Tuesday, February 05, 2008

EQCA to honor transgender and marriage equality leaders

San Francisco – San Francisco’s queer community will be dressed up to the nines Saturday, February 9 for the
Equality Awards and to celebrate Equality California’s 10th anniversary.

Theresa Sparks, 58, the highest elected and appointed transgender official in the United States as the president of the San Francisco Police Commission and CEO of Good Vibrations, will be honored with the Equality Leadership Award.

“I’m looking forward to accepting the award literally on behalf of myself, but on behalf of all of the transgender people that have been working on all these issues for many years now,” said Sparks, who said that the transgender community had made progress in San Francisco, but that “we really need to turn our attention national.”

“An award from Equality California is truly an award from your contemporaries who live and work in California,” added Sparks. “That’s a bigger honor than being honored by a national organization.”

Sparks returned a
Human Rights Campaign Award she received from the organization in 2004 directly to HRC president Joe Solmonese on January 5 when he was in San Francisco for one of the town hall meetings with the transgender community, reported the Bay Area Reporter. Sparks told the B.A.R. “she could no longer stand to even look at the etched glass award when it was on her credenza.”

The empty space on Sparks’ credenza will soon be filled.

“It was time to honor someone who has been at the forefront of the transgender equality movement and there is no one better than Theresa,” said EQCA executive director Geoff Kors. “It was our honor to honor Theresa.”

Evan Wolfson, 51, founder and executive director of Freedom to Marry and named Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2004, will be honored with the sixth annual Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon Marriage Equality Award.

“I feel truly honored to receive an award named for two pioneers whom I respect and admire so much,” wrote Wolfson in a February 5 e-mail. “Celebrating their marriage in 2004 and our commitment to winning the freedom to marry for all—hopefully in 2008, if we all do our part...”

Kors pointed out that EQCA, an LGBT civil rights organization, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Kors said Sparks and Wolfson “really stood out as leaders of the decade.”

Individual tickets starting at $350 per person is still available. To RSVP for the event at San Francisco’s City Hall click
here. The black tie event begins at 6 p.m. with a silent auction. A gourmet dinner will be served at 7 p.m. followed by a special performance by m-pact, touted as “one of the best pop-jazz vocal groups in the world,” according to the Web site, and Broadway Star and TV actress Rachel York and an after party with DJ Luke Johnstone.

The Equality Awards is sponsored by AT&T, Gary D. Soto, Clear Channel Outdoor, Olivia, Stoli, Wells Fargo, Comcast, Hollenbeck Associates, Energy 92.7 FM, and others.

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