Friday, June 17 from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm at the Prado at Balboa Park, located at 1549 El Prado, San Diego. Individual tickets are $250.

The 2016 Equality Awards are sponsored by AT&T, Gilead, La Crema, PG&E, Prophet, Sempra Energy, Southwest Airlines, and State Farm Insurance. For more information about the Equality Awards visit, www.eqcaawards.com. For tickets or sponsorship information, contact Scott Gizicki at scott@eqca.org or at 323-848-9801.

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Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization dedicated to creating a fair and just society. Our mission is to achieve and maintain full and lasting equality, acceptance and social justice for all people in our diverse LGBT communities, inside and outside of California. Our mission includes advancing the health and well-being of LGBT Californians through direct healthcare service advocacy and education. Through electoral, advocacy, education and mobilization programs, we strive to create a broad and diverse alliance of LGBT people, educators, government officials, communities of color and faith, labor, business, and social justice communities to achieve our goals. www.eqca.org

" /> Equality California to Honor LGBT Families at San Diego Equality Awards - Equality California
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Equality California to Honor LGBT Families at San Diego Equality Awards
May 11, 2016 at 1:30 pm

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 11, 2016

CONTACT: Jason Howe, Equality California
PHONE: (323) 848-9801/MOBILE: (415) 595-9245/EMAIL: jason@eqca.org

San Diego – Equality California will celebrate LGBT families at its annual San Diego Equality Awards on Friday, June 17, 2015. Receiving Equality Awards for their leadership, courage and service to the LGBT community will be transgender teen Zoey Luna, her mother Ofelia Barba and her sister Letty Barba; Naval Base Coronado’s 2015 Military Spouse of the Year Brian Alvarado and his husband, BM1(SW) Matthew Alvarado; and gay fathers and civic leaders Robert Gleason and his husband Marc Matys.

“Opponents of LGBT equality are not able to successfully portray our community as a threat to the nation’s family values in part because of the leadership and courage of the LGBT families that Equality California is honoring this year,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California.  “Merely by living their lives openly and bravely, each has helped create a better California for LGBT youth, for LGBT parents and their children, for same-sex spouses and for everyone else who believes in fairness and equality.”

Zoey Luna, her mother, Ofelia Barba, and her sister, Letty Barba, will receive this year’s State Farm Good Neighbor Award for their courageous advocacy on behalf of transgender children in California schools and for all transgender families. Zoey was born male but always identified as a girl.  By age 10, she faced harassment at school from both students and teachers and was denied access to girls’ restrooms and locker rooms.  Her testimony, together with that of her mother, Ofelia, was instrumental in the passage of the Equality California-sponsored School Success and Opportunity Act in 2013, which allows transgender students to use school facilities and participate in programs corresponding with their gender identity.  Zoey, Ofelia and Letty have traveled statewide advocating for transgender equality and educating the public on the challenges facing transgender people every day, and are serving as spokespeople for the groundbreaking Transform California public education campaign.

Brian and BM1(SW) Matthew Alvarado will receive this year’s Equality Vanguard Award for shattering stereotypes and blazing trails as one of the country’s most prominent LGBT military couples.  Brian is the first same-sex spouse ever to win a “Military Spouse of the Year Award” from Naval Base Coronado. While the couple was wary at first about being open on base, Brian quickly became involved in the base’s Family Readiness Group, transforming it from what he says was largely a social club into an organization that provides real support for military families.  He has helped Navy personnel buy homes through the VA loan program and has helped veterans find employment.

The Matys-Gleason family is receiving an Equality Leadership Award for Robert Gleason and Marc Matys’ visibility as gay fathers of two dynamic young children, their commitment to letting their sons live authentic lives, and their extensive involvement in San Diego’s business and philanthropic communities. Gleason was instrumental in the formation of the San Diego LGBT Community Leadership Council, representing more than 40 LGBT and allied organizations, and led the group for eight years. It was formed to support and enhance San Diego’s LGBT community through collaboration and coordination. In addition, Gleason currently serves as a Director of the Los Angeles Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, chair of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, and a Trustee of the Francis Parker School. He previously served as chair of the San Diego LGBT Community Center and the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, vice-chair of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and the Old Globe, and on the boards of various other arts and community organizations. Matys, in addition to his primary role as a homemaker, has been a singing member of the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus for nearly 20 years.

Each year, Equality California recognizes individuals and organizations who have made an impact on the movement to secure full and lasting equality for LGBT people at its annual Equality Awards — a series of formal events held in San Francisco, San Diego, Palm Springs, Los Angeles and Sacramento.

This year’s San Diego Equality Awards will take place on Friday, June 17 from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm at the Prado at Balboa Park, located at 1549 El Prado, San Diego. Individual tickets are $250.

The 2016 Equality Awards are sponsored by AT&T, Gilead, La Crema, PG&E, Prophet, Sempra Energy, Southwest Airlines, and State Farm Insurance. For more information about the Equality Awards visit, www.eqcaawards.com. For tickets or sponsorship information, contact Scott Gizicki at scott@eqca.org or at 323-848-9801.

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Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization dedicated to creating a fair and just society. Our mission is to achieve and maintain full and lasting equality, acceptance, and social justice for all people in our diverse LGBT communities, inside and outside of California. Our mission includes advancing the health and well-being of LGBT Californians through direct healthcare service advocacy and education. Through electoral, advocacy, education and mobilization programs, we strive to create a broad and diverse alliance of LGBT people, educators, government officials, communities of color and faith, labor, business, and social justice communities to achieve our goals. www.eqca.org


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