In celebration of its sixth anniversary, the Brooklyn Community Pride Center, which served more than 5,000 LGBTQ residents of the borough last year, held its Community Leadership Awards & Gala on April 23.
The DUMBO Loft event honored Desiree Akhavan, an Iranian-American filmmaker whose recent feature debut, “Appropriate Behavior,” tells the story of a young bisexual Persian immigrant living in Brooklyn and navigating the challenges of love and family in a new country; and Hudson Taylor, a former University of Maryland wrestler who as a straight man learned about the homophobia and transphobia that can pervade sports, and so founded Athlete Ally to promote acceptance and celebration of diversity in the sports world.
Akhavan was out of town on a film shoot, and her award was accepted by Jonathan Montepare, a line producer on “Appropriate Behavior.”
Taylor talked about how wearing a Human Rights Campaign sticker on his wrestling helmet gave him an unusual appreciation for the force of homophobia. In explaining his activism, he quoted the late South African freedom fighter and President Nelson Mandela, who said, “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers.”
In a touching speech, Bryanna Thomas-Price, a teenage woman, told the attendees how the Pride Center had turned her life around, redeeming her from a depression that made her worry she might hurt herself.
Dolph Ward Goldenburg, the Center’s interim executive director, prompted members of the crowd to pony up $12,000 on the spot to fund paid internships for six youths in the its Out Summer Leaders program, which offers them leadership and life skills while they do community outreach work.
The Center currently operates out of its office at 4 Metrotech Center downtown, with a $400,000 budget and two full-time and two part-time professional staffers. For more information, visit lgbtbrooklyn.org or call 347-889-7719.