Living up to the central theme of diversity, the stage at the third annual Diversity Honors saw the varied likes of drag queen TP Lords, string quartet Well Strung, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and celebrity DJ Tracy Young.
The May 6 fundraiser at Hard Rock Live in Hollywood benefits the Harvey Milk Foundation and the Pride Center at Equality Park.
Robert Boo, CEO of the Pride Center says, “We recognize local, state, national and international people who are activists advocating for our civil rights and helping to make the LGBT world a better place.”
Lords entertained throughout the evening, and Young DJ’ed the afterparty.
Emceed by WSVN-TV news anchor Craig Stevens, the honorees included:
David Norris: The Ireland senator was the first openly LGBT elected official in the upper chamber of any national parliament in the world, having been elected in 1987.
Isaiah Henderson: A survivor of the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Henderson was shielded from the attacker’s bullets by his mother, Brenda.
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: The first Hispanic woman elected to Congress was a co-founder of the Congressional LGBT Caucus and is the only Republican member to serve on the Congressional Transgender Rights Task Force. She is also the mother of Rodrigo, her transgender son.
Tiffany Arieagus: Arieagus is the supervisor of housing at SunServe in Wilton Manors and one of the organizers of Transgenderations, the first transgender organization in Broward County.
Tony Plakas: A former AIDS specialist for the Centers for Disease Control, Plakas came to South Florida in 1997 to head up the HIV prevention program for Compass Gay and Lesbian Community Center in Palm Beach County. In 1999, he was named the executive director of Compass.
Ilene Berliner: Berliner is a former board member of the Pride Center and a founding member of GLBX, an offshoot business group of the Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce.
Dan Hall: An attorney who is a major fundraiser for LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS nonprofit organizations, Hall also serves on the board of directors of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council.
Giselle Kovac: The interim executive director of the Miami Theater Center, Kovac is also a founding member of Unite Miami Shores and a board member of SAVE, a grassroots LGBT political group based in Miami-Dade County.
Jessica Norton: The mother of a transgender girl, Norton carefully guided her daughter Dori through preschool and elementary school. To negate as much bullying as possible, Norton joined the PTA board at Dori’s school and eventually became the president. She has recently been hired at the same school as a teacher and will work with staff and educators to bring awareness of transgender students’ needs and rights.
Patrick Piana: Piana is president and CEO of the Stoli Group, a major supporter and sponsor of LGBT events. Stoli recently launched a campaign to mark the 40th anniversary of Harvey Milk’s service. Stoli was one of the sponsors of the Diversity Honors event.