PFLAG Queens Chapter 2020
Awardees Bio's
Awards celebration done given via zoom to be held 2/28/2021

28th Annual Morty Manford Awardee

photo of Morty Manford Award Recipient Bill Meehan

Bill Meehan moved to Brooklyn last year and resides at Stonewall House, an LGBTQA+ Senior Residence, which is sponsored by SAGE. Since moving in he has been involved in organizing a Tenant Association, an effort to turn a residence into a community.

Bill is still very involved in Queens. He currently serves on a number of Boards….Queens County Neuropsychiatric Institute, Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens, New Visions Democratic Club, Friends of Diversity Plaza, Queens Pride and St Pats For All. Prior to his recent move Bill served on Community Board 3, AARP, Kehillah and as a Site Coordinator for the Board of Elections.

For the past 19 years he has been an active member of Citizens Union’s Local Candidates And Policy Committees.

A grandson of immigrants, Bill is active in his support of the immigrant community, a voice for reform, a defender of the right to seek asylum, employment and housing. For the past ten years he lived with recently arrived Guatemalans, and is the legal guardian of one…..a role he takes very seriously.

As an openly gay man he is mindful of the words of Dr. King “No one is free until we all are free.”, and these words are a guide to and a call for living and working in intersectional arenas.

I am grateful, and honored to be a recipient of the Morty Manford Award and humbled to be joining a long list of former honorees. I am grateful for the work of PFLAG. Too many of Queens young people still have difficulty in coming out and acknowledging their true self. PFLAG is there to help families be families in accepting and loving each other.

24nd Annual Carmel Tavadia Memorial Awardee

photo of Carmel Tavadia Memorial Award Recipient Liz de Jesus

In 2007, Liz’s son invited her to attend Pittsburgh Pride, where she was introduced to the PFLAG Pittsburgh chapter. Now a 10-plus year member of the chapter, she served for two years as the chapter Vice President and Advocacy Chair, then spent three years as the chapter president, finally continuing on for an additional two years as a past-president advisor. Liz then took the skills and knowledge she gained in those roles and applied it to broader work, serving for six years as Pennsylvania state coordinator. As state coordinator, she had the opportunity to mentor other chapter leaders as she had done with the leaders that followed her in her own chapter, as well as provide peer-to-peer support to PFLAG leaders and members across the entire state.

Liz has facilitated support groups not just for her own chapter but as a formal facilitator across multiple PFLAG chapters in the Western Pennsylvania area. She also served as a member of her local Speakers Bureau, and established the first support group in her local tri-state area for families of trans and gender-expansive people. That work led her to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, where she provides support for families through their adolescent medicine program, and their transgender clinic. Liz also volunteers with the Shepherd Wellness Community which provides support for individuals and families affected by HIV and AIDS.

Liz is married with three adult sons, five grandchildren, and very proud to call herself a PFLAG Mom. She looks forward to working with all, especially the North Atlantic Region chapters, striving to achieve the changes necessary to bring about a society that embraces and respects diversity.

16th Annual Brenda Howard Memorial Awardees

photo of Brenda Howard Memorial Award Recipient #1 Lani Ka’ahumanu

Lani Ka’ahumanu came out as a lesbian in 1976. In 1980 she realized she was bisexual and came out again! Lani is a poet, author, educator and a grandmother. She is a community organizer, activist and like Brenda a long time agitator. In 1982 she published – Biphobic, some of my best friends are… in a lesbian newspaper. She co-founded the first feminist bisexual political action group BiPOL [1983], was a co-organizer of the San Francisco Bay Area Bisexual Network [1987], co-founder of BiNet USA [1987/90]. One of 18 speaker’s Lani represented bisexuals on the mainstage at the 93 March on Washington. She facilitated sex, body and age positive HIV/STI safer sex workshops from 1992-02.

Since 1980 she’s challenged the casual and callous disregard of bisexual people within the lesbian and gay movement and organizations and in the HIV/AIDS/health industry. She has a 45+ year career instigating and organizing social justice actions, campaigns and cultural events and mobilizing others to do the same. Ka’ahumanu is often regarded as the strategic political architect of the early U.S. bisexual movement. Lani and Loraine Hutchins co-edited the groundbreaking feminist anthology Bi Any Other Name ~ Bisexual People Speak Out [1991]. She is once again working to finish her activist memoir ~ My Grassroots Are Showing: movement stories, speeches, & special affections [working title] and completing a book of poetry, Passing for Other: Primal Creams & Forbidden Dreams -- a collection of her previously published, unpublished and new work. Lani is Kanaka Maoli and stands in solidarity with the Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement.

photo of Brenda Howard Memorial Award Recipient #2 Loraine Hutchins

Loraine Hutchins teaches a variety of multi-disciplinary sexuality courses at Montgomery College, a community college on the DC/MD border.

She is a 4th generation Washingtonian and a life-long multi-issue social justice activist. Co-editing and promoting the first edition of Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out with Lani Ka’ahumanu in 1991 led to co-founding BiNet USA – the National Bisexual Network, on whose first board of directors she served.

She directed BiNet’s media efforts for the 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation and co-founded Wash., DC’s AMBi, the Alliance of Multicultural Bisexuals.

In 2001 she earned her doctorate in Cultural Studies . Her dissertation, Erotic Rites, investigates sex-positive spiritual paths and contemporary erotic rituals from a queer feminist perspective.

She graduated with the first class of sexological bodyworkers certified by the San Francisco Institute for the Advance Study of Human Sexuality in 2003.

In 2011 she co-edited the Routledge anthology, Sexuality, Religion and the Sacred: Bisexual, Pansexual and Polysexual Perspectives, with H. Sharif Williams (aka Herukhuti) and has contributed chapters and articles in numerous scholarly publications before and since.

In 2011 she was named one of the Top LGBT Leaders in History by The Bilerico Project and in 2010 received Wash., DC’s Rainbow History Archive Pioneers Award.

She was honored in 2005 by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force with its Outstanding Leadership Award and served as the first ever Bi Grand Marshall of Washington, DC’s Pride parade in 1998, having marched, alone, as a bi contingent of one, in DC’s Pride parade first back in 1985.

During the Obama administration she presented at several White House roundtables on bisexuality for a group of federal policymakers. Most recently she wrote a history of the U.S. bisexual rights movement for the National Park Service’s LGBTQ history study (which is now being published as a hardback book) and contributed a chapter on the same topic to Routledge’s LGBTQ History series.

Hutchins was one of the few non-historians to be asked to write for this collection. She also worked as grants administrator for an environmental philanthropy for many years and contributed her books and papers to Smith College Women’s History archives collection and Goddard College’s human sexuality studies program.

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Last updated 2/14/21 by LDN