Each year, the Capital Pride Planning Committee selects a number of individuals to honor as Capital Pride Heroes. These honorees have gone above and beyond the call of duty in their efforts to bring full equality to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities. This year, the following nine individuals were chosen in recognition of their outstanding efforts.
Chris Dyer — Also known as the alter-ego of “Cookie Buffet, ” Mr. Dyer has been a leader for GLBT youth in the D.C. area. A founder of the Youth Pride Alliance, which produces the annual Youth Pride Day, he has taken a highly active and visible role in the production of every Youth Pride and has been active in the last eight Capital Pride planning committees. He is an active member of the Mayor’s LGBT Advisory Committee.
Blake Humphreys — As the Managing Director of Free State Justice, Maryland’s premier GLBT civil rights organization, Mr. Humphreys built a grassroots network that helped to pass the Anti-Discrimination Act of 2001. With the passage of that law, Maryland became the 12th state to include sexual orientation in its non-discrimination laws. Although Mr. Humprheys left Free State Justice in 2002, his legacy will be felt by gay and lesbian Marylanders for years to come.
Reverend Dr. Alvin O’Neal Jackson — If all Pastors followed the lead of Reverend Jackson, this would be a far better world. The Senior Pastor and President of the Foundation of National City Christian Church, Reverend Jackson affirms GLBT people as full members of the Body of Christ. He has performed covenant ceremonies for same sex couples, spoken at GLBT community events and has been a public supporter of the GLBT community.
Sarah Kellogg — Currently serving her fourth term as Vice President of the Board of Director of One in Ten, Washington, D.C.’s premier GLBT arts organization, Ms. Kellogg has left her mark on both the local GLBT community and on the cultural life of the city. Since 2000, she has been the Director of Reel Affirmations, D.C.’s International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, which is now the third largest GLBT film festival in the country.
Sgt. Brett Parson — Without question, Sgt. Parson is the GLBT community’s favorite police officer. The leader of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Gay & Lesbian Liaison Unit, Sgt. Parson seems to be everywhere at once. Since arriving at the GLLU in 2000, he has worked to keep the unit on the street and in the community. Under his leadership, the GLLU has expanded to include an “online precinct, ” several full time and reserve police officers, an auxiliary member and dozens of community volunteers.
Bruce Pennington — Although life is much easier for GLBT people in 2003, Mr. Pennington’s history of activism reminds us how different society was not all that long ago. As a founder and broadcaster of the Friends radio program on WGTB and WPFW from 1973 to 1982, Mr. Pennington was the voice of normality and an assurance to a generation of GLBT people that they were not alone. He was one of the first gay foster parents in Washington, and, in a landmark case, was declared a more fit parent than the natural parents of his foster son.
Mark Phemister — A dynamic young leader of the local transgender movement, Mr. Phemister is the co-founder and community organizer of the Washington Area Trans Advocacy Coalition. He has been a co-facilitator of the D.C Area Transmasculine Society, a support and social group for female-to-male (FTM) and female-bodied transpeople, and has provided transgender sensitivity and awareness training to numerous social service providers in the District.
Michael “Micci ” Sainte-Andres — Since coming to the DC area, Mr. Sainte-Andres has been in the midst of the issues, activities and concerns of the city’s African American gay community. An artist, actor and activist, he makes his voice heard on the politics and civil liberties of gay African Americans as a member of the D.C. Coalition and as an artist. Additionally, he has been a frequent lecturer and workshop coordinator on HIV/AIDS issues.
Barbara Warner — Any gay or lesbian person would be blessed to have Ms. Warner as their mother. As the President of Metro D.C. PFLAG from 1998 to 2002, she expanded the organization’s support, education and advocacy activities and created the Safe School Initiative. She is a frequent speaker across the nation on behalf of PFLAG and is the “loud and proud ” mother of a gay son.