The 32nd annual Creating Change Conference takes place in Dallas on Wednesday, Jan. 15 through Sunday, Jan. 19 at the Sheraton Dallas. The National LGBTQ Task Force that stages the conference announced awards that will be presented at the conference.

SAGE Award for Excellence in Leadership on Aging Issues: Carmen Vasquez
Carmen Vasquez was born in Puerto Rico and grew up in Harlem, New York. Among her many accomplishments, Vasquez was the Founding Director of the Women’s Building in San Francisco, helped found the Lavender Youth Recreation and Information Center in San Francisco, and the LGBT Health & Human Services Network. She was a founder and principal author of Causes in Common (a national coalition of Reproductive Justice and LGBT Liberation activists). Her essays have been published in several anthologies and she has made scores of keynote presentations at conferences and college campuses across the United States. Vasquez is the Co-Chair of the Woodhull Freedom Foundation Board of Directors and the former Director of LGBT Health and Human Services.

Haas, Jr. Award for Outstanding LGBTQ Leadership for Immigrant Rights: Stephanie Cho
Stephanie Cho is the Executive Director for Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta. She brings 20 years of experience in labor and community organizing, strategy planning, and fundraising at the local and national level. Under her leadership over the last three years, AAAJ-Atlanta has worked to protect DACA and end local law enforcement cooperation with ICE. Originally born in South Korea, Cho grew up in Oregon. In 2015, she co-authored “Beyond the Binary: A Tool Kit for Gender Identity Activism in Schools.” Last year, she was a Grand Marshal for Atlanta Pride.

The Leather Leadership Award:  Judy Tallwing McCarthy
Judy Tallwing McCarthy has been involved in the leather/BDSM world since 1969; and, in 1987, became first International Ms. Leather. That same year, she was the leather community’s keynote speaker at the 1987 March on Washington. She has also served as Co-Chair of the National Leather Association from 1988-1992. She is widely credited for helping change the focus of leather to community activism. Judy Tallwing McCarthy continues to judge, teach, and speak at various leather events and has been honored with numerous awards from the leather community. Of Apache, Tewa, and African descent, Judy Tallwing McCarthy has raised raising six biological children (with 25 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren) and nurtured and protected numerous “leatherkids.” Judy Tallwing McCarthy will be the first woman of color to receive the Leather Leadership Award.

The Susan J. Hyde Award for Longevity in the Movement, sponsored by Wild Geese Foundation: Monica Roberts
Monica Roberts is the founding editor of the award winning TransGriot blog, and a longtime award-winning human rights advocate.  She has been advocating for the human rights of transgender people for more than 20 years, with a focus on the issues affecting Black trans people. Her writing has appeared at, the Advocate, Black Girl Dangerous, Dallas Voice and in the ‘Unapologetically Trans’ monthly column in Houston’s OutSmart magazine. Some of the honors that Roberts has received are the 2018 GLAAD Media Award, the Robert Coles Call of Service Award from Harvard University’s Phillips Brooks House Assn, the Virginia Prince Transgender Pioneer Award, the Barbara Jordan Breaking Barriers Award from the Harris County Democratic Party, the IFGE Trinity Award, and being named to the 2019 OUT100.

— David Taffet