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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Chicago trans icon Gloria Allen among Creating Change honorees
2020-12-10

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Community leaders Gloria Allen, Lisbeth Melendez Rivera, Javier Hernandez and Gayle Rubin will all be honored at the 33rd annual Creating Change Conference, run by the National LGBTQ Task Force.

Held virtually Jan. 28-31, 2021, the conference will include four plenary sessions, 16 day long institutes, and 48 workshop and caucus sessions.

Allen, known as "Mama Gloria," is the 74-year-old transgender advocate, activist and community leader who will be awarded the SAGE Advocacy Award for Excellence in Leadership on Aging Issues. Having grown up in Chicago, immersed in the drag ball scene of the city's South Side, Allen went on to found and run a charm school for homeless transgender youth at Chicago's Center on Halsted. Her work and life at the charm school has been adapted in the play Charm, which first premiered at the Steppenwolf Garage Theater before making runs in Minneapolis, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and New York. Now retired from a career as a licensed practical nurse, Allen continues to speak to youth and others about the transgender community. She is the subject of the recently release award-winning film Mama Gloria.

Melendez Rivera, grassroots organizer and self-described "Puerto Rican butch dyke," will be awarded The Susan J. Hyde Award for Longevity in the Movement. Hernandez, an immigrant and queer leader fighting for immigrant rigths in the Inland Empire is to be awarded The Haas, Jr. Fund Award for Outstanding LGBT Leadership on behalf of Immigrant Rights. And Rubin—an anthropologist, theorist and writer—will be honored with The Leather Leadership Award for her work and studies within the leather community.

Musician Big Freedia and actress Dominique Jackson (Pose) are among those slated to appear at the conference.

See thetaskforce.org .


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