Welcome to Dallas Voice’s 2024 Readers Voice Awards celebrating our Crown Jewels — the best of the best of LGBTQ North Texas.

This year marks our 19th annual Readers Voice Awards. Because we are also celebrating the 40th anniversary of Dallas Voice this year (That special issue is coming up May 10 with a big Dallas Voice birthday party planned for May 11, so mark your calendars now!), we decided this year to kick the RVAs up a notch.

We did that first of all by fine-tuning our ballot and adding a whole new category honoring our amazingly talented and vibrant North Texas drag community. We also held our first-ever Readers Voice Awards Winners Announcement Party on Thursday night, March 21, at the Rose Room. It was an absolute blast; be sure to watch for photos from that event in upcoming issues of Dallas Voice.

Now, with all the formalities addressed, let’s get down to what you’re really here for: the winners! And let’s start with the numbers behind the winners:
• The 2024 Readers Voice Awards included 98 individual awards in eight categories.
• Voting for the 2024 Readers Voice Awards was open from Jan.1 through Jan. 31, 2024. During that time, thousands of votes were cast.
• The most votes — 1,126 — were cast in the Services category.
• The two awards in the Services category to get the most votes were Best Airline (Southwest Airlines) and Best Civil/Family Attorney (Lorie Burch, Burch Law).
• The individual award drawing the most votes was Best Karaoke Host (Wayne Smith) in the Shows category.

The team bringing you the 2024 Readers Voice Awards included:
Editor: Tammye Nash
Writers: David Taffet and Rich Lopez
Advertising: Leo Cusimano and Chad Mantooth
Ballot counting, technical support and website design: Jimmy Bartlett
Graphic design and layout: Kevin Thomas
Cover design, award graphics and marketing graphics: Cody Hutchison
Social media: Mathew Dominguez.

— Tammye Nash


Gage Baird wins RVA drawing

Everyone who voted in the 2024 Readers Voice Awards was entered into a drawing to win a fabulous package of prizes that included dinner for two at Cremona, two tickets to the Uptown Players show of their choice, $500 in cash AND — new this year to fit our Crown Jewels of North Texas theme — a gorgeous bejeweled crown of their very own.

This year’s drawing winner was Gage Baird, and we got him to answer a few questions for us so our readers could get to know him a little better.

— Tammye Nash

Your name? Gage Baird

Where do you live? I live in the heart of Dallas.

What kind of work do you do? I work in corporate healthcare as the manager of development strategy and special projects for USPI, focusing primarily on M&A integration and portfolio optimization. In addition to my “day job,” I also serve as the managing sponsor for our LGBTQ+ employee resource group, connecting like-minded individuals across our enterprise and advocating for a more accepting and diverse workplace.

Do you have any hobbies? In the scarce free time I find myself with, I value spending time with my friends. I’m blessed to have a core group of individuals to share life with, and we always manage to have a fun and exciting time. We spend a lot of time exploring all the wonderful restaurants and cocktail lounges that Dallas has to offer, and, on occasion, we’re able to get away to Broken Bow Lake (my home away from home).

In addition to time spent with friends and family, I serve as the chair of fundraising and development on the board of directors for Black Tie Dinner, the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ fundraising dinner. Although being a board member consumes a lot of extra time, the reward and joy this work brings is unparalleled. The beneficiaries that we support each year are so extremely critical to the North Texas LGBTQ+ community. My heart is filled with the work that these organizations are able to accomplish through the funds that Black Tie Dinner raises annually.

What about a significant other? My partner, Michael, and I have a beautiful Australian ahepherd named Sophie Grace and a spunky grey tuxedo cat named Millie Mae. In addition to walks around White Rock Lake, hosting friends at our house and sipping whiskey after a long day, we both thrive on traveling. From summers in Wisconsin and motorhome trips, to New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam, we find so much joy and relaxation when we’re able to get away from reality, and we grow closer to each other with every trip.

What made you decide to vote in the Readers Voice Awards? I voted in the Readers Voice Awards this year in an effort to highlight Black Tie Dinner as the best in LGBTQ North Texas for non-profits.

Have you voted in the RVAs before, or was this your first time? This was actually my first time voting in the Readers Voice Awards.

Do you have an idea yet which Uptown Players show you want to see? I plan to use my two tickets for Uptown Players to go see The Boys in the Band in August.

How are you planning to spend your prize money? I think I’ll spend my prize money treating myself to some self-care and relaxation with a spa day.

And where are you gonna wear that fabulous crown you won? I plan to dress up, put my crown on and have a fun, carefree night among my incredible community on the Cedar Springs Strip!