FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | January 30, 2007
(San Francisco, CA, January 30, 2007) — Legendary tennis icon and civil rights activist Martina Navratilova will be honored at the 30th Anniversary Gala for the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) on Saturday, May 12, 2007, at Fort Mason. NCLR is the nation's premier 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. Always one of the hottest tickets in town, NCLR's Gala is generating added buzz this year with the recent launch of a first-of-its-kind Think Tank on Homophobia in Sport, where national sports leaders gathered at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) headquarters.
Navratilova will receive NCLR's Voice and Visibility Award, which is intended to honor individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary commitment to strengthening and empowering the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.
Navratilova's legendary tennis career was crowned with one record-breaking success after another. Inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2000, she is arguably the greatest tennis player of all time, having won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, 41 Grand Slam doubles titles (31 women's doubles and 10 mixed doubles), and a record nine Wimbledon women's singles titles.
Off the court, Navratilova's influence is equally impressive and groundbreaking. In 1981, she took a bold step by announcing that she is a lesbian. Since then, she has been a visible human and civil rights activist. In 1995, she introduced the Rainbow Card, an affinity Credit Card program, which allows individuals to contribute to the LGBT community through using a credit card. To date, the Rainbow Card Program has contributed more than 2 million dollars to non-profit organizations devoted to serving and empowering the LGBT community.
"We could think of no one better to honor at our milestone Gala," said Kate Kendell, NCLR's Executive Director. "Martina was one of the first professional sports figures to come out. Her honesty cost her millions of dollars in endorsements, but her tremendous courage and commitment to live a full and open life transformed the world of sports. Martina is both a pioneer for human rights and a role model for future generations."
The 30th Anniversary Gala, held at San Francisco's Fort Mason Festival Pavilion, is NCLR's major annual fund-raising event that draws a sell-out crowd of 3,500 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their supporters. Festivities begin at 7 p.m., with the ever-witty Kate Clinton returning by command performance as Emcee.
Gold Presenting Sponsors of the Gala include: AAA Travel, American Airlines, Kimpton Hotels, and Wells Fargo. Silver Sponsors include Wolfe Video.
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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.