For the sixth year in a row, the Utah Pride Center will celebrate National Coming Out Day, held nationally every October 11, with a brunch and awards ceremony.
This year’s celebration in honor of the coming out process and the individuals and organizations that have served gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer Utahns will take place on Oct. 10 at the Sheraton Salt Lake City Hotel. John Cepek, president of the national Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, will be the day’s keynote speaker at the brunch. The Center will also honor the 2010 recipients of its Lifetime Achievement Award, Community Organization of the Year Award and Volunteer of the Year Award.
Marina Gomberg, the Utah Pride Center’s Director of Development and Marketing, said that the Center is pleased to have Cepek visit — especially because “he will be delivering some very big news to us on that day.”
“We’re very excited to have him and to be able to have that announcement made because it impacts us here in Utah,” she said.
Although past recipients Nikki Boyer, Joe Redburn and Becky Moss are still deliberating over the winner of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Center has announced the other two winners. Volunteer Chris Coon will receive this year’s Volunteer of the Year award for his three years of service at the Utah Pride Center as an administrative assistant..
“He has been incredible,” said Gomberg. “Day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year, he remains as happy and dedicated as the first day he started. We’ve been extremely lucky to have Chris as part of our staff not only because of his dedication but because of his spirit.”
The award for Community Organization of the Year will go to Salt Lake City’s PFLAG chapter, which Gomberg praised for its support in a number of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights causes.
“We’ve seen the impact of their work under the leadership of [President] Kathy Godwin, and the impact has been very positive,” she said. “We’re really glad to be able to award them for their great work this year.”
This year’s National Coming Out Day celebration will also be held on the last day of the Center’s inaugural Family Acceptance Regional Conference (Oct. 8-10). Geared towards making families safe and affirming environments for queer youth and toward keeping families with queer youth together, the conference is a perfect match for National Coming Out Day.
Because of overlap with the conference, Gomberg said that the Center hopes “this will be one of our largest NCOD celebrations.”
Registration for both the NCOD brunch and conference are open on the Utah Pride Center’s website, utahpridecenter.org. Sponsorship and table captain opportunities for the brunch are available.