Press Release: GLAA Announces 2017 Distinguished Service Awards

For Release:

Friday, February 17, 2017


John Becker (920) 265-6023


GLAA Announces 2017 Distinguished Service Awards

GLAA of Washington, D.C., is pleased to announce its 2017 Distinguished Service Award recipients. GLAA presents awards to local individuals and organizations that have served the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in the national capital area. The awards will be presented at GLAA’s 46th Anniversary Reception on Thursday, April 20 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Policy Restaurant and Lounge at 1904 14th Street, NW (at T Street). Tickets are $55 and can be purchased at or calling John at 920-265-6023. A range of donor levels is also available.

GLAA’s 2017 Distinguished Service Award recipients are:

  • José Gutierrez
  • Rev. Cedric A. Harmon
  • Mara Keisling
  • Rev. Barry W. Lynn

Jose Gutierrez is an activist, historian, poet and leather enthusiast who resides in Washington D.C. and is originally from Reynosa, Mexico. His family immigrated to Atlanta, GA in the mid 1980’s where he launched his advocacy career working for AID Atlanta and co-founding Latinos en Accion, a Latino LGBTQ organization. Jose is recognized for his work on human rights and AIDS advocacy both locally and nationally. In 2000 he founded the Latino GLBT History Project, the oldest DC Latino LGBTQ organization and co-founded the Rainbow History Project, Diccion Queer and the Latino Leather most recently. In 2007 Jose organized the first DC Latino Pride. Currently Jose is pursuing his BS in psychology at the University Ana G. Mendez, and works at the DHS in Washington, DC. Jose is an active member of the DC Latino Caucus, LULAC LAMBDA, the OutWrite and the Latinx LGBTQ DC Center.

Reverend Cedric A. Harmon is a native Midwesterner with Southern and New England influences—a surprise last child to older parents who shared with him the gift of experience and wisdom. He has a BS in media management from Emerson College and has completed extensive graduate work at Wesley Seminary. Cedric’s deep faith calls him to do the work of justice and equality, and to equip others to do the same. He’s also known for his writing and television appearances—again on human rights and social justice—and serves on several boards having to do with sexuality and religion. He served as pastor of a “radically inclusive” congregation in Washington, DC and is currently Executive Director of Many Voices – a new nonprofit creating a Black Church movement for gay and transgender justice.

Mara Keisling is the Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, the nation’s leading social justice advocacy organization winning life-saving change for transgender people. Since founding NCTE in 2003, Mara has led organizational and coalition efforts that have won significant advances in transgender equality, including the inclusion of gender identity in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the first-ever Congressional hearing on transgender issues, and countless federal administrative and state-level wins. As one of the nation’s leading voices for transgender equality, Mara is regularly quoted in national and local print media and has appeared on major television networks. She was part of the first all-transgender television interview on Melissa Harris-Perry’s show in 2012. Mara holds a B.A. from Pennsylvania State University and did her graduate work in American Government at Harvard University.

Rev. Barry W. Lynn has served as Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church & State for the past 25 years. He and his highly capable and efficient staff have worked productively with GLAA in resisting federally-imposed voucher programs that primarily benefit DC’s religious schools that are free to discriminate against LGBT students, teachers and staff. The importance of DC’s role in the school voucher issue has become more critical recently in light of U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s drive to undermine religiously neutral public schools and to subsidize politically and religiously conservative schools instead. But we are honoring Rev. Lynn not only for his leadership on this issue but also for aggressively defending our community on a host of national issues where we are under attack from the Religious Right. For example, he has long championed the Marriage Equality cause and has led the fight against so-called “bathroom bills” that demonize transgender men and women and so-called “religious freedom” laws that would gut local and national civil rights protections. Under his direction, AU has filed numerous amici briefs in cases directly impacting our community. Few if any other activists have been more outspoken than Rev. Lynn in integrating the interests of our community with the whole range of church-state separation controversies.

A list of previous award winners can be found on the GLAA website at


Founded in 1971, GLAA is an all-volunteer, non-partisan, non-profit political organization that defends the civil rights of LGBTQ people in the Nation’s Capital. GLAA lobbies the D.C. Council, monitors government agencies, educates and rates local candidates, and works in coalitions to defend the safety, health, and equal rights of LGBT families. GLAA remains the nation’s oldest continuously active gay and lesbian civil rights organization.


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