The Lavender Community Awards edition is one of my favorite issues of the year. Have I told you the story yet? The one about how we got to doing it this way? When I came aboard this Lavender ship, we were doing a version of a “Best of” called the “Fab 50.” It relied on voting, finalists, and poring through surveys that told us that this community pretty much loves and shops at everything and everywhere. Then, we had a transition year when we did the Lavender100. We still did the “Best ofs,” but we added people to the issue—people, organizations, and corporations who you nominated to be recognized in an issue that’s all about the “bests.” Finally, we shed the rest of it and kept the people because, you know, that’s what sets us apart. Our people. I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face, this community is both just the same as—as well as just as diverse as—any other community in our society. What makes us so rich are our people. So here they are.
In these pages are 24 people and organizations deserving of your time and attention. I can’t tell you how many times my congratulatory message informing them of this recognition was met with, “What? But I don’t do anything! I don’t deserve this!” Then, as we went through the process of having them talk about where they’re involved and what they think of certain aspects of their lives and their communities, it became quite clear that they do so much for the advancement of our community and we are fortunate to have them on our team. And I hope they get this, too. I hope they understand that they have both played important roles as well as become important role models.
We couldn’t do this issue without you, the readers, who nominated these people to be honored in this way. You’ve kept your eyes and ears open, you let us know who needs recognition, and you elaborated very well on what they do to help the rainbow community as representatives of the community and its allies. That’s a very powerful thing to do, to be able to see someone else’s work and shine a light on them. Oftentimes, we think that the attention stops at those who receive awards, but it deserves to be shone on those who single them out for the honors as well. When we lift up others, we elevate ourselves at the same time.
Likewise, when a publication that has been around for over 500 issues calls out the unsung heroes, it elevates itself, as well. When what Lavender can be looked back on next week or in another 500 issues is marking significant people, happenings, and ideas of the rainbow community in this time and place in history, we maintain our relevance both now and into the future.
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to represent you, both to ourselves as a community, and to the greater society of which we are a part. Please continue to do what you do as ambassadors and citizens, as well as by lauding and lifting up each other.
With you and with thanks,