The Utah Pride Center presented its annual awards at the Utah Pride Spectacular May 17. 2019 Kristen Ries Community Service Award Recipients were Pepper Prespentt and Sue Robbins. The 2019 Utah Pride Lifetime Achievement Awards went to Ben Williams and Connell O’Donovan.
Sue Robbins has been an incredibly dedicated and effective advocate for the LGBTQA community. She was a founding member and inaugural president of Phi Delta, a local tri-ESS chapter in SLC. After coming out more publicly as a transgender woman she became a member of the board of directors of the Utah Pride Center and served as board president 2017-18. Sue recently became Chair of Transgender Education Advocates, working to build and grow that organization and to help it be more effective in its mission.
Pepper Prespentt started as an activist for LGBTQ rights in the 70’s and is still active today. She saved
lives by funding and supporting the establishment of the Gay Help Line and made it easily accessible. Pepper was one of the founders of the RCGSE, in 1976, and is one of the most active members, to this day – having earned a Lifetime Reign as Emperor 1 of the Golden Spike Empire.
Ben Williams was one of the primary librarians shaping the permanent/archival lending Utah Stonewall Library. Ben focused on archives and keeping the collection ordered during his off-time hours from 1993-1994; his community historian skills have expanded the community’s knowledge both then and now; he was the first full-time volunteer librarian. Ben also has been educating LGBT Utah History through his years-long Lambda Lore column. In 2015, the State of Utah recognized Ben as having preserved the history of the LGBTQ+ community in the state.
Connell O’Donovan spent decades on research and writing with focus on LGBT Mormon History, Black Mormon History, William Smith (youngest brother of Mormon founder Joseph Smith), and LGBT Anthropology/Archaeology; his interest in this area having lived several years in Moab, Utah and explored Anasazi and Fremont ruins all over the Colorado Plateau ecosystem. He’s written a dozen articles on homosexuality in pre-Christian Europe, as well as contributed to several publications on similar areas. He currently serves as the Chair of the “Oratories” Oral Project Committee of the Utah Queer Historical Society.