Fenway Health to honor Barney Frank, Urvashi Vaid

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By: Chuck Colbert/TRT Reporter-

Fenway Health recently announced this year’s recipients of the Congressman Gerry E. Studds Award and the Dr. Susan M. Love Award.

Congressman Barney Frank will receive the Studds Award at The Men’s Event on Saturday evening, March 3.

Four weeks later, Urvashi Vaid will receive the Love Award at The Women’s Dinner Party on Saturday evening, March 31.

Like the Men’s Event, the Women’s Dinner Party is scheduled for the same location, the Boston Marriott Copley.

Fenway Health, a state-of-the-art, medical-care facility, provides a full range of health-care and research services to the LGBT community of Greater Boston.

Each year Fenway Health honors individuals for their positive contributions to improving the quality of life for the gay community.

“We’re excited to honor both Congressman Barney Frank and Urvashi Vaid at the Fenway events this year,” said Philip Finch, vice president of Communications and Development.

Finch was referring to the two of the organization’s signature galas.

The Men’s Event and Women’s Dinner Party are among the New England region’s largest LGBT black-tie fundraisers.

“Both of these distinguished people have spent their lives and their careers fighting for the rights of the LGBT community,” Finch said. “Our entire community has benefited greatly from their efforts and we are so proud to be able to extend our thanks to both of them in recognition of their hard work.”

Accordingly, both award winners worked tirelessly over the years to advance the health of the LGBT community through public policy and political advocacy.

The Studds Award is given “to honor individuals of integrity and selflessness” and “embody the spirit of service,” providing “positive leadership for the LGBT community.”

It is named after the late Massachusetts Congressman Studds, who died in October 2006.

U.S. Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts’ Fourth Congressional District has served 16 consecutive terms.

A former chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Frank is considered often by many to be the nation’s most prominent out gay politician.

In 1987 Frank came out the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives when he acknowledged his sexual orientation.

An outspoken advocate on civil-rights issues, Frank, in 2006 said, “I do have things I would like to see adopted on behalf of LGBT people: They include the right to marry the individual of our choice; the right to serve in the military to defend our country; and the right to a job based solely on our own qualifications.”

A graduate of Harvard College and the Harvard Law School, Frank worked as a political aide before winning election in 1972 to the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

First elected to Congress in 1980, Frank announced his retirement on November 18, 2011.

The 2012 Men’s Event chairs are Jeff Dugan, Scott Kearnan, and David Zimmerman.

The Love Award is given “to honor and celebrate a woman and/or organization that has made significant contribution to the field of women’s health.”

It is named for Susan M. Love, M.D., a pioneer in the fields of women’s health and breast cancer.

Urvashi Vaid is a longtime LGBT community organizer, writer, attorney, and social justice activist.

Vaid is director of the Engaging Tradition Project at the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School. The Projects focuses on the idea of tradition and how it is used by and used against movements for gender and sexual justice.

Vaid also serves on the board of directors of the Gill Foundation, which is dedicated to achieving equal opportunity for all, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.

A former columnist for the Advocate, Vaid is author of “Virtual Equality: The Mainstreaming of Gay & Lesbian Liberation” and the forthcoming “Irresistible Revolution: Race, Class and the LGBT Imagination.”

She is a founder of The Vaid Group, a social justice consulting practice that advises individuals and organizations.

Vaid is also a former executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the nation’s oldest LGBT organization.

She served as a staff attorney at the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, where she initiated the organization’s work on HIV/AIDS in prisons.

In 2009, Out Magazine named her one of the 50 most influential people in the United States.

Vaid is a graduate of Vassar College and the Northeastern University School of Law.

The 2012 Women’s Dinner Party chairs are Theresa Murray, Gina Savageau, and Aimee Van Wagenen.

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