Ahead of its 34th Anniversary Celebration May 21, the San Francisco-based National Center for Lesbian Rights has announced the recipients of its 2011 awards and honors.
Included in the lineup is country-music artist Chely Wright, along with her father, Stan Wright, receiving the Voice and Visibility Award. Notably, Wright was a headliner at the 2010 Capital Pride Festival, not long after coming out as a lesbian.
Closer to home, however, is the Spirit Award, going to Kye Allums, a student athlete at George Washington University.
''Kye is a pioneer in the world of intercollegiate sports,'' reads the NCLR release announcing the awards, in part. ''In November 2010, he became the first Division 1 basketball player to come out as transgender, demonstrating extraordinary bravery and character in living genuinely and unapologetically as a transgender man. Through his simple act of continuing to play the sport he loves as a the man he is, he has helped change the landscape for other athletes.''
The NCLR characterizes the Spirit Award as one that honors ''an individual whose strength of character embodies and invigorates the spirit of the LGBT community.''
Allums, a 21-year-old junior majoring in fine arts, says the honor ''feels great.''
''I'm really excited, honored and humbled,'' he adds, confirming that he'll be heading to San Francisco to accept the award in person. ''I hope my story inspires and educates other people, and maybe lets other people in my situation know they're not alone.''