I totally forgot to post the pictures and my speech here of me receiving the HRC Louisiana 2012 Equality Award.
Here is my speech:
It is a privilege beyond belief for me to receive the 2012 Equality Award. As all of you who are fighting for equality know, this isn’t work we do alone. I am fortunate to have been shoulder to shoulder with some amazing individuals, organizations and allies. I’m very pleased to see so many of you in this room tonight.
I’d like to take a moment to thank a few folks in particular.
None of my work could be possible without the support of my family and most especially my mom. I am very fortunate to have a mother who is still living and inspiring me every single day – a mom who raised me with the values of compassion, courage and persistence. I turn to her for advice, for strength, for laughter and for the excellent cornbread recipe she taught me. I’m grateful to have her as my champion and my cheerleader and very happy that she is with me here tonight. Hi, Mom!
I want to thank the LGBT Community Center Board for believing in me and in their willingness to do the work necessary to keep the doors open. Since 1992, the LGBT Community Center has been promoting the vitality and well being of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community in the Greater New Orleans area. With the continued support from folks like you, we will go for another twenty years.
I want to thank the Forum For Equality, for giving me a platform for my activism. Despite opposition from far too many of our elected officials and fellow Louisianans, the staff and Board members of the Forum continue to educate, advocate, and fight for equality. Sometimes, like during this legislative session, it may seem like the world is changing too slowly. But, then, we have the President of the United States making an affirming statement about marriage equality. Some might think that his saying something doesn’t matter, especially in an election year. But it does matter! It matters because people in Louisiana, who might never have heard anything nice said about gays and lesbians, just heard a powerful, educated, successful man say something really loving and respectful about them. It matters because it shows scared and questioning young people that they are not crazy for feeling the way they feel, that they are not worthless, and that they are not alone. Frankly, that is what my work with the Forum For Equality is all about–helping the people of this state along in their evolution on the issues and toward the creation of a society where all people are treated fairly and equally under the law.
Finally, I want to recognize HRC Louisiana and the New Orleans Steering Committee, especially the women. You all have been incredibly welcoming and supportive since the very first women’s event I attended. Many of you are my role models but, even more importantly, you are my friends. I am honored to be recognized by you.
Thank you all so very much.
The evening was quite lovely, even though I made my Mom (who was my plus one) cry with the speech I gave. It was really nice to see so many folks in their finery and to chat with other activists.
The low point was the performance by Joan Rivers–I knew she was rude and mean but her routine included pulling her eyelids back and making fun of Chinese women, asking the ‘cripples’ to leave, and an extremely poor taste joke about how she wished she had a male child after learning how much money Michael Jackson was paying the boys who accused him of molestation. If I hadn’t been being honored, I would have walked out!