Five community leaders will be recognized at PGN’s Stonewall Awards & Pride Brunch

From left to right, Bob Brady, Sapphira Cristál, Rue Landau, Alba Martinez and Joanna McClinton.
From left to right, Bob Brady, Sapphira Cristál, Rue Landau, Alba Martinez and Joanna McClinton.

UPDATE 6/3/24: The full awards ceremony can now be streamed on 6ABC.

Philadelphia Gay News will host the 2024 Stonewall Awards & Pride Brunch, an annual ceremony which honors local people and organizations that have made a positive impact on the LGBTQ+ community. AJ Hikes, former executive director of the Philadelphia Office of LGBT Affairs — who introduced the More Color, More Pride flag, will be the master of ceremonies.

Senator Bob Casey will speak at the event. Casey has authored and sponsored or cosponsored multiple pieces of legislation that promote LGBTQ+ protection and equality, including legislation that would strengthen penalties for hate crime perpetrators, bills that would protect LGBTQ+ students, legislation that would amend federal civil rights laws to prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, a bill to ban conversion therapy, and legislation that would better protect older LGBTQ+ populations.

WPVI-TV, the local ABC affiliate, will live stream the event, which will be held from 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on June 2. Five individuals will be honored for their work in the community.

Bob Brady, Chairman of the Philadelphia Democratic Party
Bob Brady, former congressman and current chair of the Philadelphia Democratic Party, will receive the Community Ally award for his continuous work for and with LGBTQ+ Philadelphians. 

Brady previously received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Congressional Scorecard — which informs the public about how elected officials have voted on issues of LGBTQ+ equality. 

Brady, who opted not to run for re-election in 2018, held his elected position for 21 years. While in office, he backed The Equality Act, which prohibits anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination on a federal level. He also helped to secure a stronger approach to prosecuting hate crimes that are based on a victim’s sexual orientation.

More recently, he stood up for LGBTQ+ people following former Philadelphia ward leader Lewis Nash’s homophobic and transphobic comments — calling the remarks “totally disgraceful.”

“We don’t subscribe to anything or condone anything he said,” he told PGN after Nash was removed from leadership. “That’s not us.”

Sapphira Cristál, Philly’s Crown Jewel
Sapphira Cristál — a drag queen recognized for her six-octave vocal range and known as Philadelphia’s Crown Jewel — will be honored with this year’s Visibility Award. Cristál was a Season 16 finalist on RuPaul’s Drag Race and winner of the show’s Miss Congeniality award.

“When I moved here, it was the queerest place I’ve ever lived in my entire life,” she said about Philadelphia during a city council meeting, where Cristál — a Philadelphia resident — was honored with a resolution declaring April 19, 2024 as “Philly’s Crown Jewel Day.” 

Cristál used her platform to promote self-love and authenticity and showcased the work of various LGBTQ+ Philadelphians. Hoping to celebrate the city’s artists, Cristál collaborated with nearly a dozen Philly creatives to achieve the looks she featured on the show.

She has been lauded for not only her talent but also her kindness and genuine spirit. Her visibility inspires LGBTQ+ people and allies to feel confident embracing what makes them unique and learn to take care of themselves.

Rue Landau, Philadelphia City Councilmember
Rue Landau, who was previously named PGN’s 2023 Person of the Year, historically became the first openly LGBTQ+ person elected to Philadelphia City Council. She’ll fittingly be honored with the History Maker award.

Landau, whose seat is an “at-large” position, represents the entire city — not just a specific neighborhood or demographic.

“The only way we’re going to have positive outcomes for our community, especially the most marginalized parts of our community, is if we invest in them,” she previously told PGN — underlining the need to not only support LGBTQ+ specific causes but also recognize that many of the issues that affect the most vulnerable people also affect the LGBTQ+ community.

She feels strongly about addressing barriers to quality education, healthcare, jobs, housing and other civil rights issues.

Alba Martinez, Philadelphia Director of Commerce
Alba Martinez, who was appointed director of commerce by Mayor Cherelle Parker, is the highest-ranking openly LGBTQ+ city official. She previously served as the commissioner of human services under Mayor John Street and was co-chair of Mayor Jim Kenney’s transition team. She is the first out person to be appointed to a mayor’s cabinet in Philadelphia history.

Martinez has decades of experience in executive leadership across business, government, nonprofit and cultural sectors and has been especially passionate about advocating for marginalized people in those roles. She’ll receive the Lifetime Achievement award.

“The LGBTQ community plays a really critical role in the economic narrative of our city, and I want to make sure that it gets the visibility, the recognition and the support it deserves,” Martinez previously told PGN.

“One of the things I learned as a leader is to always — always — be on the lookout for opportunities to be that bridge or door for somebody else,” she said. “So I intend to do that.”

Joanna McClinton, Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Pennsylvania House Speaker Joanna McClinton, the first woman and second Black person to hold the position in the statehouse, is a lifelong Philadelphian who has been a leader in advocating for progressive causes. She’s a member of the Legislative Black Caucus, LGBTQ Equality Caucus and Women’s Health Caucus. Her policy proposals focus on job creation and on reforming the state’s approaches to education, legal defense and criminal justice.

“I’m so grateful that we have several colleagues that are out and proud — and we are proud of them,” McClinton said during a rally in support of the Pennsylvania Fairness Act (HB 300, SB 150), which currently awaits confirmation by the Senate.

“And we are excited to make sure every Pennsylvanian knows that you have a home here. When we pass this Fairness Act, you will not be discriminated against lawfully,” adding that anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination is “sickening and outrageous.”

She will be honored with the Equality Government award.

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