By: Audrey Cole/TRT Reporter—
SALEM, Mass.—Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll has been selected to receive the 2019 LGBTQ All-Star Award presented by The Rainbow Times, according to the publication’s management.
“I am so grateful to The Rainbow Times for this distinction and would like to thank their staff for their own advocacy and dedication to equal rights and an inclusive, welcoming community,” said Mayor Driscoll to the LGBTQ award-winning publication.
The editor of the monthly publication, Nicole Lashomb, praised Driscoll’s LGBTQ advocacy through the years.
“Mayor Driscoll has been relentless in her support and advocacy work for and on behalf of LGBTQ residents in the city of Salem and beyond to ensure there is the equality for all of our community, even lending her own voice to uplift it,” said Lashomb, who is also The Rainbow Times’ co-founder. “We are thrilled to present her with this year’s LGBTQ All-Star Award.”
In typical “Driscoll style,” the Mayor praised Salem’s success and triumphs to a collective effort, not just her doing.
“Our efforts in Salem have been a team effort and includes many volunteers, City staff and officials, and other partners,” she said. “I’m so proud that The Rainbow Times is one of those partners, advancing this important work for our city and for our Commonwealth.”
According to Lashomb, Driscoll was selected from a pool of nominees, put forth by the staff of The Rainbow Times. By unanimous vote, Driscoll was selected as the recipient, she explained.
“The mayor has advocated for all members of the LGBTQ community, including those most vulnerable and often left without a voice,” said Lashomb. “Her visible and public support of Yes on 3 to uphold transgender public accommodations protections, for example, is evidence of that. We don’t only look for allies of the LGBTQ community to recognize but specifically, we seek out those who publicly voice support of it. The mayor has done that in countless ways.”
The publication’s leadership, out of their 2nd office in Salem, Mass., has witnessed first hand the dedication and impact the Mayor has had on community members.
“Mayor Driscoll has unequivocally shown her presence and support of—literally and symbolically—the LGBTQ community, its youth, etc., and her leadership extends nationally when we can all see the city’s perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Municipal Equality Index scorecard, several years in a row now,” said Graysen M. Ocasio, Publisher of The Rainbow Times and Co-ED of Project Out (a transgender services non-profit organization). “The city’s perfect score does not only reflect 100 percent in terms of sexual orientation but also as it relates to gender identity. In the area of ‘inclusive workplace,’ Salem scored even higher than Boston, whose score reflects a 100 because of the bonuses added. Salem’s 100 is a perfect 100 ‘without’ the added bonuses, meeting all criteria for Municipal LGBTQ inclusion right from the start. This is a direct reflection of the Mayor’s leadership.”
First elected to office in 2006, Driscoll has a long history of supporting the LGBTQ community.
The award will be presented to Driscoll on June 21 at The Rainbow Times’ Annual Pride Kick-off Benefit Cruise, launching from Pickering Wharf in Salem, Mass.
The list below details what the inclusive Mayor has done through the years, since taking office, to advance LGBTQ equality:
November 2006: Establishes the first diversity committee called the Salem No Place for Hate Committee through the Anti-Defamation League to combat discrimination
July 2010: Welcomes the first North Shore Elder Services-sponsored ‘Over the Rainbow Coalition’ gathering for LGBT seniors and allies at Salem Willows. The Coalition now meets for monthly dinners at the House of the Seven Gables in Salem
December 2011: Driscoll becomes first Salem Mayor to recognize World AIDS Day by mayoral proclamation
June 2012: Driscoll becomes first Salem Mayor to raise LGBT pride flags above Salem City Hall and Riley Plaza in recognition of LGBT Pride Month
June 2012: Driscoll recognizes local LGBT activist and drag queen Gary “Gigi” Gill as the official “Queen” of Salem with a mayoral citation for his work on behalf of the LGBT community
June 2012: Driscoll becomes first Salem Mayor to declare “North Shore Pride Day” by mayoral proclamation in conjunction with the City Council’s passage of the first resolution recognizing and supporting the North Shore Pride Parade & Festival
June 2012: Salem hosts inaugural North Shore Pride Parade & Festival; officials from North Shore communities join in the parade
January 2013: Driscoll submits a letter of support for the International Imperial Court’s nationwide campaign to lobby the U.S. Postal Service for a commemorative stamp honoring LGBT civil rights leader Harvey Milk
March 2013: Driscoll raises the pride flag above Salem City Hall and changes her Facebook profile to the Human Rights Campaign red and pink equality logo in solidarity with the LGBT community as the Proposition 8 and DOMA cases are argued before the U.S. Supreme Court
April 2013: Driscoll signs on to the national “Mayors for the Freedom to Marry” coalition in support of marriage equality
June 2013: Driscoll and city officials host the inaugural LGBT Pride Flag Raising Ceremony to kick-off LGBT pride month at Riley Plaza
June 2013: Driscoll and the Salem Police Chief designate the first LGBT community liaisons in both the Mayor’s Office and Salem Police Department
September 2013: Driscoll recognizes the North Shore Alliance for LGBT Youth (nAGLY) with a mayoral citation at their annual Gala for their support of Salem and the North Shore’s LGBT youth
October 2013: Boston Spirit magazine recognizes Mayor’s Office LGBT Liaison Kristian Hoysradt as one of “Salem’s Magic Makers”
October 2013: City officials recognize drag performer, recording artist and LGBT activist Sharon Needles and LGBT promotional events group Go Out Loud at their ‘Scream Out Loud’ Halloween event with citations for their work on behalf of the LGBT community
November 2013: Driscoll becomes first Salem Mayor to attend the Human Rights Campaign’s New England Gala
January 2014: Driscoll receives the first annual Community Leadership Award for her LGBT advocacy from the Tiffany Club of New England at their First Event Transgender Conference
February 2014: Driscoll introduces transgender-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance before the Salem City Council
March 2014: City Council unanimously passes and Driscoll signs Salem’s non-discrimination ordinance, making Salem only the fifth community in Massachusetts to extend protections against discrimination to the transgender community in public accommodations
April 2014: Boston Spirit magazine features Driscoll as prominent LGBT ally
June 2014: Thanks to the efforts of Gary “Gigi” Gill, city officials and the Salem Postmaster unveil the U.S. Postal Service’s commemorative Harvey Milk Forever Stamp at the Salem Post Office where it will hang permanently in honor of the Milk’s legacy and the LGBT community
June 2014: Driscoll submits a letter of support for the International Imperial Court’s nationwide campaign to lobby the U.S. Postal Service for a commemorative stamp honoring LGBT civil rights leader Bayard Rustin
June 2014: Salem achieves a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2014 Municipal Equality Index for the City’s LGBT- inclusive laws, policies, and practices, joining Boston and Cambridge as the only Massachusetts communities to reach 100%
July 2014: Driscoll terminates management contract of Old Town Hall with Gordon College as a result of the college’s anti-LGBT advocacy and campus policies
July 2014: Driscoll launches a campaign that garners national attention and raises over $12,000 for the North Shore Alliance of LGBT Youth (nAGLY) in response to anti-LGBT backlash from the City’s decision to terminate its contract with Gordon College.
2015 – Current:
- Membership in Mayors for the freedom
- Membership in against LGBTQ Discrimination
- Joined US Supreme Court Amicus brief with other Mayors on Masterpiece Cakeshop case
- The City of Salem is now required to submit information to the annual Municipal Equality Index where since 2015 it has received a perfect score of 100 pts
- June 2016 – Mayor Driscoll participates & supports the vigil for the LGBTQ community and those who lost their lives during the Pulse Night Club shooting
- August 2016 – Mayor Driscoll is featured on the cover of The Rainbow Times Newspaper as an LGBTQ Champion
- August 2016 – The Rainbow Times’ newspaper box explodes in downtown Salem (after several other boxes were vandalized), suspected to be a hate crime – Mayor Driscoll immediately condemns the act; rallies businesses and neighbors to fight against it; supports citywide initiative to affirm Salem’s LGBTQ community; stands in solidarity with The Rainbow Times
- October 2017 – The Rainbow Times Newspaper offers a major endorsement of Mayor Driscoll for re-election
- 2018 – Mayor Driscoll’s leadership of Massachusetts Mayors for Freedom (YesOn3)
- June 2018 – The Annual Pride Flag Raising Ceremony included the raising of 6 Transgender Flag as well, in solidarity of Yes On 3 an initiative to uphold transgender protections in public spaces.
- April 2019 – Mayor Driscoll for the first time ever flies the Transgender flag at Salem City Hall in support of Transgender Day of Visibility
- June 2019 – For the second year in a row a Transgender flag is raised during the annual Pride Flag Raising Ceremony
[Some excerpts for the above list were provided by the Mayor’s Office]