Thursday, April 18, 2024

NCLR celebrates 45th anniversary with first in-person gala since 2019

The 2022 Champions for Justice Dinner and Party will welcome NCLR’s Executive Director Imani Rupert Gordon to her inaugural annual gala since joining the leading LGBTQ organization in 2020.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) will join hundreds of donors, supporters, and friends on Friday, November 11, 2022, for an evening of inspiration, activism, and community at the Marriot Marquis and Metreon Cityview in San Francisco, CA. NCLR’s Champions for Justice Dinner + Party – the first in-person since 2019 – will celebrate NCLR’s 45th anniversary, as well as serve as the organization’s inaugural annual gathering for Imani Rupert-Gordon, who joined NCLR as their new Executive Director in March 2020. 

This year’s gala dinner will be hosted by standup comic, actor, writer, and podcaster Cameron Esposito, and will be followed directly by their famous afterparty, including DJs, dancing, cocktails, mocktails, food, games, entertainment, and more. 

NCLR will bestow their Justice Award to Kansas Representative Sharice Davids, Voice & Visibility Awards to actress and producer Abbi Jacobson and philanthropist and award-winning independent musician Gina Chávez, and Courage Awards to Doctors Morissa Ladinsky and Hussein Abdul-Latif, and Cameron Wright

Noting that the Champions for Justice gala falls on Veterans’ Day, NCLR will begin the night’s celebration by welcoming LGBTQ members of the United States Armed Forces on stage to honor them for their service. 

Cameron Esposito

“After several tough years for the LBGTQ community and our families, I am thrilled to be welcoming all of NCLR’s friends and supporters to our 45th-anniversary celebration on November 11 in San Francisco,” said NCLR Executive Director Imani Rupert-Gordon. “Despite the many challenges we have faced over the past few years, we still have much to celebrate, including our historic wins this year on behalf of transgender youth in Alabama and Utah. 

“Even though it is clear there is still much work to be done – including defeating laws like “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” in Florida,” continued Rupert-Gordon, “we know that our fight for justice puts us on the right side of history. As we gather on November 11 for our Champions for Justice Dinner and Party, we do so knowing that we are stronger than ever and we will continue to forge forward — together. For 45 years, NCLR has been at the forefront of the fight for LGBTQ equality, and for the next 45 I know we will lead with the bravery in our heart that is written into the DNA of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.”

“First of all, wow! What an honor,” said Voice & Visibility Award recipient Gina Chavez. “I connected with NCLR via social media during the pandemic, but I never could have imagined I’d be the recipient of their prestigious Voice & Visibility Award. As a married, queer person, I know that my very ability to love my wife and share our story through music is owed to people at organizations like NCLR who have been fighting for our rights long before rainbow flags were trendy. To say I’m honored is an understatement. My wife and I cannot wait to celebrate at the gala in San Francisco on November 11!”

“Since youth have no voice at ballot boxes, we pediatricians must use ours to elevate theirs,” said Courage Award recipient Dr. Morissa Ladinsky. “Equitable health care for gender-diverse young people is a right, not an implement to generate agitation and division. If courage is creating action in spite of fear, standing up for gender-affirming healthcare – when teamed with NCLR’s legal brilliance – is easy.  I am humbled and honored to receive this award and elated to attend the upcoming gala.”

“I am deeply honored to be recognized for this award,” said Courage Award recipient Dr. Hussein Abdul-Latif. “The kids that we see inspire us to persevere through adversity. I also am thankful for the leadership in our institutions the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Children’s Hospital of Alabama for allowing us to continue our care despite the legal challenges that we have faced. We all have to tap into our courage in order to continue to practice and uphold the standards of care of our professions and I am honored to be receiving this award from NCLR.”

“I am so incredibly proud of Cameron and the advocacy he has done this year,” said Myrian Reynolds, mother of Courage Award recipient Cameron Wright. “Before March, Cameron was not publicly out as a transgender young man and was doing his best to fly under the radar. We were so distressed by what our state leadership was doing here in Texas and decided as a family that he should stand up and fight for our rights.  He went public with a bang and has shown so much courage in advocating for himself and others. I have never been more proud of Cameron than I have been this year watching him speak truth to power.  We are so excited and humbled to be attending the gala and look forward to celebrating Cameron’s courage!”

Sharice davids

This year NCLR will be honoring Kansas Rep. Sharice Davids with the Justice Award. When she was sworn into the 116th Congress, Rep. Davids became one of the first two Native American women to serve in Congress, as well as the first openly LGBTQ Native American elected to Congress and the first openly lesbian to represent Kansas in Congress.

The Voice & Visibility Awards this year will be presented to Abbi Jacobson and Gina Chávez. Abbi Jacobson wrote and executive produced the new Amazon series, A League of Their Own – a more queer-inclusive retelling of the 1992 movie of the same name that is a fiction account of the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Gina Chávez is a wife, philanthropist, and an award-winning independent musician who was nominated for a 2020 Latin Grammy for Best Pop/Rock Album. Gina is also a cultural ambassador with the U.S. State Department and runs Niñas Arriba, a college fund she co-founded with her wife for young women in El Salvador.

The 2022 Courage Awards will honor Drs. Morissa Ladinsky and Hussein Abdul-Latif and Cameron Wright. Dr. Ladinsky co-leads the Youth Multidisciplinary Gender Team at the University of Alabama at Birmingham while Dr. Abdul-Latif is a pediatric endocrinologist in Birmingham, Alabama. Both doctors have been providing medically-necessary care for transgender youth in the South and have been at the forefront of fighting against a bill in Alabama that would criminalize that care and charge parents and doctors with a felony for providing the care that these youth need to survive and thrive as their authentic selves. 

Cameron Wright is an inspirational and courageous trans youth from Texas who was welcomed to the White House earlier this year by Vice President Kamala Harris to mark Transgender Day of Visibility with other trans youth.


Champions for Justice Dinner

Marriott Marquis Hotel – San Francisco, CA – Friday, November 11, 2022 | 5:30-9 pm

Champions for Justice Party

Metreon Cityview – San Francisco – Friday, November 11, 2022 | 8:30 pm-12:00 am

To buy a dinner or party ticket, go to

Queer Forty Staff

Queer Forty writing staff work hard to bring you all the latest articles to help inspire and inform.

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