The Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance (GLAA) honored four people and three organizations during the group's 38th annual anniversary celebration Wednesday, April 22, at the Washington Plaza Hotel off Thomas Circle. The nation's oldest continuously running gay civil-rights organization has been presenting the Distinguished Service Awards to individuals and organizations that have been serving the GLBT community in metropolitan Washington since 1990. This year's recipients were Martin Murray, who founded the Washington Friends of Walt Whitman group, celebrating all things Whitman, more than 20 years ago; gay-rights activist, author and law Professor Nancy Polikoff; Rabbi Robert Saks of the GLBT congregation, Bet Mishpachah; and Alan Sharpe, founding artistic director of the African-American Collective Theater.
''I was just thrilled,'' Polikoff said, adding that when she looks back on her career as a lawyer dealing with gay and lesbian family-law issues, she's most proud of having solidified the right of second-parent adoption for gay and lesbian couples in D.C.
The organizations presented with the Distinguished Service Award were the DC Trans Coalition; Just Detention International, an international human-rights organization dedicated to ending sexual violence; and the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, for spending the last 40 years representing individuals and groups seeking to gain civil rights.