Xtra West celebrated its annual Community Achievement Awards, May 15. People from all over BC gathered at Celebrities to honour the best and brightest of our lesbian and gay communities.
It was an afternoon of riotous fun and laughter, heart-warming moments and even a few tears. There were outstanding performances from Raving Theatre, Assaulted Fish, Justine Tyme and Yvette. There was a screening of a Mark Kenneth Woods short film. The whole celebration was brilliantly hosted by Billeh Nickerson.
Xtra West’s readers voted to nominate an amazing group of nominees this year. We’d like to thank all the readers who participated, and congratulate all the nominees and honorees one more time.
We’re delighted to be able to help celebrate and recognize the Heroes of our community.
Oh my god! My dad would be so proud of me. I fucked a girl and won an award!
…I feel really moved. It’s very flattering to be nominated, it’s encouraging, it’s exciting and it makes me love the world a little more to be recognized.
I think, being gay, you spend a long time growing up feeling like nobody understands you. You win an award and people recognize you. It makes you feel more present in the world. It’s very nice. It’s very rewarding.
–Michael V Smith who was honoured, along with Amber Dawn and lisa g, as Visual Artist of the Year for their short film Girl on Girl.
I am still in shock. I would have never expected it. I’m one of those people who likes to sit behind the scenes. I’m really happy and I’m proud. I’m proud for our program and for everyone else.
–Liana Eadie who was honoured as Youth Activist of the Year for her work as program coordinator for Safe Spaces East Kootenays.
I need to just explain to everybody now our league is a mixed league. It is all women, but it is a mixed league and the reason we have to keep raising the fees is because of all the toaster ovens we have to buy every year.
–Tracy Wells who, along with her
partner Arwyn Gierak, was honoured as Athlete of the Year for her commitment to the women’s floor
Thank you guys so much. I was looking for a new diaphragm and this’ll do great.
I’d like to thank everybody so much for actually supporting drag in Vancouver. I lost last year so I’m very happy to win this year, and you’re lucky too.
–Justine Tyme who gave a sidesplitting performance and was honoured for Drag Queen of the Year.
We were creating the very first organization in Canada that was responding to this thing called HIV/AIDS. I went up to city hall to see a brand new rookie councillor and said, ‘there’s a grant coming to you for something called AIDS Vancouver. I’m asking you to support it no matter what. In fact, I want you to champion it, not just support it.’ He actually did. As a result of his action, the very first funding for HIV/AIDS came from the city of Vancouver. That rookie councillor, believe it or not, was Gordon Campbell.
I reminded him of this about ten years later. I’d like to remind him again.
–Alan Herbert who received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his years of contributions to the gay community.
Oh my god! This is amazing. Did I sleep with
As somebody who writes for the straight press, it’s been my privilege to be able to work with some really great editors. I want to thank the editors at the Georgia Straight for saying yes to me. They’ve given me a voice I never thought I could ever have.”
–Guy Babineau who was honoured as Writer of the Year for his work in the Georgia Straight.
It’s really a privilege to know of the other people who won this award in the past. Some of them are national celebrities in the arts and civil rights and to think that my name might be along with them is something that I’m still getting used to…
I’ve been very lucky. I’ve been in the right place to meet some of the brightest, most energetic, dedicated and sincere people anyone could ever hope to.
All I did was offer my ideas and energy. You know what? It wasn’t work. It was all fun. I really enjoyed it. I’ve always been on that cutting edge just by chance. I’m still there, I have to tell you, and I’m very happy about it.
What this award means is an expression to me of your appreciation for some of the things I’ve done and that it’s okay to continue. You see there are still things that need to be done and I can tell you where I’m headed right now as the number one issue on my list is to keep St Paul’s hospital on Burrard.
–Alan Herbert, this year’s Lifetime Achievement
This is a message to all you young folks. It’s a message for you to go out there and amaze us. Just amaze us. The things we have done should be a shadow of what you will do in the future.
The AIDS Memorial really is a tribute to all of you and it is you who I have to thank for all the courage and encouragement to continue on the fight. Thanks to all the moms, the lovers, the sisters, brothers and cousins who said thank you for carrying on with this.
–Ed Lee who was honoured as Community Hero of the Year for finally unveiling Vancouver’s AIDS Memorial after years of hard work and determination.