Mayor, Q Salt Lake owner among pride fest honorees
Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker has been picked to receive the annual Pete Suazo Political Action Award at the 2011 Utah Pride Festival. Michael Aaron, owner and publisher of Q Salt Lake magazine, will receive the Dr. Kristen Ries Community Service Award.
Plus, the festival will introduce two new awards at the Grand Marshal Reception on June 3.
Becker, who was first elected mayor in 2007, created the Utah's first mutual-commitment registry for same-sex couples. He also spearheaded, in 2010, the city's adoption of the first city ordinances banning housing and employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. A dozen Utah cities and counties have followed the capital's lead.
Aaron not only runs Salt Lake City's niche publication for the LGBT community, he also sings in the Salt Lake Men's Choir and recently launched the Q Business Alliance. He first became an advocate in 1981 as a member of the University of Utah's Lesbian and Gay Student Union.
Ben Barr, a Salt Lake City native and brother of festival Grand Marshal Roseanne Barr, will receive the festival's first Lifetime Achievement Award. He helped to build the organization that is known today as the Utah Aids Foundation. He also worked on HIV/ AIDS prevention and services at the Salt Lake Valley Health Department and as a founding member and vice president of the Utah Harm Reduction Coalition.
Barr is executive director of the Rainbow Community Center of Contra Costa County in Concord, Calif. He and his partner, John Peterson, met in Salt Lake City in 1979 and have three children and two grandchildren. Barr recently earned his doctorate in social welfare from the University of California at Berkley. He wrote his dissertation about "planned parenting" among gay men.
Ogden's Gary Horenkamp will receive the first Local Hero Award. He directs the OUTreach Resource Center, an inclusive drop-in center for LGBT youths and adults housed in the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ogden.
Award winners will be recognized at the Grand Marshal Reception, June 3, 7-9 p.m. at the IJ & JeannÃ© Wagner Jewish Community Center, 2 N. Medical Drive, Salt Lake City. Tickets are $35 and available online at utahpridefestival.org.