NCLR Honors Vicki Randle, Will Phillips, Wolfe Video, Curve Magazine at 33rd Anniversary Gala

May 2, 2010

A crowd of over 1,200 members and allies of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community celebrated the 33rd anniversary of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) on Saturday night. In addition to celebrating the achievements of the past year, NCLR honored Vicki Randle and Will Phillips for their commitment to advancing the rights of the LGBT community, as well as Wolfe Video and Curve Magazine for their tremendous contributions to the community.

  • Voice and Visibility Award: Vicki Randle, was the first (and only) female member of the Tonight Show Band, starting with host Jay Leno in 1992.
  • Fierce Ally Award: Will Phillips, the ten-year-old fifth grader from Arkansas who gained international attention for his refusal to say the United States Pledge of Allegiance at West Fork Elementary School because of its false promise of “liberty and justice for all.”
  • Outstanding Community Partner Award: Wolfe Video and Curve Magazine

Curve Magazine and Wolfe Video were honored during NCLR’s anniversary reception with NCLR’s Outstanding Community Partner Award, which recognizes organizations and companies for their unwavering support of the LGBT community and their long-standing relationship with NCLR. Curve Magazine, from its humble beginnings as a ’90s zine, has grown into the nation’s best-selling lesbian magazine, read by more women than any other national gay or lesbian publication. Wolfe video, now in its 25th year, is the oldest and largest exclusive distributor of gay and lesbian films in the world.

In addition to the awards recipients, special guests included Constance McMillen and Ceara Sturgis. McMillen was unable to attend her prom after her school canceled it rather than let her attend in a tuxedo with her girlfriend. Sturgis was told she could not wear a tuxedo in her senior picture and was omitted from her school’s yearbook.

“In addition to honoring the remarkable achievements of Vicki Randle and Will Phillips, the night was made even more special by having Constance, Ceara, and their attorneys from the ACLU. The night was about celebrating the courage of our community, our history, and our future,” said Kate Kendell, Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

One of the highlights of the evening was the celebration of Jane Lynch and Lara Embry’s engagement. Lynch and Embry, who had met at the previous year’s gala, were surprised with a custom cake by Elizabeth Falkner of Citizen Cake.

For more information on NCLR’s 33rd Anniversary Gala, visit http://www.nclrights.org/2010ann.

NOTE TO EDITORS
High resolution images and b-roll footage are available by contacting Calla Rongerude at 415.365.1324, crongerude@nclrights.org or Cecille Isidro at 415.365.1305, cisidro@nclrights.org.


Mississippi Lesbian Teen Gets Second Chance at Soiree

April 9, 2010

by Sheila Byrd | Associated Press

A lesbian high school student is getting a second chance to don a tuxedo and dance after she sued her Mississippi school over a ban on same-sex prom dates.

Constance McMillen plans to attend an anniversary soiree held by the the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco on May 1.

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read Kate’s Blog, We’ll Show You the Real Prom


We’ll Show You the Real Prom

April 7, 2010

By now you’ve probably heard of Constance McMillen. Constance is an 18-year-old from Mississippi who, when she tried to buy tickets for herself and her girlfriend to attend the prom, was promptly told not only that she was forbidden from attending with her girlfriend, but she could not wear a tuxedo. When Constance went to the ACLU—who took her case immediately and sent the school a letter demanding that Constance be allowed to attend the prom with her girlfriend—the school cancelled the prom, rather than allow a lesbian couple to attend.

It’s as absurd and outrageous a homophobic story as we’ve heard in a while. But that was not the end of this saga. When an “alternative” prom organized by her schoolmates’ parents was held this past weekend, Constance and her girlfriend showed up, only to discover that they and five other students—some of whom are differently-abled—were the only ones in attendance. And that the “real” prom was actually being held elsewhere, and the event they were attending was simply a ruse to keep all the so-called “outcasts” away from the “real” prom.

Now that is just beyond the pale. The parents who set Constance up to attend a “fake” prom should be deeply ashamed of themselves. With role models like that, it’s no wonder her classmates have been so cruel. As we all know, it’s Constance who will have the last laugh, however. The ACLU is working hard on their ongoing lawsuit with the school district to ensure justice for Constance. The fight is not over, and I am so glad she is in such capable hands.

When I was Constance’s age, I would never have had the courage she has to stand up for who I was and to demand basic respect and equality. Constance has sparked a remarkable and sustained outpouring of support. Her story and her truth have inspired everyone committed to justice.

When all of us at NCLR first heard about her story, we wanted to do anything we could for her. She didn’t need legal representation—she’s got that taken care of—what she needed was a prom! So I am so pleased to announce that Constance McMillen and her friend Ceara Sturgis will be at NCLR’s 33rd Anniversary Celebration, often referred to as “the lesbian prom.”

“With everything Constance has been through at her school over the past few weeks, we’re grateful for any chance to remind her that while her school violated her rights, she’s appreciated and respected all over the country for her fight to be treated equally. It’s wonderful that our friends at NCLR are giving Constance a fun, special night,” Christine Sun, Senior Attorney, ACLU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & AIDS Project.

If ever there were a prom for her to attend, our event is it—it is attended by nearly 2,000 people of every stripe and walk of life: young and old; lesbian, gay, bi, trans, and straight; differently-abled; and so much more. We’re so glad she can make it, and we know it will be a thrill for everyone to have her there. She will be rightly surrounded by the love and support she deserves. Make no mistake: we plan to give her a weekend she’ll never forget. It will make all these other proms and fake-proms fade into distant memory.

Sincerely,



The National Center for Lesbian Rights Celebrates 33 Years of LGBT Legal Advocacy

February 2, 2010

Annual gala to be held on Saturday, May 1 at Metreon Cityview in San Francisco

(San Francisco, CA, February 2, 2010) — Vicki Randle, lead singer and percussionist of the acclaimed Tonight Show Band, will be honored at the 33rd Anniversary Celebration for the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) on Saturday, May 1, 2010, at Metreon Cityview. NCLR is the nation’s premier national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. NCLR will also honor Will Phillips, the ten-year-old fifth grader from Arkansas who gained international attention for his refusal to say the United States Pledge of Allegiance at West Fork Elementary School because of its false promise of “liberty and justice for all.”

“While this past year has been a rollercoaster of victories and setbacks, we are more committed than ever to our core mission of advancing the civil and human rights of LGBT people and their families,” said NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell. “We are especially thrilled to have young Will Phillips, whose conviction to hold true to his values and principles has inspired all of us and given us an overdue renewed sense of faith during these difficult times. The example he has shown—incredible patience and perseverance in the face of threats and ridicule—provides all of us who are dedicated to making a difference with an extraordinary model to follow.”

In addition to celebrating the achievements of the past year, NCLR will honor Randle and Phillips for their commitment to advancing the rights of the LGBT community.

Randle, a vocalist, percussionist, multi-instrumentalist, and songwriter, will receive the Voice and Visibility Award, which recognizes an individual who has helped to give voice and visibility to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Randle has worked openly as a lesbian in the music and television industry for more than 20 years. For the past 14 years, she has been the lead singer and percussionist of the acclaimed Tonight Show Band led by Kevin Eubanks, playing the diverse and eclectic mix of styles that makes the band so unique. Her musical career began as a singer and acoustic guitarist, and she divided her early career between political causes such as anti-war, gay and women’s rights rallies of the 70’s and 80’s and showcase clubs around Southern California, notably the Ice House and the Bla Bla Cafe. Celebrated singer-songwriter and pioneer of women’s music Cris Williamson will present the Voice and Visibility Award.

Arkansas fifth-grader Will Phillips captivated the nation when he innocently stated his support for LGBT equality. During an interview with CNN, he explained, “I’ve grown up with a lot of people and I’m good friends with a lot of people who are gay and I think they should have the rights all people should, and I’m not going to swear that they do.” To recognize his courage and support, NCLR will honor Phillips with the Fierce Ally Award, presented by Judy Shepard, activist and founder of the Matthew Shepard Foundation.

The 33rd Anniversary Celebration is NCLR’s annual signature event that draws a sell-out crowd of 1,700 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their supporters. Festivities begin at 8 p.m., with the ever-witty Kate Clinton returning by command performance as emcee.

Presenting Sponsor of the Anniversary Celebration is Wells Fargo. Our Gold Sponsors are AAA and American Airlines: Rainbow.

For more information on NCLR’s 33rd Anniversary Celebration, visit http://www.nclrights.org/2010ann.


Outrage and Determination Mark NCLR Gala

June 4, 2009

by Heather Cassell | The Bay Area Reporter

The last week of May was a wild seven-day ride for the LGBT community and its allies. Many felt a mixture of frustration and determination at seeing the California Supreme Court uphold Proposition 8 and the 18,000 same-sex marriages that occurred last year, followed by the announcement of a federal challenge to Prop 8 by the legal odd couple Theodore Olson and David Boies.

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NCLR Anniversary Celebration: Saturday, May 30, 2009

May 29, 2009

If there was ever a time when we all needed a party, it’s now. We’ve been through a lot this year and for the past 32 years and we need to come together. NCLR couldn’t have made it this far without you, and we hope to salute you and your support.

NCLR is celebrating 32 years of fighting for LGBT civil and human rights with a fun, energetic community party for our entire family of supporters and friends. The Kates (Kendell and Clinton) will be there, as well as some special guests, and there will be plenty of noshing, drinks, and dancing, along with 1,499 of your closest friends.

Anniversary Party — 8:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. (midnight)
at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Keynote Speaker: Kate Kendell, Esq., NCLR Executive Director

Emcee: Kate Clinton

Got questions? Answers are here.

You may purchase tickets to the Anniversary Party at the door for $90 each.


The National Center for Lesbian Rights Celebrates 32 Years of LGBT Legal Advocacy

May 21, 2009

Annual gala to be held on Saturday, May 30 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco


05.21.09
—Creator of the hit TV show The L Word, Ilene Chaiken, will be honored at the 32nd Anniversary Celebration for the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) on Saturday, May 30, 2009, at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. NCLR is the nation’s premier national legal organization committed to advancing the legal and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. Always one of the hottest tickets in town, NCLR’s Anniversary Celebration is generating added buzz this year because of our role as lead counsel in the legal challenge to Proposition 8.

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