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|GLAAD celebrates 25 years with local gala, awards|
|by Laura Douglas-Brown|
|September 30, 2011 15:17|
“Celebrate GLAAD at 25,” set for Saturday at Mason Murer Fine Art, honors the national gay media watchdog group’s 25th anniversary as well as 30 “local heroes” who make a difference in the LGBT community.
Celebrity guests include out CNN anchor Don Lemon, Kat Graham of "Vampire Diaries," CBS anchor Itay Hod, Phoenix of "RuPaul's Drag Race" and former Q-100 radio host Melissa Carter.
The event promises food by A Divine Event, ROKK Vodka, and music by DJs Jay McCracken and Diablo Rojo. Also on tap, according to GLAAD, are infamous drag queens Lady Chablis and Charlie Brown, the Atlanta Ballet & Wabi Sabi Dancers, artist Brannon Purvis, aerialist Andrea Fors, and much more.
Local award winners were chosen "as a group effort, looking back 25 years at our community" by GLAAD's Atlanta Leadership Council, according to Dino Thompson-Sarmiento, senior advisor for the Atlanta GLAAD leadership council.
"We also wanted to be all inclusive — we tried to pull from the very diverse and wonderful population we have in Atlanta," he said.
The honorees are Sally Ringo, Don Lemon, Allen Jones, Ben Hadsock, Bubba Dee, Charlie Brown, Chris Coleman, Darian Aaron, David Stark, Don George, Duncan Teague, Jeff Cleghorn, Jeff Graham, Jodi Duncan, Justin Ziegler, Linda Ellis, Lynn Barfield, Marcus Jackson, Mariela Romero, Matt Hennie, Mitchel Anderson & Richie Arpino, Pat Hussain, Paul Horning, Paul Plate, Phillip Rafshoon, Rodney White, Steven Scarborough, and Tyler Calkins and William Duffee-Braun.
Even with the entertainment lineup for the gala, Thompson-Sarmiento said he is most excited about honoring the local winners.
"My joy is recognizing the many folks who have worked so hard over the years to help all of us as a community lead better lives," he said. "They have changed hearts and minds and in some cases saved lives."
Anyone who would like to volunteer or be considered for the Atlanta Leadership Council can call 404-428-0497, he said.
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