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Outright International to hold 27th Celebration of Courage Awards and Gala

Event To Be Hosted by RuPaul’s Drag Race Winner BeBe Zahara Benet Honorees Include Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality (ECADE), and the Queer Cast of Star Trek: Discovery 

New York, New York – May 8, 2023 – Outright International, a global human rights organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTIQ people across the world, is honored to announce its 27th Celebration of Courage awards and gala to be held at Pier Sixty in New York City on June 5, 2023. An evening of inspiration, the gathering highlights Outright achievements while elevating and advancing the voices of those leading the charge for LGBTIQ equality around the world. The event attracts high-level supporters and esteemed partners who are among New York City and the world’s most influential philanthropists, movement and civic leaders, celebrities and luminaries. 

“The global movement for LGBTIQ human rights has many champions,” noted Maria Sjödin, Executive Director of Outright International. “They are the activists who put their lives on the line every day; they are the public policymakers who find courage to speak out in support of our communities; they are corporate LGBTIQ leaders and allies who demand inclusion; they are philanthropists who ensure the movement is resourced to fight the opposition seeking to erase LGBTIQ people; and they are social and cultural influencers who loudly proclaim that change cannot wait. At Celebration of Courage, we acknowledge and thank these changemakers, and recommit ourselves to the fight ahead, as no one can be left behind.”

The event will be hosted by Bebe Zahara Benet, the inaugural winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race, the star of TLC’s Dragnificent and the subject of the award-winning documentary Being BeBe. 

This year’s honorees include the Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality (ECADE), which will be receiving the prestigious Felipa de Souza Award; – Google’s philanthropy – which will be honored with the Outstanding Award; and, finally, this year’s Outspoken Award will be presented to the queer members of the cast and production team of Star Trek: Discovery, including Wilson Cruz, Anthony Rapp, Blu del Barrio, Tig Notaro, Mary Wiseman, and Michelle Paradise. 

Felipa de Souza Award

ECADE is a recognized leader in the Eastern Caribbean where the LGBTIQ community face stigma and discrimination. ECADE has been a beacon of hope, inspiration and action. Their recent work has advanced the decriminalization of colonial-era sodomy laws in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. They have also been working toward greater social protections and facilitation of  LGBTIQ sensitivity training for police and service providers as well as bringing awareness towards gender-based violence against women and gender nonconforming people. 

“A pioneer in regional LGBTIQ community building and mobilizing, ECADE is deeply invested in the capacity building and empowerment of LGBTIQ people in the Caribbean who are often denied access based on negative perceptions,” noted ECADE Executive Director, Kenita Placide. “ECADE’s Board of Directors, Secretariat, and staff are moved beyond words to be recognized with this prestigious award.”

Outstanding Award has demonstrated an extraordinary philanthropic commitment to Outright and the global movement to advance human rights for LGBTIQ people. From its inspirational support of Outright’s COVID-19 and Ukraine Emergency Funds, publications, and digital campaigns to its use of talent, events, platforms, and brand to amplify Outright’s work and the issues impacting our communities, has exhibited an incredible effort to ensure that LGBTIQ people globally are centered and uplifted.  

“We are honored and grateful to receive this award from Outright. brings the best of Google together through funding, innovation, and technical expertise in an effort to help solve some of humanity’s biggest challenges, support underserved communities, and provide opportunity for everyone. Outright has done so much to advance the rights of LGBTIQ people across the globe and we are proud to support their exemplary work,” said Melonie Parker, Chief Diversity Officer of 

Outspoken Award

The Star Trek franchise’s core values align closely with Outright’s own: education, care, compassion, diversity, equity, inclusion, advocacy, and authentic LGBTIQ representation and storytelling. Members of the queer cast of Star Trek: Discovery are global LGBTIQ icons – courageous and elevating the visibility, voice, and platform of millions of queer people around the world that battle discrimination and risk to their personal safety, every day. 

“Through the show, the LGBTIQ community is being seen and heard in the ways we want to be seen and heard, as our truest selves, as the heroes of our own stories and our own fight for dignity and equality.” shares cast member and actorvist Wilson Cruz.

“Outright International is the longest-operating U.S.-based international LGBTIQ human rights organization,” said Michelle Paradise, executive producer of Star Trek: Discovery. “We thank them for recognizing the potential of what television and our show specifically can do when we all work together through storytelling to advance the positive portrayal of the queer community worldwide.

The 27th Celebration of Courage awards and gala is made possible through the generous support of all of our event sponsors, most particularly our Diamond partner: Adobe Foundation; our Platinum partners: CBS Studios, Constellation Brands, Deutsche Bank,, Paramount+, and P&G; and our Gold partners: Audeliss, Dr. Martens Foundation, Global Citizen, Grindr, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Lee, Remarkably, and The Walt Disney Company. 

For more information, please visit our website

About Outright International: 

Outright International works with partners around the globe to strengthen the capacity of the LGBTIQ human rights movement, document and amplify human rights violations, and advocate for inclusion and equality. Founded in 1990, with staff in over a dozen countries, Outright works with the United Nations, regional human rights monitoring bodies, civil society organizations, and corporate and philanthropic partners. Outright holds consultative status at the United Nations, where it serves as the secretariat of the UN LGBTI Core Group. 


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