Individuals and groups were celebrated at this year’s glittering GALAs ceremony for advancing the cause of equality for LGBT people.
The seventh annual GALAS LGBT Awards were held in Dublin’s Mansion House on Saturday, February 27, where individuals and groups were recognised for their fight for equality and visibility in 2015.
Justice & Equality Minister Frances Fitzgerald, former President Mary McAleese and Journalist Ursula Halligan were among those who received a GALA award in recognition of their transformative role in making Ireland a better place for its LGBT citizens.
In a GALAS first, YesEquality and the Campaign for Gender Recognition were joint winners of the ‘Campaign of the Year’ award, reflecting a year of significant legislative advancements for the LGBT community. The International Award and bursary of €2,000 was awarded to Donny Reyes for his unstinting courage and bravery in his native Honduras.
In arts, Conor Horgan was honoured for his direction of Panti Bliss documentary, The Queen of Ireland, while drag performer Victoria Secret took home Irish Entertainment Personality of the Year. Street artist, Joe Caslin, won the award for Irish Arts/Literature.
Meanwhile, the ‘people of Ireland’ were the winners of the ultimate ‘People of the Year’ award for voting emphatically in favour of marriage equality in the historic 2015 referendum.
Campaign: Yes Equality & Campaign for Gender Recognition
Community Organisation (paid staff): Belong To
Employer: EY (Ernst & Young)
International Award: Donny Reyes, Honduras
Irish Arts/Literature: Joe Caslin
Irish Entertainment Personality: Victoria Secret
Irish TV/Film: Conor Horgan
Journalist (TV, Radio, Print): Ursula Halligan
LGBT Ally: Mary McAleese
LGBT Student Award: Laura Harmon – USI
Lifetime Achievement: Marriage Equality
Online Award: Get the Boat to Vote/Home to Vote
Person of the Year: People of Ireland
Political Figure: Frances Fitzgerald
Sports Award: Dublin Front Runners
The Noel Walsh HIV Activism Award: Deirdre Seery
Voluntary Organisation: Running Amach
Volunteer: Sheila Crowley
Olivia McEvoy, Chair of the National LGBT Federation (NXF), stated, “Since their inception seven years ago, the GALAS have provided a perfect showcase to honour those amazing and often unsung heroes, who through their work and advocacy, have helped to place Ireland at the vanguard of progressive social change regarding LGBT equality.
“In the past year alone we have secured marriage equality, a gender recognition law rooted in best human rights practice, legislation which recognises the rich diversity of Irish family life in all its forms, and stronger protections for LGBT employees. These hugely positive developments were only secured through the extraordinary vision, tenacity, commitment and strategic effort of the LGBT community and our allies, and we are delighted to have the opportunity through the GALAS to celebrate them in such a public way”.
© 2016 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.