FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | May 17, 2005
National Center for Lesbian Rights Fetes Actress Glenn Close and Other Celebrity and Community Stars at 28th Anniversary Gala
Glenn Close, Col. Margarethe Cammermeyer (Ret.) and National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Kate Kendell
(San Francisco, CA, May 17, 2005) — A festive, energized, sell-out crowd of 2,400 lesbians and their supporters packed San Francisco's Moscone Center on Saturday night to celebrate the National Center for Lesbian Rights' 28 years of legal advocacy at its annual gala. The culmination of the elegant evening was the awards ceremony honoring celebrities and courageous individuals who have dedicated their time, energy and talent to creating a world in which lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people can live freely, without fear of discrimination or prejudice:
- Spirit Award: Glenn Close (presented by Col. Margarethe "Grethe" Cammermeyer (Ret.)
- Community Empowerment Award: Guinevere Turner (presented by queer film expert Jenni Olson) < LI>
- Equality Champion Award: San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera (presented by Shannon Minter, NCLR Legal Director)
- Voice and Visibility Award: Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez (presented by San Francisco Deputy Police Chief Mindy Pengel)
- Justice Award: NCLR Asylum Clients Shinegerel, Vanessa, Luis, Mariella and Edit (presented by NCLR Board Member Betsy Allen and NCLR Asylum Project staff Noemi Calonje and Lena Ayoub)
NCLR paid special tribute to Glenn Close for her courageous decision to play Col. Margarethe Cammermeyer, who was discharged from the military for being a lesbian, in the 1995 award-winning film "Serving in Silence." Col. Cammermeyer praised Glenn Close as an extraordinary woman who brought visibility and recognition to gay and lesbian service members, 10,000 of whom have been discharged since 1993. She said, "Glenn Close, at a very risky time in America, decided to play an ostracized colonel who was challenging the military, which one did not do. She took on that challenge and became our voice."
Accepting the Spirit Award, Glenn Close said, "I take it humbly and with great honor. You are a group of extraordinary human beings who have tapped the world on the shoulder and said, in the words of one of my most favorite characters (from the 1987 film Fatal Attraction), 'I will not be ignored!'"
The enthusiastic crowd cheered as Kate Kendell, NCLR's Executive Director, took the stage. "It is clear to me that our work has never been more transformative, or more important," she said. "As we beat back the forces that would deny us liberty, we have a vision, and it is nothing less than full dignity, protection and security for our lives and our relationships." Kendell paid tribute to those who are working on the front lines for equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and challenged those in attendance to put everything on the line as Californians face the prospect of an anti-gay ballot measure in 2006.
Gold Presenting Sponsors of the Gala include AAA, The Dorian Fund, and Wells Fargo. Presenting Sponsors include Bluer & Bluer, LLP; Elizabeth J. Cabraser, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP; Lesbian Equity Foundation, Kathy Levinson; and Jan Zivic.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.