EU’s Allies Dinner honorees cross age and ethnic gaps

Equality Utah’s 2017 Allies Dinner is ready to feed, slightly intoxicate, inspire and celebrate LGBTQ allies with the typically thousands of attendees at the annual event. This year, Chelsea Handler, a comedienne, activist and the host of her own Netflix talk show “Chelsea,” is keynote speaker. The edgy, outspoken and occasionally ridiculed Handler “is the perfect cure for the American Hangover!”

The Revolution Q Allies awardees this year include:

Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck
Earlier this year, Chavez-Houck was one opponent of HB 369 (Sexual Offenses and Statutory Nonconsent Amendments), which singled out HIV/AIDS. She countered, “I think I would argue that in some cases gonorrhea, related to unchecked gonorrhea and untreated gonorrhea, can be much more severe than treated HIV. I think there are also some other infections related to other STD’s. Chlamydia and syphilis are also rising, and I think that those are all very disconcerting types of STI’s. I’m still perplexed as to why HIV was identified and as something that you want to target versus all STI’s. They can have long-term health effects that are very, very detrimental if not checked.”

Chavez-Houck is also an advocate for women’s rights, medical marijuana and “right to die” legislation. “I am representing a constituency that is begging to be heard, is begging to be considered and whose rights also need to be preserved,” she said.

Barnabas Wobiliya and Apollo Kamarah
Ugandan activists and Utah-based refugees Wobiliya and Kamarah have made friends with LGBTQ Utahns and connected with local groups like Equality Utah and The Utah Pride Center. As special guests, the men attended Equality Utah’s 2016 Allies Dinner. They were amazed at the size and energy of the local LGBTQ community. Wobiliya and Kamarah continue their activism, working online with African organizations, and speaking out about the persecution they faced. Why do these men continue to spend their time, money and energy to help LGBTQ people, even after facing so much discrimination and violence themselves? “I have a heart to help,” said Wobiliya. He said he has the will to continue because, despite having to leave his family and home, he feels part of a larger purpose.

EU posted to FB: We are excited to honor two incredible LGBTQ activists, Barnabas and Apollo at the Equality Utah Allies Dinner 2017. They were HIV/AIDS activists in Uganda before the “Kill the Gays” legislation was introduced by their Parliament. They sought asylum in the U.S., and are now building a new life in Utah. Come meet these incredible men!

John, James and Jessie Doe, plaintiffs in No Homo Promo lawsuit
On behalf of Equality Utah and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, these young, unidentified plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the Utah State Board of Education sought to remove all language in Utah code that forbids discussion of homosexuality in Utah schools. And they succeeded! The No Homo Promo statute was overturned during the last legislative session. BAM!

The Equality Utah’s Allies Dinner will be Sept. 30, 6 p.m., at the Salt Palace Convention Center, 100 S. West Temple. Tickets online at

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