Award Categories
PA Diversity Network
Award Celebration
PDNAWARDSlogo08 copy

The first annual GLBT Community Awards Celebration honoring individuals that have served the GLBT community through activism, advocacy, volunteerism and leadership. All paid PA Diversity Network members are eligible to nominate individuals in both the greater Lehigh Valley and Berks County, in a variety of categories for awards at the Allentown Brerw Works was a huge success!!!! Over 100 people attended!

Scroll down the page to read see the list of 2008 winners...


Click here if you are interested in sponsoring next year's event event.
Click here to order event tickets for next year


Attending this event was Mayor Pawlowski of Allentown who welcomed and congratulated the award winners. Stephen Glassman, Chair of the PA Human Relations Commission represented Governor Ed Rendell, and read an official greetings from the Governor. State Senator Pat Browne and State Representative Jennifer Mann each sent individual letters of congratulations to each award winner. State Representative Joe Brennan sent a letter congratulating all the award winners. Over 100 people attended this event including former Allentown City Council Woman Gail Hoover and current Allentown Councilman Mike Donovan, who stopped by at the end of the event.


Speaking Order -
PDN President Patricia Sullivan
Mayor Ed Rendell
PA Human Relations Commission Chair Stephen Glassman
PDN Executive Director Liz Bradbury

Opening Comments by Liz Bradbury, Executive Director of PA Diversity Network.

This is an historic moment in our community, not only for this important first annual awards ceremony honoring those who have served our community - many of them for years, whose recognition is long overdue... but because today, this is the first day in history of the United States, that any same-sex couple in the United States could obtain a marriage license and get legally married in California.

Everyone of those local PA couples in our Photo Project, is seen by Pennsylvania as strangers to one-another...but today, we can legally marry in California and this is the first domino in the row to achieve equality and fairness.

And we all have to support the fair-minded workers in California, because they will be facing a Constitutional Amendment in November that could tear these rights away once again.

We have to band together and financially support this fight in California, just as we would fight any effort to Constitutionally ban the equal rights of any minority in this land.

Though voting on whether or not a group of people should have civil rights is wrong - and un-American, and contrary to every freedom this Nation Stands for, that’s what these conservatives have caused to happen in California, and we have to fight it.

We have to keep this legal right in place as the beginning of the end of our segregation from equality.

Now to the awards:

The Community Civil Rights Award:
This award honors elected or appointed government officials (former or currently serving) who have shown a consistent record of support for equality of GLBT civil rights.

We have two people who are to be honored:
-- Earl David Ball - An out and proud openly gay minister, who takes every chance he can to introduce people to his HUSBAND of 31 years Tim Hare, Earl was one of the prime leaders in securing the passage of the non-discrimination ordinance in Easton, working tirelessly to elect officials who would sponsor and pass the legislation, helping to get the legislation crafted, and serving as an openly gay appointed Human Relations Commissioner on the very first Commission for the City of Easton. The GLBT citizens of Easton would not have legal protection from discrimination were it not for the work of Commissioner Earl Ball.

-- Stephen Glassman -- Steve Glassmanis the highest ranked openly gay official in the State of Pennsylvania serving as the Chair of the State Human Relations Commission - which is a full time job and also a volunteer job. Steve has been working for the rights and equality of GLBT people in PA since he was in on the beginning of organizations like SPARC and Common Roads. Now, as the Commission Chair he can be relied on to make things happen when efforts toward equality and fairness are stalled. I know, I’ve been there when he has taken on those who just don’t get it, whether in Harrisburg, or in city governments, or regarding law enforcement, or legislation. Recently, I was in a meeting when Steve was calmly convincing a group of officials that they needed to change their ways, a voice in my head was saying - gee I’m glad he’s here.

The Transgender Activism Award:
This award honors transgender activists residing or serving within the Lehigh Valley or Berks County who work for the rights of the transgender community.

Rachel Thompson -- Rachel Thompson has be an outspoken advocate, writer, organizer and leader for the Transgender Community and with many GLBT groups, just some of her key efforts include bringing the Art Booth to Pride in the Park, fighting the referendum to remove the anti-discrimination ordinance six years ago, being a long time HAVEN facilitator, including organizing Haven proms and events ...just last month.

The Faith Community Activism Award:
This award honors individuals from the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender or Allied community who work with and between faith communities and organizations to promote equality and tolerance of GLBT community members within the context of faith and religion.

Patti Mittleman -- Since 1994, Patti Mittleman, the Jewish Chaplain and Hillel Director at Muhlenberg College, has been an active ally for GLBT equality. In the mid-1990's, at a time when there was little "lesbian and gay" activism at Muhlenberg, Patti worked with a group of committed students to form the first gay and lesbian group on campus. She has been a strong and loud voice for GLBT equality and HIV/AIDS awareness on campus since the mid-1990's and she continues to support GLBT students through faith outreach and general support every day.

Rev. Beth Goudy -- There is no doubt that Beth Goudy is a leader of the local GLBT Faith Community. Her efforts with the Metropolitan Community Church to outreach into the Community for GLBT equality include the National Freedom to Marry Celebrations and actions, writing progressive faith columns for the Morning Call, speaking out in ecumenical gathering at times when a GLBT voice needs to be heard, counseling those in the community in crisis, inclusive efforts toward racial and ethnic diversity, and a supreme effort to involve and welcome all the other local GLBT organizations in events, efforts, and outreach at MCC. When we successfully fought the anti-GLBT referendum in Allentown, Beth was there for every part - not only typing faster than lightning, but taking on some of the hardest, grimmest jobs - like standing outside churches asking people to decline to sign. She was always there.

The Community Arts Award:
This award honors Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual or Transgender individuals from the Lehigh Valley or Berks County for work in the arts (art, literature, music, or theater) to promote GLBT equality, awareness, visibility, or education.

Bill Sanders -- Artistic Director if Civic Theater Bill Sanders has brought GLBT works to the community theater forefront in Allentown continuously for many years. OK sure, a heck of a lot of community theater in the US is directed by gay men, but are they out gay men, really really out? So out that they announce it in the program of an excellent and mostly naked production of Love Valor and Compassion? ...with the PDN photo project in the Lobby - with Bill and Jason in one of the pictures...that’s out! From the Normal Heart, to the awe inspiring Angels in America, and most recently Love! Valor! Compassion! and others Bill is one of our most important voices to the larger community through art.

Sue Sneeringer -- Besides Sue’s column "Sooz Views" in the Valley Gay Press, Reading resident Sue Sneeringer has been a strong and steady force in the Arts Community, bringing GLBT and progressive themed plays to both Berks County and the Lehigh Valley for years. Places like the Reading Community Theater and Theater Outlet have featured works she wrote and plays she directed.

Clint Miller is the musical director of the Gay Men’s Chorus, bringing us great music with the guys, in their wonderful concerts. But Clint has also been around as an out activist working for equal rights in Allentown since the very first effort in favor of legal anti-discrimination laws in the 1970s. In those days, the City Council members demanded every speaker’s name, so they could harass the activists later, but didn’t let them speak in the meeting. Clint was there. And he’s still here, and it’s about time he was honored!

The Political and Civil Rights Activism Award:
This award honors Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual or Transgender political and civil rights activists residing or serving within the Lehigh Valley or Berks County.

Steve Black began The Pennsylvania Gay and Lesbian Alliance PA-GALA in 1997 after several years of local political activism. He worked tirelessly on the State Hate Crimes Bill to include sexual orientation and gender identity and organized it’s passage. It was the first piece of legislation in PA that even recognized the GLBT community. Before that , in law, we did not exist. He ran PA-GALA for ten years providing essential pro-GLBT equality voter information and helped to establish the 15th Congressional district as the 3rd largest concentration of GLBTA voters in the state - and demonstrated how powerful our vote could be, causing both Democrats and Republican candidates to seek endorsements from PA-GALA. The passage of both Allentown’s Non-discrimination Law and Easton’s Law happened in part because of Steve’s work with PA-GALA.

Bolton Winpenny -- Publisher of Panzee Press Bolton Winpenny began his magazine just a short time ago, but over the last year Bolton has created a fierce tool to bring important civil rights information to our entire community. Panzee, which is based in the Central part of the state and is a unique voice, has a huge outreach into not only Berks County and the Lehigh Valley but as far as the Poconos and as South as Baltimore. Bolton attended every meeting and rally held to fight the Constitutional Amendment and used Panzee to call on others to do so. He called me one day and suggested we use the Photo Project as a lobbying tool in Harrisburg. In one day, he took the Photo Project files and made them into the Panzee issue that featured every one of the 225 photos, paying for the production himself. Two days later, Bolton made sure that every state Representative and Every State Senator had a copy of the Photo Project and suddenly the Amendment was not just about some nebulous "them" any more, it was about real people... it was soon after that the Senate tabled the Bill. Here’s to Bolton.

The Community Health Award:
This award honors individuals from the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender community who promote and sustain the health and vitality of GLBT communities in the Lehigh Valley or Berks County.

Amber Brown - Amber Hartman Brown - worked to successfully create Spectrum, the GLBTQA Youth outreach group in Reading. She worked on the grant that made it happen and leads every meeting - the kids think she’s great - I’ve seen how they respond to her. And she uses part of the time to help our GLBT youth in Berks County learn about healthy choices, providing safe sex education, and other health programs. And she brings the same kind of healthy youth outreach as a board member to Reading Pride.

Dave Moyer -- Dave’s role in the health and welfare of the local GLBT community has been long and far reaching. He’s an outspoken knowledgeable voice at the Allentown Health Department and has been a longtime leader of FACT. He received many nominations for this award because of his unwavering commitment to the health of our community.

The Young Adult Leadership Award:
This award honors a Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Gay, young adult leader/activist (between the ages of 18 and 25) from the Lehigh Valley or Berks County who has organized activities/events/projects that promote or further GLBT equality or education.

Chris Alvaro -- (left) Chris is a rising junior at Muhlenberg College and is a board member for the Muhlenberg Gay Straight Alliance. He is also active within the Muhlenberg Theater Association. Chris has coordinated a number of events for the GSA including the 2008 Drag Ball and a fund raiser for PA Diversity raising $188.00 as a part of the Zanna Don\'t MTA production. He also volunteered for the GSA and PDN for the 2007 Bingo Event.

Anthony Rizzo - (right) Anthony is a talented writer who uses his words to help educate others on living the gay life. He researched and wrote an article for Gaydar Magazine about the history of the Stonewall Riots and why we celebrate Gay Pride. He has a promising future as GLBT activist.

The Youth Leadership Award:
This award honors a Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender or Allied youth leader/activist (high school student or individual under the age of 18) from the Lehigh Valley or Berks County who has organized activities/events/projects that promote or further GLBT equality or education.

Taela Brothers -- Taela Brothers is a regular member of the MCCLV Choir, B.A.S.I.C., and is a part of the newly-formed MCCLV theater company, recently sharing her singing and acting talents in their first launch/preview performances. She is slated to play a leading role in one of their upcoming shows of the first season. She is also very involved at the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Performing Arts, as well as other activities at MCCLV. She is an amazing young woman and young talent.

The Workplace Equality Award:
This award honors individuals from the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender community who exemplify strong leadership of a GLBT employee organization operating within the Lehigh Valley or Berks County.

Tracy Denton -- Tracy Denton has a long time history and commitment to GLBT equality in the workplace and the community. She helped to organize GLEE at Air Products and came out to coworkers at the first National Coming Out Day event there. She worked to write the entire Domestic Partnership Benefits plan to present to management at Air Products, and though it has not been put in place yet there, Tracy’s plan has served as a model for other local corporations to follow. She also wrote and implemented the original successful plan for HAVEN, and served for several years on the PA-GALA board, helping to write some of the key documents that beat the referendum effort to against Allenton’s Anti-Discrimination Law. She is a frequent speaker on GLBT issues in the workplace.

The Outstanding Community Volunteer Award:
This award honors volunteers from the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender community who exhibit strong commitment to the goals and objectives of their organization.

Jeri Farley -- Jeri Farley has been an active force in the GLBT Community of Berks County for two decades. Back when we were delivering the old PA-GALA Voters Guides 12 years ago - it was Jeri who volunteered to be in charge of giving them out in Berks. She’s been part of the Railmen for many years, an organization with a leather presence and a giving spirit - the Railman provide contributions to people who need health care, and ask no recognition for it. She was in on the first meeting of Reading Pride and Now, Jeri is serving on the Reading Pride Celebration Board having helped to organize last years successful event and currently working of the event for this year.

D.J. Landis -- DJ Landis has served every key GLBT organization in the Lehigh Valley Community. And not just as one of those board members who comes to meetings and then leaves without doing anything. She served actively on the Pride Board in the 1990s for 5 years. She was one of the first Board members of PA-GALA, taking every task seriously and completing everything she ever said she would do. She was a key worker against the referendum on Primary Day. And in the last 8 years she has been an essential member of the Metropolitan Community Church- helping to found Tejas, the women’s group, running significant efforts, ever present at the Freedom the Marry efforts, and doing real volunteer work at the church, every day she can. DJ is exactly the kind of volunteer we all really want - she completes every task she says she will do, and she does a lot of them, but she never volunteers for something she can’t finish. Here’s to DJ.

The Community Leadership Award:
This award honors individuals from the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender community who exemplify strong leadership of a GLBT community organization working within the Lehigh Valley or Berks County.

Richard Spangler -- Rich and his partner Ben Renkus have become a strong presence in the Berks GLBT Community. Rich is the President of Reading Pride Celebration and has seen to the dozens of details that helped the organization achieve last year’s successful festival. He has worked on many fundraisers and events, including both events at the Hotel Stirling - in so many ways they are too numerous to mention. Reading Pride Celebration runs so well in great part to Rich Spangler.

Shawn Bausher -- Shawn Bausher is the current president of Pride of the Greater Lehigh Valley and with the help of the current Pride Board has led the Pride organization in a stronger more inclusive direction reaching out and involving the entire community in an open and supportive way. Hard decisions had to be made about Pride last year, and they were done will intelligence, grace and major success. Thanks, Shawn!!!

The Community Ally Award:
This award honors individuals from the community for longtime activism in support of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender community in the Lehigh Valley or Berks County. This is our highest Ally award.

Yvonne Frey-Oppenheimer -- Yvonne is the leader of Reading PFLAG, and it really happens because of her. As a community ally, Yvonne has been present at every GLBT event in the Berks area in the last few years, lending strong and consistent support.

Don and Melinda Kohn are the strongest allies a community could have. Besides being the leaders of PFLAG, Don has served on numerous boards including HAVEN and the Freedom to Marry Day Committee. Melinda served on the PA Diversity Network Broad until just a few months ago, there she created the format for the PDN web site which is now the largest GLBT Friendly Web Site in the State. Don and Melinda run the PFLAG hotline and have been present at monthly PFLAG meetings for 10 years. There is also no effort in the local GLBT community that Don and Melinda have not been part of. From underwriting Haven’s prom to making scarfs for Freedom to Marry Demonstrators, they have been there. They are the PFLAG parents ...and soon...they are about to become PFLAG grandparents!

Tonight’s Top Awards

The Executive Director's Community Service Award
This award honors an individual chosen by the Executive Director of PA Diversity Network from the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender community for their initiative and commitment to a broad range of successful efforts to advance tolerance and equality.

Dona Cruciani -- Dona has served this community in many many ways. Topping the list is her work creating GLOW at PPL and helping to lead the successful effort to get Domestic Partner benefits at PPL. It was a job that took years and Dona was on it at every step. She has also served on the PA-GALA Board, was the liaison for the Allentown Democratic Party to PA-GALA and the GLBT Community. She ran successfully as an out delegate to the 2004 National Democratic Convention and went to the Convention representing the Pennsylvania and the entire US GLBT Community. She has brought major speakers to the community. She has been part of the state Democratic Committee, has been part of every local GLBT event, and currently serves as an openly gay member of the Allentown Human Relations Commission.

The President's Community Service Award
This award honors an individual chosen by the President of PA Diversity Network from the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender community for their initiative and commitment to a broad range of successful efforts to advance tolerance and equality.

Stephen Libby -- Steve Libby has been actively serving the GLBT community in some of the most creative ways ever, for over 12 years. Steve has managed to unite the partying community with the political community in just about every thing he does - from his documentary film company that produced the Lavender Lens movies and informational movies about the transgender and college GLBT communities, to the spectacularly glossy success of Gaydar that made it fun to read about activism. Steve is always there, and he has always made his efforts fundraisers for local community groups - everyone of them - Pride, PA Diversity, PA-GALA, the Gay Men’s Chorus, Haven, FACT, you name it. And he can write a funny VGP column in like, ten minutes. Think of how much more boring our community would be if we didn’t have Steve Libby.

The Honor Awards:
This award honors individuals from the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender community for longtime activism (more than ten years) in support of the GLBT community in the Lehigh Valley or Berks County.

William F. Bender - Bill, started his activism role in 1983 when he organized a community response to the then AIDS epidemic. The following year, he worked with area Clergy and Lay Board members of the Reading Urban Ministries to sponsor a community-based AIDS service organization for Berks County while offering the first "Buddy Trainings" out of his own home. In 1985, Berks AIDS Health Crisis was established first as an all volunteer and later that year he was able to hire staff due to Bill writing a grant through the PA Department of Health. Bill was the Board Chairman from 1985-1992 and again from 2004-2007 and continues to be a board member from the very beginning to the present in various capacities of Berks AIDS Health Crisis, Berks AIDS Network and Co-County Wellness Services. From 1992-1996, he was a Board member for the Rainbow Home of Berks County (AIDS Hospice). In 2005, Bill continued to look for new ways to advocate for our community by working with the Berks County Community Foundation to Help establish the Diversity Alliance Fund and sponsored the first "mixer" at Adrienne Inn at Centre Park, introducing the Funds concept to the local GLBT community.

Allyson Diane Hamm -- Arlene Baron nominated Allyson to be Grand Marshall of the Pride Parade a few years ago, by saying - "She works her ass off for this community". Allyson has been the Chair of Pride in 2000 and Co-Chair in 2001. She served on the PA-GALA Board for almost ten years. She was one of the top leaders of the effort to pass the Allentown Ordinance and beat the referendum. She helped to found the local interweave group at UUCLV, she is a HAVEN facilitator and has served on the Haven Board, she is part of the National Interweave Organization, she ran as an openly Bisexual candidate for State Democrat Committee and won the the County election with the second highest number of votes (6 were elected). She has served on the Allentown Human Relations Commission as the Vice Chair and a member of the executive Committee since 2001 and She ran the campaign of the most progressive members of Lehigh County Council. And she has served on many other boards and committees as well. Allyson has registered more people to vote, gotten more signatures on candidate petitions and gotten more people to the polls than all of us put together. Here’s to Allyson

Click here to see a full album of photos of the event celebration!!!!

For next year-----Please submit nominations and supporting materials on or before June 1st, 2009 using the PDN web site electronic nomination form, or by snail mail. Support letters may be sent by email or by snail mail.
(All nominations and support material must be received by June 1st)

PO Box 22902
Lehigh Valley, PA 18002
ATTN: 2008 Awards and Recognitions

For further information e-mail:

Letter of Support for 2008 Community Awards and Recognitions Guidelines

Using the criteria for the appropriate award, please describe your nominee and the outstanding accomplishments this nominee has achieved supporting the GLBT community. Please limit your submission to no more than two single-spaced 8 x 11 pages using the equivalent of 12 point Times New Roman type face. Supporting documentation should be limited to two additional pages. They may be e-mailed to
or snail mailed to:
PO Box 22902
Lehigh Valley, PA 18002
ATTN: 2008 Awards and Recognitions

Remember, the information you provide helps us learn more about the applicant so be specific. Thank you.

Name of award:


Letter of support by:

State: Zip Code:
Phone: e-mail:

How long have you known the nominee?
Relationship to nominee?
Please describe the nominee’s greatest strength(s)
Nominee’s organizational affiliations: