Friday, September 25, 2009

Lambda Literary Foundation changes

As some of you already know I'm on the board of the Lambda Literary Foundation. We've been going through some changes lately:

Lambda Literary Foundation Announces Interim Changes in Board of Trustees, Executive Director Position

September 25, 2009 - Effective immediately, Christopher Rice has resigned as President of the Board of Trustees. Katherine V. Forrest has stepped into the role on an interim basis.

Forrest will be working directly with Tony Valenzuela, appointed by the board to serve as interim Executive Director while the Foundation continues its nationwide search for candidates for the permanent position.

"Tony brings to us a remarkable background in the worlds of LGBT literature and nonprofit organizations along with a history of activism," comments Katherine Forrest. "Along with this he has considerable experience in management strategic planning, fundraising, budget administration, marketing and promotional work, and events planning. We're very fortunate to have someone like Tony on board to work with Charles Flowers in ensuring a smooth transition to the next era of LLF."

Tony Valenzuela was born in Los Angeles and raised both in Guadalajara, Mexico and Southern California. A graduate of the MFA in Creative Writing program of the California Institute of the Arts, Valenzuela is a longtime community activist and writer whose work has focused on LGBT civil rights, sexual liberation and gay men’s health. For the past six years he worked as the Manager of Research and Administration at GLASS (Gay & Lesbian Adolescent Social Services) in what was the largest and oldest LGBT child welfare organization in the country serving abused and neglected LGBT youth. It was during this time that he first became involved with the Lambda Literary Foundation sitting on the Lambda Literary Awards host committee, then co-producing the awards ceremony “In Memoriam” videos for 2007 and 2008.

As the Administrative Director of the Lesbian and Gay Men’s Community Center in San Diego in the early 1990’s, he spearheaded campaigns ranging from anti-gay hate crimes awareness to the needs of LGBT youth in schools. As the Director of VOICES ’96 (Voters Organized in Coalition for the Elections) he gained national recognition for orchestrating a massive grassroots community response to the homophobic and racist platforms of the Republican National Convention held in San Diego during which time his organization, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, successfully sued the RNC for the right to protest directly in front of the San Diego convention center. In the late 90’s Valenzuela became a leading voice of the Sex Panic movement drawing attention to the municipal crackdowns of commercial sex spaces throughout the country and advocating a renewed pro-sex politics in the queer community. Perhaps most notably – and controversially – he is credited as having ruptured the conventional wisdom in HIV/AIDS prevention among gay men by launching an international debate regarding responsible sex without condoms and continues to this day to be a leading voice in the gay men’s health movement. For his work on sexual politics, Out Magazine listed him among the “Out 100” of 1997, naming Valenzuela one of the gay community’s most influential leaders. In the early 2000’s Valenzuela wrote, produced and performed his acclaimed one-man show, “The (Bad) Boy Next Door,” a second generation AIDS narrative which toured in a dozen cities in the U.S. He has continued to publish essays, fiction and journalism and is currently working on a memoir. He lives in Los Angeles with his husband, Rob Ferrante, and their dog, Boo.

More soon, including some clarification on the Lambda Literary Award guidelines.

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