LGBT+ activists and everyday heroes celebrated at 2020 GALAS awards

The LGBT+ community and its allies came from all across Ireland for an evening of celebration and remembrance.

The winner of the 2020 GALAS awards gathered on stage

The 2020 GALAS awards made a triumphant return to Dublin’s Mansion House last night. It was an opportunity for people, organisations and community groups from across the country to come together and recognise those who make our LGBT+ community great.

Hosted by the NXF (National LGBT Federation) and GCN, the awards were presented in style by the fabulous team of Anne Doyle, former RTÉ broadcaster and journalist, and writer, presenter and social media influencer, James Kavanagh. The community were out in force, ready for an evening of celebration, and each award recipient (and every nominee) received a huge round of applause for their sterling contributions to our rainbow community.

Caroline Keane, the Chair of the NXF, shared, “The GALAS saw us gather with friends and allies to celebrate and acknowledge the everyday heroes who are doing amazing work to improve the lives of LGBT+ people in Ireland and internationally. We have gained inspiration and affirmation from the GALAS, and we hope it will energise our community and allies to continue to work towards a fairer society for all marginalised groups.

“The GALAS was also the culmination of months of preparation by volunteers and supporters, and we appreciate the efforts of everyone involved in making it such a wonderful event.”

Lisa Connell, the Managing Editor of GCN, added, “The GALAS provide a platform to acknowledge, nationally and internationally, the ongoing commitment and dedication of people, in Ireland and all over the world, who make enormous contributions to the LGBT+ community by striving tirelessly in their efforts to build a fairer and more inclusive society.”

The 2020 GALAS awards person of the year was awarded to Evgeny Shtorn. The Kazakhstan born sociologist and LGBT+ activist was forced to leave Russia in 2018 and seek asylum in Ireland. He has been a vocal opponent of the Direct Provision system and in particular the treatment of LGBT+ people while in Direct Provision.

This year’s event also marked event also marked the celebration of the 40th birthday of the NXF, which was founded in 1979. Previous chairs of the organisation including founder David Norris, Eamon Somers, Tonie Walsh, Ailbhe Smyth, Olivia McEvoy and current chair Caroline Keane were all honoured on the night.

Rousing speeches and heartfelt thanks filled the Mansion House over the course of an exceptional night. Huge congratulations to all those who received awards, and all the nominees.

The recipients of 2020 GALAS awards and the nominees were as follows:

Community Organisation of the Year (paid staff): Shout Out

  • Gay Project
  • Outhouse
  • UP Cork Youth Group

Community Organisation of the Year (volunteer staff): Dublin Lesbian Line

  • ACT UP
  • Dublin Trans Peer Support Group
  • Equality For Children

Volunteer of the Year: Dr Aintzane Legarreta Mentxaka (‘Maken’)

  • Robbie Lawlor
  • Maureen Looney – Running Amach
  • Will St Leger – ACT UP

Event of the Year: Different Families, Same Love

  • Belfast Pride 2019
  • Call It Out Campaign Event
  • Dublin Pride 2019

LGBT+ Young Trailblazer: Esther Young

  • Seamus Byrne
  • Alannah Murray
  • Brandon O’Connor

LGBT+ Digital Change-Maker: Alexis Transition – Alexis Riva

  • The Big Gay Bucket List
  • Call It Out Digital Campaign
  • Cork LGBT Digital Archive – Orla Egan

Sports Award: David Gough

  • Dublin Front Runners
  • Emerald Warriors
  • Valerie Mulcahy

Noel Walsh HIV Activism: ACT UP

  • HIV Ireland
  • Robbie Lawlor
  • Andrew Leavitt

LGBT+ Ally: Holly Shortall

  • Educate Together
  • Senator Ged Nash
  • Siobhan O’Dea – GMHS

Outstanding Company: Arthur Cox Solicitors

  • Accenture
  • Dell Technologies
  • Fostering First Ireland

LGBT+ Role Model: Sara R Phillips

  • Eddie McGuinness
  • Adam Shanley
  • Ailbhe Smyth

LGBT+ Employee Resource Group: Bank of Ireland Pride Committee

  • AIB Pride Matters
  • Irish Life Pride Committee
  • Outlaw

LGBT+ Public Figure: Minister Katherine Zappone

  • Senator Jerry Buttimer
  • Councillor Owen Hanley
  • Jack Shaun Murphy
  • Senator Fintan Warfield

Arts and Entertainment: Acting Out – The Decriminalisation Monologues

  • LINC Drama Group
  • DJ Gerry Moore
  • Jack Shaun Murphy
  • Rodrigo Ternevoy

International Activist – Nayyab Ali (Pakistan)

  • Gilmara Cunha – Brazil
  • Zhanar Sekerbayeva – Kazakhstan
  • Syinat Sultanalieve – Kyrgyzstan

© 2020 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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