The Gayborhood will be brimming with community organizations next weekend during the 19th-annual OutFest celebration, with two of the groups receiving special recognition for their longstanding commitment to the local LGBT community.
The Gilbert Baker National OutProud Award will be presented to LGBT health clinic the Mazzoni Center, and the OutProud Award will be given to the William Way LGBT Community Center.
Franny Price, executive director of Philly Pride Presents, which stages OutFest and Pride in June, said the organization selected Mazzoni for the national award because the clinic, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, has risen to the forefront of LGBT health organizations throughout the country.
“They’ve been serving the entire tristate area for 30 years and were actually the first organization to offer anonymous HIV testing at a Pride event, which was at OutFest in 1995,” Price said. “So we thought it’d be a perfect year to recognize all that they’ve done in the past 30 years.”
Nurit Shein, executive director of the Mazzoni Center, welcomed the award, which was named after the man who conceived of the rainbow flag as the symbol for the LGBT community.
“We’re very humbled and honored to receive this award,” Shein said. “In the same way that Gilbert Baker saw the diversity of our community, Mazzoni Center is about being there for every member of our community, every color of the rainbow. We are extremely proud to be serving this very diverse and wonderful community of Philadelphia.”
The William Way Center is likewise celebrating an anniversary — its 35th. Price said Philly Pride Presents chose the center for the OutProud Award, which recognizes accomplishments on a local level, because it has been “the main gathering point” for LGBT individuals for the past several decades, providing countless resources and programs designed to meet the needs of the city’s diverse LGBT population.
’Dolph Ward Goldenburg, executive director of the center, said the organization is “very excited to be honored by OutFest and Philly Pride Presents. It certainly is appropriate timewise; I think it’s always a good time to celebrate the center, but especially when we turn 35, it’s a great opportunity.”
Set to receive the OutStanding Youth Award is Khalil Nelson, a high-school senior who has been an active member of The Attic Youth Center for the past few years.
Carrie Jacobs, executive director of The Attic, said Nelson is the vice president of the agency’s Youth Planning Committee and also sits on the organization’s board of directors.
“He’s been really active in our programming and has participated in The Attic as well as represented our youth,” Jacobs said.
OutFest, the largest National Coming Out Day celebration in the world, will kick off at noon Oct. 11 and run until 7 p.m.
For more information, visit www.phillypride.org.