DVLF Announces 2015 HEROES


Gloria Casarez

The Delaware Valley Legacy Fund has just announced their 2015 HEROES award recipients. These individuals’ “leadership advances the rights of the LGBTQ community. Through the nomination process, DVLF identifies youth, adults, non-profits, allies and businesses who have bold ideas, act with selfless intention, and courageously work to advance the equality of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community in the Delaware Valley and beyond.”

This year’s winners include:

Lifetime Legacy Award (Posthumous): Gloria Casarez. “From 1999 to 2008, Casarez served as the executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Latino AIDS Education Initiative, and was appointed by Mayor Michael Nutter as Philadelphia’s first official LGBT liaison. It was due in large part to her efforts that in 2013, Philadelphia was ranked by the Municipality Equality Index (MEI) as the number one city for LGBT equality in the country, receiving a perfect score alongside Seattle. Casarez sadly passed away in October 2014, and is survived by her wife and mother.”

Community HERO: Ian Morrison. “Ian is selfless in his dedication to the LGBTQ community, lending his time and talent to numerous area LGBTQ organizations. Perhaps better recognized by his stage persona, Brittany Lynn, which was birthed over 20 years ago, Ian Morrison reigns as Philadelphia’s star drag queen. His raunchy humor, flawless impressions and bigger-than-life personality has helped to gentrify gay culture in Philadelphia through entertainment since the early 1990’s.”

Straight Ally HERO: Deputy Commissioner Kevin Bethel. “In 2014, Deputy Commissioner Kevin Bethel worked alongside members of the LGBTQ community to adjust the Philadelphia Police Department’s new guidelines, which details how officers interact with transgender people. The nine-page directive not only provides definitions to promote understanding, but instructs the police to treat transgendered individuals with respect and care.”

Youth HERO: Micah Rodriquez. “Micah Rodriguez is a hero in her relationships, a hero in The Attic community, and a hero in her work toward creating a safe and supportive city for the LGBTQ youth. At 20 years old, she is a force of compassionate strength, unyielding integrity, and forward-looking vision whose diligence and passion for her community strengthen every day.”

Business HERO: West Laurel Hill. “West Laurel hill has given generously to many area organizations, including Attic Youth Center, Delaware Valley Legacy Fund, William Way LGBTQ community Center and Equality Forum. This historical venue partnered with LGBT businesses MANNA, Chatterblast Media, and Unite Fitness last October to host the first annual Run4UrLife 3K through the West Laurel Hill Cemetery. All proceeds from this spookily fun, hair-raising event went to benefit MANNA.”

The awards ceremony for this year’s HERO recipients is taking place Sunday, April 12 from 12:30pm to 3:00pm at Hotel Monaco. Tickets and more information can be found here.


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