NCLR Celebrates 35 Years Defending LGBT Rights: Honors Lynch, Anoka-Hennepin Students

The National Center for Lesbian Rights, the San Francisco-based legal advocacy group, celebrated its 35th anniversary with an event Saturday that also honored Jane Lynch and plaintiffs in one of its high-profile cases.

With 1,500 people in attendance at the City View at Metreon, NCLR not only honored its own work but the achievements of others. Actress Jane Lynch was given the Vanguard Award for using her celebrity to further LGBT causes.

"I am honored and proud to be recognized by NCLR, which has given LGBT people and their families hope through its tireless work to gain dignity, respect, and, above all else, equality for all," Lynch said. "I love the selflessness and generosity of the organization, which stepped up and successfully represented my wife in her custody battle. I feel like I should be honoring them."

Also part of the festivities were Brittany Geldert, Damian McGee-Backes, Dylon Frei, Ebonie Richardson, Kyle Rooker, and Krystin Schuette (pictured) — six student plaintiffs in the NCLR-fought case against Minnesota's Anoka-Hennepin school district. The students fought against distict policies that prevented officials from taking action against anti-LGBT bullying. The district, which has recently lost numerous students to suicide, has since changed its policies and is taking more responsibility for harassment in its hallways. Actor Wilson Cruz presented the award to the students.

Speaking at the event, NCLR executive director Kate Kendall said, "This year is especially significant, as NCLR celebrates turning 35 years old — an opportunity for us to look back on our history-making cases, while recognizing those who continue to speak out against injustice and are helping change the legal landscape for every member of our community. The seven people we recognized this year truly embody what is to be a hero, and we are honored to stand beside them in the march toward equality." 

 

BY Neal Broverman

May 07 2012 1:38 PM ET

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