Most members of the LGBTQ community would agree that it isn’t easy being different, but it’s certainly gotten better over the last 50 years. That being said, the need to protect transgender rights has never been more urgent or important than it is now. That’s why this year we’ve added a new Gay Appreciation Award titled “Advocate for Transgender Rights” in order to raise awareness of those in our community who are working to protect and improve transgender rights and lives.
We’ve listed the 2019 nominees alphabetically and grouped as individuals or business/non-profit. Remember to cast your vote by July 9, 2019, here: https://www.ambushpublishing.com/gay-appreciation-awards/vote/
Blayke L’Moore (Jezza Belle) currently holds the title of Miss Gay Mississippi USofA 2019 and is a self-proclaimed “Trans queen, HIV activist, and supporter of sex workers.” Blayke’s nominator said that “even before starting her transition, Blayke tried to educate people on transgender rights and help cease some of the stigma and phobia towards transgender individuals.” In 2013, Blayke graduated from Southern Missouri State University and currently lives in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Ellen English identifies as a Ravenclaw and Liberal on Facebook and is a “proud mom of a smart, beautiful trans girl at U of Oregon.” She was a major sponsor of the 20th Annual Gay Easter Parade this year, in addition to supporting other wonderful organizations, such as NOAGE (New Orleans Advocates for LGBT Elders). Ellen is a proud supporter of trans youth!
Kyle Truxillo graduated from LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center in 2019 and while originally from Thibodaux, Louisiana, currently resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Kyle’s nominator said that “In the Baton Rouge community, Kyle always provides safe spaces for his brothers / sisters in the trans community. He regularly attends Splash Bar to support his LGBTQIA+ community. Kyle defies gender stereotypes with his androgynous fashion and self-expression that pushes boundaries.”
Tonya Smith (Latonia D. Black) moved to New Orleans, Louisiana four years ago. She is the first lady of trans experience who has been nominated for the 2019 Cinderella to CEO Award that will be held in New York City. She works at the non-profit organization Brotherhood Incorporated as a Community Healthcare worker, HIV Prevention Counselor, Trans Advocate, and Life Coach. Tonya also travels the country sharing her life stories with high hopes of encouraging other trans women to be authentically free. Additionally, she has been entertaining as a Female Illusionist for over 20 years and while she entertains all over the country, her home bars are the Bourbon Pub and Parade and the Golden Lantern.
Malaysia Walker (Malaysia R Black) is the recent recipient of the Minister Bobbie Jean Backer Memorial Award, which is awarded to Transgender Women of Color, through Transfaith, a non-profit organization that encourages and empowers the community to bask in their own authenticity. Her nominator says she is “very active in the community both as a community member and also as a well-known advocate for trans rights.”
Syria Synclaire (Syria Jackson) is the President of the Board of Directors for the LGBT Community Center of New Orleans. Her nominator highlighted that “she’s always hosting workshops or classes to make us aware of things and she gives us a lot of information.” She’s originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, studied mass communication at Georgia Tech University and now lives in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Gulf Coast Transgender Alliance is located in Pensacola, Florida and “was created to provide a safe and empathetic environment for members and supporters of the transgender community to seek support, make new friends, and explore healthy ways of coping with a variety of gender spectrum issues. The huge deficit in our area’s trans-educated: health care providers, endocrinologists, mental health counselors, and social service workers has left many transgender persons feeling isolated, confused, and even hopeless in their struggle to understand themselves and be accepted in their social networks.” Learn more about Gulf Coast Transgender Alliance on their website https://www.gulfcoasttransgenderalliance.com/ or their Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/GCTAlliance/.
Louisiana Trans Advocates “is the first statewide transgender advocacy and social support organization in Louisiana. At this point, there are two basic ways to get involved in LTA. LTA has social support meetings in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles, and Shreveport, as well as at LSU. For more information about one of the groups, send us a private message. We also do advocacy work across the state at the institutional and governmental levels to make policies and legislation trans inclusive.” Dylan Francis Waguespack of Baton Rouge, Louisiana currently serves as their President. Learn more about Louisiana Trans Advocates on their website https://www.latransadvocates.org/ or on their Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/latransadvocates.
P-Flag New Orleans “promotes the health and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons, their families and friends through: support, to cope with an adverse society; education, to enlighten an ill-informed public; and advocacy, to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights.PFLAG provides opportunity for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity, and acts to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.” Learn more about P-Flag New Orleans on their website https://www.pflagno.org/ or on their Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/pflagnola/.
Transgender Advisory Committee of CrescentCare: “In an effort to provide the best possible services to the transgender community, CrescentCare has formed a Transgender Advisory Committee. The Transgender Advisory Committee (TAC) is a collaboration of trans identified and allied staff who advise on programming and procedures for CrescentCare. The TAC works on a diverse set of topics such as the Gender Clinic, the National HIV Behavioral Survey Transgender Cycle, and facilitating community forums on Transgender Health. The TAC is a growing body of concerned staff committed to listening to voices of the transgender community in order to improve all services at CrescentCare.” Learn more about CrescentCare on their website https://crescentcarehealth.org/.
Remember to cast your vote by July 9, 2019, here: https://www.ambushpublishing.com/gay-appreciation-awards/vote/