Over 700 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) advocates and their allies and supporters attended this year’s National LGBTQ Task Force Gala – Miami, presented by Wells Fargo, held at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach on Saturday, November 19. The annual awards dinner honors people for their significant contributions to securing full equality for LGBTQ people. Sponsors and attendees helped raise approximately $650,000. The funds raised benefit South Florida programs providing direct services to LGBTQ people as well as supporting the advocacy and organizing work of the National LGBTQ Task Force.
The 2016 Eddy McIntyre Community Service Award was presented to Steve Routhaus, a staff writer at The Miami Herald who has dedicated much of his journalism career to elevating the voices of LGBTQ people. The audience listened intently as Rothaus presented a historial retrospective of the LGBTQ rights movement in South Florida, calling the Save Our Children campaign by Anita Bryant “ground zero.”
Task Force Deputy Executive Director Russell Roybal paid tribute to the lives lost in June in the Pulse Nightclub shootings as he introduced the National Leadership Award recipients, Broadway producers Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley. In response to the shootings, the couple gathered 50 well-known members of the Broadway community to form Broadway for Orlando and raise money for the victims. In their video acceptance of the award, the two men said “In terms of leadership, we want you to know that you can just do it yourself. If you have an idea, do it yourself and get your friends to come and help you.”