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Natl. Center for Lesbian Rights to Honor Glenn Close, GuinevereTurner, S.F. City Attorney, Dallas County Sheriff, Asylum Clients at 28th Anniversary Gala


SAN FRANCISCO, May 6 -- The National Center for Lesbian Rights announced today that on May 14, 2005, it will honor multiple award-winning actress Glenn Close; writer, producer and film star Guinevere Turner from Showtime’s hot lesbian drama The L Word; San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera; Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez; and five courageous asylum clients at the sold-out 28th Anniversary Gala in San Francisco.

For her important contributions as an ally of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, Glenn Close will receive NCLR’s Spirit Award, which pays tribute to individuals who have devoted their time, talent, and energy to ensuring that all people are respected without fear of discrimination and prejudice. Last year’s Spirit Award was presented to actress Sharon Stone.

Lesbian icon Guinevere Turner will receive NCLR’s Community Empowerment Award. Ms. Turner is a story editor on The L Word and has a recurring role as Gaby, Alice’s vixen ex-girlfriend. Her career began as writer, producer and star of the feature film Go Fish, which premiered at Sundance in 1994. She also collaborated on the screenplay adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho, in which she co-starred.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who alongside NCLR is leading the charge in the fight for marriage equality, will receive NCLR’s Champion for Equality Award for his commitment to justice and equality. Together we celebrated a landmark legal victory in March when the trial court decided that denying gays and lesbians the right to marry is unconstitutional.

NCLR will recognize Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez with our Voice and Visibility Award. She has the distinction of being the first female, first Latina, and first lesbian to be elected Dallas County Sheriff, as well as being the first Democrat to be elected sheriff in 25 years, and the first openly gay or lesbian person to be elected to any office in Dallas County.

NCLR’s Justice Award will be presented to five of its asylum clients -- Shinegerel, Vanessa, Luis, Mariella and Edit -- whose courage and determination are testament to the human spirit. While their accounts of past persecution and reasons to fear returning to their home country are unique and personal, they share a pattern of systemic abuse on account of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“We are at a pivotal moment in our community’s history,” said Kate Kendell, Esq., NCLR’s Executive Director. “As the fight for marriage equality advances, NCLR is also leading the charge to secure equality and protection for the most vulnerable members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community: parents seeking custody of their children, students facing homophobic and gender-based harassment, elders in need of affordable senior housing, and immigrants seeking asylum from gender and sexuality-based persecution in their home countries.” Proceeds raised at the Gala will help win important legal victories for NCLR’s clients.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) is the nation’s premier public interest law firm dedicated to advancing the rights of lesbians and their families. As lead counsel on the San Francisco marriage case, NCLR is on the front lines in the battle for marriage equality.

NCLR’s Gala is unique among the nation’s charity events, and has earned near-legendary status as the premier gathering of lesbian philanthropists in the country. One of the hottest tickets in town, more than 2,200 lesbians and their supporters will attend this year’s sell-out event.

The 28th Anniversary Gala will be held at San Francisco’s Moscone Center South in the Esplanade Ballroom. Festivities begin at 6 p.m., with the ever-witty Kate Clinton returning by command performance as Emcee.

Gold Presenting Sponsors of the Gala include AAA Travel, The Dorian Fund, and Wells Fargo. Presenting Sponsors include Bluer & Bluer, LLP; Elizabeth J. Cabraser, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP; Lesbian Equity Foundation, Kathy Levinson; and Jan Zivic.

For more information about NCLR’s 28th Anniversary Gala, visit the web site at The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal resource center with a primary commitment to advancing the rights and safety of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through a program of litigation, public policy advocacy, free legal advice and counseling and public education. Each year it serves more than 4,500 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in all 50 states.


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