In a city as dynamic as Washington, and with a vibrant LGBT community to match, there's no doubt that there are an endless number of local leaders worth heralding for their contributions. In an effort to identify a few more of these folks, Metro Weekly's Next Generation Awards and Capital Pride's Heroes awards are now accepting nominations.
The Next Generation Awards, marking their second year, celebrate local "activists, leaders and artists" younger than 30, while Capital Pride's Heroes are defined as area residents who "enhance and support the lives of the local GLBT community by making the world a better place in which to live."
The Next Generation Awards will recognize three to four young people, and Capital Pride is looking for four to six Heroes and two "Super Heroes." The latter category, launched in 2009, has so far called out Frank Kameny and Lilli Vincenz for their pioneering contributions to LGBT equality. While a past Hero is ineligible for the recognition twice, a past Hero may be considered for the Super Hero title.
"We'll probably finalize the list [of Heroes] in mid-April," says Dyana Mason, executive director of Capital Pride. "We'll announce the Heroes and then really honor the folks at the annual reception, scheduled for Wednesday, June 2."
The Next Generation Awards will be announced on the cover of the April 29 issue of Metro Weekly, with a reception to coincide that evening. Sean Bugg, co-publisher of the magazine, says the reception will also offer an opportunity to follow up on the 2009 awardees: Eboné Bell, Linh Hoang, José Ramirez and Brian Watson.
"I was an activist during my 20s and lucky to have a lot of support and encouragement from a lot of people my age and older," Bugg says of choosing the Next Generation theme. "I remember activists at the time who burned out or who didn't get as much support. A community has to do as much as it can to support the next generation of leaders. This is simply a way to make sure the younger generation of the LGBT community is recognized and supported for the good work they do."
While Bugg oversees the Next Generation Awards, judging is reserved to a panel of seven local luminaries, this year, including Michael Kahn of the Shakespeare Theatre Company, Dr. Dana Beyer of Equality Maryland and José Gutierrez of the Latino LGBT History Project. At Capital Pride, a subcommittee of the Educational and Cultural Affairs Committee will select the 2010 Heroes and Super Heroes.
A nomination form for the Heroes, including a list of past winners, is available at capitalpride.org. To nominate someone for a Next Generation Award, the deadline for which is March 22, visit metroweekly.com/nextgeneration.