A month away from AIDS Fund’s 14th annual Black-Tie GayBINGO, the local nonprofit has announced it will present former State Representative Babette Josephs with its coveted Straight Person of the Year Award. The honor — which has previously been bestowed to folks like Governor Ed Rendell and Mayor John Street — recognizes straight allies in the community who have made significant contributions to the HIV/AIDS and/or the LGBTQ communities.
AIDS Fund says it was only a matter of time before Josephs, who was recently unseated by Brian Sims as representative of the 182nd Legislative District of Philadelphia, received the award, citing her “reputation as a lawmaker dedicated to supporting and advocating for LGBT rights and HIV/AIDS services. Josephs is one of the original members of the Pride of Philadelphia Election Committee and the Liberty City Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club. She made especially big waves in the late 1980s when she helped create a line item in the Pennsylvania state budget that allocated $1 million for HIV/AIDS preventative education and counseling.
Mrs. Josephs won’t be the only one walking away with an award that night. ActionAIDS director of development Michael Byrne will receive the Founders’ Award, which is given to people who have contributed to the fight against HIVAIDS in a “unique way.” Byrne (aka drag queen Carlota Ttendant) has volunteered for AIDS Fund since 1996, when he’s co-hosted the orgs very first GayBINGO. In his current position, he oversees the annual Philadelphia Dining Out For Life.
AIDS Fund’s former director of operations Africa Jones will be given the Ferrara Family Volunteer award for her years of work coordinating the annual AIDS Run/Walk Philly.
The award ceremonies will take place on March 1 during the 14th annual Black-Tie GayBINGO at the Crystal Tea Room. Starting at 6:30 p.m., the swanky soiree will include dinner, dancing, six Bingo Verifying Divas-led BINGO matches and a silent auction to raise money for AIDS Fund.