Advancing LGBT Civil Rights
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Equality Forum Timeline


1993

PrideFest Philadelphia is founded by Malcolm Lazin and other Philadelphia activists. The first PrideFest event hosts 15 regional organizations presenting substantive programs over a weekend.


1994

The scope of PrideFest Philadelphia doubles, with 30 regional organizations presenting programs.


1995

PrideFest Philadelphia grows to include 45 regional organizations presenting programs over a three-day weekend.


1996

The Board of Directors gives PrideFest Philadelphia a national direction and creates the National Gay and Lesbian Leaders Symposium in collaboration with National Public Radio (NPR).

The first annual National Role Model Award is presented to the Rev. Barry Stopfel, the first ordained openly gay Episcopal priest.


1997

PrideFest Philadelphia expands to five days.

Jamie Nabozny, a high school student, receives the National Role Model Award for filing the first successful law suit against a school district for failure to protect students against homophobia.

Additional national programs and SundayOUT! are presented.


1998

PrideFest Philadelphia receives a 501(c)(3) designation from the Internal Revenue Service.

Phil Donahue, the first major television host to accurately portray gay and lesbian people and issues, receives the third annual National Role Model Award.

Fifteen rainbow flags decorate Center City for PrideFest Philadelphia. The rainbow flag display becomes an annual tradition.

New programs include the National Religious Colloquy, National Workplace Symposium, National History Project and the Jim Wheeler National Youth Panel.


1999

PrideFest Philadelphia changes its name to PrideFest America and expands to seven days.

Svend Robinson, the first openly gay Canadian member of Parliament, receives the fourth annual National Role Model Award.

New programs include the International Arts Award, presented to Paul Cadmus; the National Media Panel; and the Local/State/Federal Political Action Panel.


2000

The first annual art exhibit is presented: an Andy Warhol exhibit in collaboration with the Andy Warhol Museum.

The National Role Model Award goes to Steve May, an Arizona Republican state legislator and Reserve officer who successfully challenged his military discharge under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

New programs include the National Family Values Panel and BB"Q."


2001

The first international component is introduced with the International GLBT Human Rights Panel, presented in collaboration with Amnesty International and the International GLBT Human Rights Commission.

The second annual art exhibit, Artistic Alternatives, comprises approximately 50 works by Robert Rauschenberg, Keith Haring, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol and David Hockney.

"Gay Pioneers," a documentary film directed by award-winning PBS filmmaker Glenn Holsten is produced in collaboration with Philadelphia PBS affiliate, WHYY. The film chronicles the first gay and lesbian civil rights demonstrations, the "Annual Reminders," which took place each Fourth of July from 1965 to 1969, paving the way for the Stonewall Uprising and the New York Gay Pride Parade.

Sister Jeannine Gramick receives the National Role Model Award for ministering to and advocating for gays and lesbians in defiance of Vatican admonitions.

The International Arts Award is presented to Sir Ian McKellen.


2002

MTV Networks receives the National Role Model Award for its contribution to social change through comprehensive inclusion of GBLT issues in its programming.

The annual art exhibit provides a retrospective of photographer Tseng Kwong Chi.

The streets of Center City Philadelphia are lined with 150 rainbow flags.


2003

The Board of Directors votes to change the organization's name to Equality Forum. The name reflects a broadened mission and an international scope. Germany becomes Equality Forum's first Featured Nation.

Equality Forum 2003 offers 76 programs and events.

Programs for GLBT youth are highlighted, including the fourth annual art exhibit, Exuberance!, presented in collaboration with The University of the Arts; an underage party; and programs and workshops. The National Role Model Award goes to Mike Glatze and Benjie Nycum, cofounders of Young Gay America.

Equality Forum produces the documentary "JIM IN BOLD," directed by award-winning PBS filmmaker Glenn Holsten. The film depicts the devastating impact of homophobia on GLBTQ youth contrasted with stories of hope and courage from GLBTQ teens nationwide.

New programs include the International Equality Dinner, honoring Ford Motor Company Vice Chair and CFO Allan Gilmour with the International Business Leadership Award.


2004

Equality Forum names Canada the Featured Nation with 24 Canadians participating as moderators, panelists, entertainers and honorees.

Martin Cauchon, a Canadian Attorney General, receives the annual International Role Model Award for his support of marriage equality.

The annual art exhibit features the photographic works of Ryan McGinley and David Hilliard.

After a 10-month communication with CEOs and HR Directors, Equality Forum announces that 403 (80%) of the 2003 FORTUNE 500 companies have included sexual orientation protection in their nondiscrimination policies—up from 323 (64.6%).

Equality Forum initiates Project 1138 to highlight the 1,138 federal marital protections and benefits denied to same-sex couples.

Equality Forum premieres a re-edited "Gay Pioneers," a documentary coproduced with WHYY/PBS about the start of the gay and lesbian civil rights movement, prior to Stonewall. "Gay Pioneers" is named "Best of the Year" by The Advocate.


2005

Equality Forum 2005 with the National Celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the GLBT Civil Rights Movement features more than 70 programs, parties and special events with 105 nonprofit organizations and 28 national and international GLBT executive directors participating.

The 2005 art exhibit, Trespass: Violating Male Spaces, features the work of Arthur Tress, gay photography pioneer.

Jean Chrétien, former Prime Minister of Canada, receives the 10th annual International Role Model Award. IBM receives the International Business Leadership Award.

Equality Forum holds its first major concert at Penn's Landing with headliner Cyndi Lauper.

Equality Forum screens "JIM IN BOLD" with a 75-minute panel discussion at the 2005 annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association.


2006

With China as the Featured Nation, Equality Forum honors Chinese gay pioneer Zhou Dan with the 11th annual International Role Model Award at the International Equality Dinner.

More than 70 programs, parties and special events are presented, including an expanded SundayOUT! and the Equality LIVE! Concert starring three-time Grammy nominee Taylor Dane.

The seventh annual art exhibit features photographers B. Proud and Maria Martinez-Cañas.

Equality Forum premieres its third documentary film, "Saint of 9/11," about the life of Father Mychal Judge, Chaplain of the New York Fire Department.

Equality Forum launches GLBT History Month.


2007

The annual Equality Forum honors Martina Navratilova with the 12th annual International Role Model Award at the International Equality Dinner.

At Equality Forum 2007, GALA Choruses presents its 25th Anniversary Concert, featuring members of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, New York City Gay Men's Chorus and Anna Crusis Women's Choir. 

In collaboration with workplace groups at the United Nations, the World Bank and European Institutions, "GLBT Rights as Human Rights" is the international focus.

The annual art exhibit features the photography of Zoe Strauss and Gabriel Martinez.

Equality Forum creates an initiative to analyze the voting patterns of gay neighborhoods in the 2007 Philadelphia mayoral primary, confirming that the gay vote can be identified and that the community constitutes a voting bloc.

More than 300 collaborating organizations provide a link to the GLBT History Month Icon videos on their Web sites.


2008

The annual Equality Forum features 34 substantive programs, 14 panels and 15 special events.

Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico receives the 13th annual International Role Model Award.

Gays and Lesbians in the Muslim World is the international focus with a panel discusssion, the Philadelphia premiere of the documentary film, "A Jihad for Love," and a Conversation with Irshad Manji at the National Constitution Center.

The work of Duane Michals is featured in the ninth annual art exhibit.

Equality Forum announces that 472 (94.4%) of the 2008 FORTUNE 500 voluntarily include sexual orientation in their employment nondiscrimination policies.

More than 500 collaborating organizations provide a link to the GLBT History Month Icon videos on their Web sites.


2009

The annual Equality Forum features over 50 programs, parties and 15 special events.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom receives the 14th annual International Role Model Award.

The New York Times Company receives the 7th annual International Business Leadership Award.

Challenges of the Russian GLBT Community is the international focus.

The work of Hollywood’s preeminent illustrator Richard Amsel is featured in the 10th  annual art exhibit.

The 12th annual National Religious Colloquy features A Conversation with Bishop Gene Robinson.

Three of the area’s  leading choral groups, Anna Crusis, The Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus and the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, perform together for the first time in the Voices of Equality concert.

The National Equality Rally at Independence Hall made history in the same location as the first gay and lesbian demonstrations each Fourth of July from 1965-1969.

GLBT History Month increases Web traffic 800%, with 5,000,000 hits, 220,000 unique visitors, and over 650 collaborating organizations.


2010

The 18th annual Equality Forum featured over 50 programs, parties and special events.

Attorneys David Boies and Ted Olson received the 15th annual International Role Model Award.

CNN received the 8th annual International Business Leadership Award.

GLBT Rights and Challenges in Africa wass the international focus.

The 11th Annual Gay & Lesbian Art Exhibit in collaboration with The University of the Arts featured the work of photographers Richard Renaldi and Marc Yankus.

A tribute to renowned choreographer Brian Sanders was held at the Merriam Theatre.

SundayOUT! was held at The Piazza in Northern Liberties, with more than seven hours of live and Jumbotron entertainment.

Over 100 same-sex couples, with more than 5,000 witnesses, reaffirmed their relationships in a National Same-Sex Commitment Ceremony at SundayOUT!

GLBT History Month 2010 had 5,000,000 Web hits, 1,800,000 page views, 240,000 unique visitors, and 700 collaborating organizations. Media coverage increased 72% over 2009 with more than 500 news stories.


2011

The 19th annual Equality Forum featured over 45 programs, parties and special events.

Lt. Dan Choi and Patrick Murphy, Esq. received the 16th annual International Role Model Award.

Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants received the 9th annual International Business Leadership Award.

LGBT Rights and Challenges in Latin America was the international focus.

The 12th Annual Gay & Lesbian Art Exhibit in collaboration with The University of the Arts featured the work of photographers Connie Imboden and Lorenzo Triburgo.

A tribute to renowned choreographer Zane Booker was held at the Merriam Theatre.

SundayOUT! was held at The Piazza in Northern Liberties, with more than seven hours of live and Jumbotron entertainment.

LGBT History Month 2011 had 50 million media impressions, 800 collaborating organizations, and 550 news articles.


2012

The 20th Anniversary Equality Forum featured over 40 programs, parties and special events.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker received the 17th annual International Role Model Award.

NBC Universal received the 10th annual International Business Leadership Award.

LGBT Rights and Challenges in Israel was the international focus.

The 13th Annual Gay & Lesbian Art Exhibit in collaboration with The University of the Arts featured the work of Israeli photographer David Adika.

SundayOUT! was held at The Piazza in Northern Liberties, with more than seven hours of live and Jumbotron entertainment, featuring Neon Hitch, Grupo Fuego Dance Company, and Israeli entertainers and DJ's.

LGBT History Month 2012 had 65 million media impressions, 900 collaborating organizations, and 570 news articles.


2013

The 21st annual Equality Forum includes 11 collaborating organizations. Equality Forum names Cuba the Featured Nation.

Congressman Barney Frank receives the 18th annual International Role Model Award and Exelon receives the 11th annual International Business Leadership Award at the International Equality Dinner. 
 
The 14th annual art exhibit presents photographic works by the contemporary Cambodian artist Vuth Lyno that represent LGBT identity and community in his country.

Mauckingbird Theatre Company remounts its critically acclaimed production of “Shakespeare's R & J” for Equality Forum. The play follows four young men at a boarding school who discover Shakespeare's “Romeo and Juliet” and assume all the roles.


2014

The annual Equality Forum names Canada the Featured Nation for a second time and celebrates the 10th anniversary of Canada’s legalization of same-sex marriage.

The 15th annual art exhibit features the photography of Lindsay Morris.

Equality Forum honors the NHL and the Burke Family with the 19th annual International Role Model Award and TD Bank with the 12th annual International Business Leadership Award. 

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane receives the Distinguished Equality Award, presented by Pennsylvania State Senator Anthony Williams.

Equality Forum dedicates the Philadelphia Conference historic marker designating the meeting place where 300 activists from across the U.S. organized the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. Held on October 14, 1979, the march included over 100,000 participants. Dustin Lance Black delivers the dedication’s keynote speech. Richard Burns, a march participant, attends.


2015

Equality Forum commemorates the 50th anniversary of the LGBT civil rights movement, July 2 through 5.

On July 4, Jim Obergefell, Edie Windsor, Judy Shepard, Bishop Gene Robinson, Wanda Sykes and other national leaders and entertainers, along with hundreds of guests, participate in the National LGBT 50th Anniversary Celebration and Ceremony at Independence Hall, where the Gay Pioneers held their first organized annual demonstrations (from 1965 to 1969) for lesbian and gay rights.

The celebration includes a Gay Pioneers tribute with a reenactment of the picketing, video and tributes. New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., Gay Men's Choruses perform "True Colors.”


2016

Jim Obergefell presents the International Role Model Award to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi at the International Equality Dinner. Among other important LGBT civil rights initiatives, Pelosi spearheaded the passage of a fully inclusive hate crimes bill and led efforts to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Equality Forum Founder and Executive Director Malcolm Lazin presents the Frank Kameny Award to former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, Chair of the Philadelphia Host Committee of the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

Equality Forum dedicates the Barbara Gittings Residence historic marker. The mother of the LGBT civil rights movement, Gittings lived in Philadelphia in the 1960s. During that time, she was the editor of the first lesbian magazine; she co-organized the Annual Reminders, held each Fourth of July at Independence Hall from 1965 to 1969; and she helped lead seismic changes in the American Library Association and the American Psychiatric Association. Mayor Anise Parker of Houston delivered the keynote speech.


2017

Equality Forum celebrates its 25th anniversary of LGBT civil rights activism.

U.S. Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania receives the 22nd Annual International Role Model Award and pioneering AIDS activist and LGBT History Month Icon Peter Staley receives the Frank Kameny Award.

Equality Forum dedicates two historic markers: one for the AIDS Library of Philadelphia and one for Dr. John Fryer.
The AIDS Library of Philadelphia, which began in 1987, was the nation’s first library to provide HIV/AIDS information and to help combat society’s fears about the epidemic at a time when the government’s response to the crisis was negligible.

John E. Fryer, M.D., a Temple University professor of psychiatry and family and community medicine, challenged the designation of homosexuality as a mental illness at the 1972 convention of the American Psychiatric Association (APA).


2018

Romy Diaz presents Equality Forum’s International Role Model Award to Christine Hallquist, a transgender woman and the Democratic nominee for Vermont governor, at the International Equality Dinner.

Pennsylvania State Senator Tony Williams presents the Frank Kameny Award to Rachel Levine, a transgender woman serving as Secretary of Health for the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Equality Forum presents the Pick Up Performance Co(s) production of “217 Boxes of Dr. Henry Anonymous,” a play about Dr. John Fryer, written and directed by Obie-Award winner Ain Gordon, with Executive Director and Founder of Equality Forum Malcolm Lazin as executive producer. Nightly talkbacks during the play’s run help illuminate the subject matter.


2019

Mel Heifetz, longtime LGBTQ activist and philanthropist, receives the Frank Kameny Award at the Equality Forum Awards Celebration, with special guest U.S. Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon, a Democrat representing Pennsylvania’s 5th District.

Sherenté Harris, a Native American Two-Spirit youth leader and champion powwow dancer, performs.

Born male, Harris, a 2019 LGBT History Month Icon, earned top prizes in competition, dancing in the style otherwise performed only by indigenous women.


 

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