Attendees at the 2016 Capital Pride Heroes Gala — Photo by Ward Morrison
The Capital Pride Alliance has announced the recipients of its annual Capital Pride Heroes, Engendered Spirits, Bill Miles and Larry Stansbury Awards, all of whom will be honored at the Capital Pride Honors reception on Friday, May 31.
Held annually, the Capital Pride Honors reception recognizes those people who have made significant contributions on behalf of D.C.’s LGBTQ community or who have played a significant role in helping plan and carry out the annual Capital Pride celebration in the nation’s capital.
This year, Capital Pride will also honor recipients of a new “Breaking Barriers” award, which will not necessarily be presented annually, but at times when an individual or organization had made significant strides that lower barriers or obstacles that have historically hampered LGBTQ people’s ability to succeed.
“We’re thrilled to recognize and honor the individuals and organizations contribute so much to our community through their leadership, work and advocacy in the DMV and across the country,” Ryan Bos, the executive director of Capital Pride Alliance, said in a statement.
“Our honorees are nominated each year by members of the community, based on the criteria of having advanced the causes of LGBTQ+ rights,” Bos added. “A committee of Capital Pride’s Board of Directors recommends nominees to the full Board, which then approves recipients, along with the Engendered Spirits, who were recommended by the Trans Pride Committee. Finally, we are excited to add a new award this year, Breaking Barriers. The Breaking Barriers: Community Impact Award will be presented to an organization that has made a significant impact on the LGBTQ+ community.”
This year’s Capital Heroes include: Martin Espinoza, the co-founder and president of Stonewall Sports; Ben De Guzman, the acting director of the Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs, who previously worked for the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs; Amanda Hackett, an immigration attorney who focuses on LGBTQ/sexual orientation or gender identity-minority-based asylum claims; Kimberley Bush, director of arts and cultural programs at The DC Center who oversees and co-curates various arts festivals, including OutWrite, DC Queer Theatre Festival, and Reel Affirmations, D.C.’s LGBTQ film festival and monthly film series; Rea Carey, the executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force; and Tony Nelson, a D.C.-based emcee, comedian and drag performer who has been involved with or emceed for Black America, the nation’s oldest black pageant, DC Black Pride, and several local drag shows.
This year’s Engendered Spirits awardees, given to advocates and activists who work on behalf of the transgender community, are: Xemiyulu Tapepechul, a Nawat trans femme playwright, published author, and spoken word artist, who was recently honored with the 2018 Latino GLBT History Project’s Heriage Legacy Award; and Larry Villegas-Perez, an activist and mental health practitioner who currently serves as deputy executive director at Latinos en Accion/Casa Ruby, where he manages programs that serve homeless youth, refugees, victims of crime, and people with HIV. He has also served as a community volunteer for a host of local causes or organizations, including Advocates for Youth, the DC AIDS Ride, One in Ten Film Festival, and SMYAL, just to name a few.
This year’s honorees receiving the Bill Miles Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service, acknowledging exemplary contributions to Capital Pride, are longtime Capital Pride volunteer Alan Thompson; and Donald Burch, who has volunteered and worked with multiple local LGBTQ, faith, and HIV/AIDS organizations, as well as with The Ask Rayceen Show and The DC Center’s Reel Affirmations and OutWrite festivals.
Team DC, the local umbrella organization for D.C.’s LGBTQ sports leagues, will be honored with the Larry Stansbury Award for Exemplary Contributions to Pride for its annual college scholarship program honoring LGBTQ high school student-athletes, and its annual Night OUT Sports Series, which organizes “Pride Nights” at local professional sporting events.
The Breaking Barriers: Community Impact Award, in its inaugural year, acknowledges an individual or organization who has helped eliminate barriers to the social, personal, or professional growth of the LGBTQ community. The award’s inaugural honoree is the National Center for Transgender Equality, which has spent 16 years advocating on behalf of transgender rights and leaning on policymakers to create changes that foster understanding and acceptance of the trans community.
The Capital Pride Honors reception is on Friday, May 31, from 7:30-9:30 p.m. at the Luce Foundation Center in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, located at 8th and G Streets NW. The reception will be followed by the Pride Celebration Kick-Off Party, which lasts until 1 a.m. For more information on the event, and for biographies of award winners, visit www.capitalpride.org.