocate for creating safer, welcoming schools for LGBT children. Six students from Minnesota’s Anoka-Hennepin School District will also be honored for their courage in standing up against a district policy that prohibits staff from discussing LGBT issues, prevents staff from effectively addressing bullying, and has created a hostile environment for students who are or are perceived to be LGBT or gender non-conforming.

“This year is especially significant, as NCLR celebrates a major milestone—turning 35 years old, an opportunity for us to look back on our history-making cases, and champions who have stood up against injustice and changed the legal landscape for every member of our community,” said NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell. “We’re thrilled to celebrate how far we’ve come by honoring those who are standing up for what’s right, becoming role models for millions of people across the country.”

The Awards

  • Vanguard Award: Actress Jane LynchThe Vanguard Award honors an individual whose life and spirit exemplifies NCLR’s vision and values of equality and justice for all. This year’s award goes to famed actress Jane Lynch, of “Glee” and “Julie & Julia,” who has lived an authentic life as an out lesbian while simultaneously achieving great success and visibility in television and film. Her authenticity and integrity are blazing a path not just for the artists who follow in her footsteps, but for young people everywhere who look up to her. She lives her life with openness to the unexpected, and by doing so met her soul-mate and became a parent long past the time she thought she ever would.
  • Courage Award: Damian, Dylon, Ebonie, Kyle, Lane, Jane DoeThe Courage Award honors individuals who have shown the courage and perseverance to fight for justice and who have sacrificed to make broad social change for the LGBT community. This year’s award goes to six students from Minnesota’s Anoka-Hennepin School District who challenged a district policy that prohibits staff from discussing LGBT issues in the classroom and prevents them from effectively addressing pervasive bullying and harassment in the district. The students have taken a stand not just for themselves, but for every student across this country who has been bullied. Their courage and perseverance are a tribute to the students who have come before them, and show each of us a glimpse of the brighter and bolder future that awaits us.

Special Guest

NCLR’s special guest at the 2012 Anniversary Celebration will be out gay actor Wilson Cruz, known for roles in television’s “My So-Called Life” and the Broadway production of RENT. Cruz, an advocate for LGBT equality and LGBT youth, will present the Courage Award to the Anoka-Hennepin students.

“I am NCLR … ” Campaign

See your photo displayed during the 35th Anniversary Celebration by taking part in our “I am NCLR … ” photo campaign, designed to reflect and showcase NCLR clients and supporters.

Through April 2012, NCLR would like your photos—your portraits, snapshots, and special moments—with a homemade poster or sign in which you fill in the sentence, “I am NCLR, and I am … ,” telling us how you reflect our groundbreaking work.

NCLR has already received a number of great photos. Send yours in soon!

Learn more about the campaign.

NCLR History & Anniversary Celebration

Founded in 1977, NCLR is a national legal organization devoted to advancing LGBT justice and equality through litigation, public policy, and public education. Since its start, NCLR—which helps more than 5,000 people each year—has embraced every aspect of the diverse LGBT community through its work, recognizing that LGBT people and our families and communities come from many different backgrounds and face a wide range of issues.

NCLR’s Anniversary Celebration—NCLR’s annual signature event—attracts a sell-out crowd of 1,500 people from across the country to celebrate victories in the movement for full LGBT equality, and to honor those who have become role models for millions of people through their unfailing commitment to justice.

Tickets are now available for the event, which begins at 8 p.m., with the well-known political humorist Kate Clinton returning for a command performance as emcee.

The Presenting Sponsor of the Anniversary Celebration is Wells Fargo. The Gold Sponsor is American Airlines.

Learn more about the 2012 Anniversary Celebration and buy tickets.

Media Contact:

NCLR Communications Director Erik Olvera | Office: 415.392.6257 x324 | EOlvera@NCLRights.org

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