For Immediate Release
(New York, Feb 18, 2011) The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) will hold its annual awards gala - A Celebration of Courage – on March 7, 2011 in New York City. This year's event will be hosted by award-winning actor Alan Cumming and will recognize the LGBT Centre of Mongolia and The New York Times bestselling author Jeff Sharlet for their contributions to advancing the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
At this year's gala event, the LGBT Centre of Mongolia will receive IGLHRC's signature human rights award, the Felipa de Souza Award. This award, which includes a cash award to further the recipients' work, is given annually to an outstanding grassroots organization or individual in recognition of their courage and activism for the promotion and protection of human rights for all people.
The LGBT Centre in Ulaanbaatar is Mongolia's first and only LGBT human rights organization. It registered in 2009 after three years of resistance from state authorities. In a country where working for LGBT rights is not only difficult but also dangerous, the LGBT Centre is building a better and safer society for Mongolia's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Under constant threat of violence by ultra-nationalist right-wing movements, the courageous leaders, staff and volunteers at the Centre provide legal, advocacy, and social support services for LGBT Mongolians and their families.
"Receiving the Felipa de Souza Award from IGLHRC is an immense honor, and it will benefit our work by helping us to build our reputation and the way our work is perceived in the community and amongst other rights groups," said Robyn Gardner, Executive Director. "This award will also increase our visibility in the broader Asian LGBT activist community."
The recipient of IGLHRC's 2011 Outspoken Award, Jeff Sharlet, has made tangible contributions to exposing and fighting the connections between right-wing homophobia in the United States and internationally. Sharlet is The New York Times bestselling author of The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, which charts the power and reach of conservative U.S. political and religious forces and their encouragement of homophobia in Uganda.
The Outspoken Award recognizes the leadership of an ally to the global LGBT community and has been accepted in previous years by luminaries such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson.
"It is essential to honor the work and achievements of groups like the Mongolian LGBT Centre who are working in challenging and risky situations to improve the lives of LGBT people," said IGLHRC Executive Director Cary Alan Johnson. "It is also a critical moment to honor and forge new partnerships with allies like journalist Jeff Sharlet who make this work possible through their scholarship, research and reporting."
The gala, to be held in New York City at the Landmark on the Park, located on Central Park West, on March 7, will feature a cocktail reception sponsored by VeeV and hors d'oeuvres.