(San Francisco, CA, May 17, 2014)—More than 1,500 people from across the country attended the National Center for Lesbian Rights’ 2014 Anniversary Celebration today in San Francisco to celebrate victories in the movement for LGBTQ equality and to honor those who have become role models through their unfailing commitment to justice.
“The Anniversary Celebration leaves everyone inspired and recommits each of us to the work we have ahead to bring justice and dignity to every member of our community,” said NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell. “Our honorees have worked tirelessly on behalf of the LGBTQ community, becoming role models for each of us, and we would never be enjoying the breathtaking advancements we are now seeing without their courage and commitment to living authentic lives.”
Voice and Visibility Award: Meredith Baxter
Actor Meredith Baxter received the Visibility Award, which honors an individual who has helped to give voice and visibility to the LGBTQ community. Baxter gained fame on hit television shows like “Family Ties,” “The Faculty,” and “Cold Case,” and is a relentless and tireless advocate for LGBTQ equality.
Courage Award: Survivors of So-Called “Reparative Therapy”
Ryan Kendall and Sam Brinton received the Courage Award, which honors individuals who have shown courage and perseverance in the face of great injustice, and whose bravery has become a model for all LGBTQ people. Kendall and Brinton are survivors of anti-LGBTQ conversion therapy and share their personal stories to highlight the terrible harms caused by these practices. They have testified to help California and New Jersey pass laws stopping mental health professionals from trying to change young people’s sexual orientation or gender expression. Many states have since introduced similar legislation, and both Kendall and Brinton continue to advocate for these groundbreaking protections other young people.
Said Baxter: “I am honored and proud to be recognized by NCLR, which has worked tirelessly since its start to bring LGBTQ people and their families hope, dignity, respect, and, above all else, justice.”
Added Kendall: “Receiving the Courage Award from NCLR is yet another powerful reminder that I have overcome my horrific experience with conversion therapy and gone on to help ensure that no other child will have to endure such a harmful experience. There is no finer social justice organization in United States than NCLR, and this is evidenced by the fact that NCLR is the first civil rights organization to take conversion therapy seriously and bring ending this vile practice to the forefront of the LGBTQ equality movement.”
Said Brinton: “The amazing team members at NCLR have stood beside me and countless other young people as they work in states across the country to bring an end to conversion therapy. They have supported me, standing with me as I cry and jumping up and down with me when I celebrate. That’s the family I always dreamed I would find. I’m overwhelmed to be honored with this award by NCLR and to work closely with the team in its campaign to stop the torture of LGBTQ youth.”
Founded in 1977, NCLR is devoted to advancing LGBTQ equality through litigation, legislation, policy, and public education. Since its start, NCLR—which helps more than 5,000 people each year—has embraced every aspect of the diverse LGBTQ community through its work, recognizing that LGBTQ people and their families come from many different backgrounds and face a wide range of issues.
NCLR has led the effort to protect LGBTQ youth from anti-LGBTQ Conversion therapy. In 2012, NCLR helped make history in California with the passage of the first law in the nation protecting young people from the dangerous practices that include aversion therapy and shame to try to change their sexual orientation or gender expression. The following year, NCLR worked closely with New Jersey leaders to pass a similar law. NCLR is now representing advocates in California and New Jersey to defend the laws against legal challenges by anti-LGBTQ organizations.
The Presenting Sponsor of the Anniversary Celebration is Wells Fargo. The Premier Party Sponsor is Olivia.
The 2015 Anniversary Celebration will be held on May 2, 2015.