By Jeff Stone, DignityUSA Director of Media Relations
Dignity/New York presented its highest service award to GLAAD at its forty-fourth anniversary dinner, held on October 24 at the Salmagundi Art Club in New York City. Ross Murray, currently GLAAD’s programs director for the Global and U.S. South, accepted the chapter’s Charles Gormley Award on behalf of his organization. The Gormley Award, given annually for outstanding longtime service to Dignity and the LGBTQ community, was presented particularly in recognition and appreciation of GLAAD’s long history of offering vital assistance in media relations to Dignity/New York, DignityUSA, and many of our chapters and members across the country.
GLAAD’s help was especially valuable during the height of the media attention to the sexual abuse crisis in the Church, the struggle for marriage equality, and, more recently, the election and early papacy of Pope Francis, the unjust firings of LGBTQ employees from Catholic institutions, and DignityUSA’s increased focus on international LGBTQ issues. In addition to helping us hone our message and get it out through the media on numerous occasions, GLAAD staff have frequently attended our national conventions and offered media training to our spokespeople at the national and local levels.
DignityUSA President Lewis Speaks-Tanner, New York chapter secretary Jeff Stone, and Ross Murray gratefully acknowledged this long partnership in their remarks. Murray also highlighted what he saw as the ongoing vitality of Dignity, as we continue to bear witness that Catholic identity and LGBTQ identity need not be opposed; to hold the Vatican and the bishops accountable for words and actions regarding LGBTQ people that contradict Gospel values; and to work for the full inclusion and equality of LGBTQ people in Church and society, not in spite of our faith, but because of it.