Every year we look forward to the annual Equality Utah Allies Dinner, and every year our COLLECTIVE socks are knocked right off. This year, happily, was no exception. The annual bash--which celebrates all that has been done and is yet to do in the ways of LGBTQ equality--honors a few commendable community members and acknowledges the strides that they have made toward equality over the last 365 days. We've chatted on Equality Utah a time or two before, so we'll keep this intro brief: this group is one of the most sensational soldiers in the effort to win equality for Utah's LGBTQ community and their families. The organization focuses primarily on education, advocacy, and political action, but they also champion a few current causes (a revised hate crimes statute, a plan to end the practice known as "conversion therapy", improving access to insurance for transgender-related care, and removal of LGBTQ speech restrictions for Utah educators, to name a few). And true, Equality Utah is carrying the banner for equal rights year round, but their biggest yearly bonanza is assuredly the Allies Dinner. The theme for 2016's get-together was "Everyday Rebels", and we gladly turned up for the cause in our most fabulously-unruly attire.
Sure, there's delicious food and drink and all sorts of celebrating, but the Allies Dinner also helps to raise some vital funds for a fantastic cause. A few pitch-perfect performances (namely "Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves" by a be-dragged Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, herself) and some heartfelt speeches--from honorees Dr. Rixt Luikenaar, Dr. Forrest Crawford, and the Mama Dragons--kept the crowd captivated throughout the evening, and then it was time for the keynote speaker. We were mystified, captivated, and completely under the spell of Gloria Steinem (!). She spoke candidly--and for well over her allotted time (no complaints here)--about how impressed she was with our salty, little community. She chatted about how far we've come, and got us in the can-do spirit for the sweat still to be shed. We laughed, we cried, and we were delighted to see so many familiar faces in the crowd (from the neighborhood, community, and coworkers and clients alike). Next year's dinner will assuredly be more of the same, loved-up feeling, and we can't wait to see each and every one of you there.