Honoring those who do incredible work in our community.

Great Lakes Bay PRIDE Awards Banquet

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Honoring Your Contributions

In 2009, Perceptions began an initiative to honor individuals, organizations, and businesses that have made positive contributions towards the advancement of LGBT+ equality in the Great Lakes Bay Region. We continue this initiative annually with the PRIDE Awards Banquet in June. Nominees are evaluated on the basis of leadership and commitment to the LGBT community.

This year's banquet will be held on Thursday, June 13, 2019 at the Andersen Enrichment Center in Saginaw. Reception begins at 6:00 pm. Dinner and program begins at 7:00 pm. Tickets cost $30 per person.

Purchase Tickets to the Awards Banquet


Do you know an individaul, organization, or busness worthy of nomination for the advancement of LGBT+ equality in the Great Lakes Bay Region? If so, please nominate them using the form below. Nominations open March 1, 2019 and are due no later than May 15, 2019.

Nominations Closed for 2019

Our Sponsors

Thank you to our 2019 Sponsors:

Edie Windsor:

- Dr. Libby Pionk & Maryanne Eagle
- William Giorgis & Russell Inman
- Mike's Wrecker Service
- Evan Waddell
- Jerry Hilliard
- First Tri-Cities PRIDE by Dignity Tri-Cities, June 1985

Harvey Milk:

- Joan & Dave Brausch
- Rick Farrand & Bob Enszer

Ellen DeGeneres:

- Floyd Andrick
- Coldwell Bankers Professionals


- Leo Romo


- Kitty Packard
- Tri-City Action for Peace

Become a Sponsor

Send Sponsor Form to:
P. O. Box 1525
Midland, MI 48641

Phone: 989-891-1429
Email: [email protected]

Sponsorship Form

Award Winners

Use the filters below to select year, award type, or a combination to see award winners since the inception of the Great Lakes Bay PRIDE Awards Banquet.


Donice Hannegan


Donice has been a pillar of the LGBT+ community, an advocate for workplace equality and a founding member of GLAD, Dow’s LGBT and ally employee resource network group at Dow Chemical Company in Midland. She has coordinated countless se...

Andrew Gardner-Northrop


Andrew is a social worker with Mid-Michigan Health and teaches Social Work at Saginaw Valley State University and LGBTQ activist for several years. As a former SVSU student, Gardner-Northrop shared education about: gay men being banned f...

Michael Beach & Greg Tebow


Greg and Michael have hosted a 4th of July celebration at their Bay City home since 1997 – twenty-one years this year. So many area LGBT and allies have enjoyed the celebrations in Bay City’s fireworks at their home. People felt acce...

Kevin Dedictoria


Kevin is a 26 years old Saginaw resident and has demonstrated being a future leader of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) issues through education and advocacy. He attended Perceptions and PFLAG Tri-Cities meetings when he was...

Katrina Wrobel


Katrina is a strong ally and advocate of the LGBT community. Katrina educates others via inspiring diversity and inclusion presentations in Dow Chemical in Midland and other locations. She helped to develop basic inclusion awareness trai...

City of Bay City


The City of Bay City became the 43rd city in the state of Michigan that adopted an anti-discrimination ordinance aimed at protecting of the LGBT community and individuals with physical and mental handicaps. The City of Bay City has been ...

Linda Schneider


Linda Schneider and Saginaw County Community Mental Health Authority (SCCMHA) made an exceptional contribution to the LGBT and Ally communities in mental health. Under Linda Schneider, Clinical Director, the SCCMHA is entering its third ...

Michelle Brown


Michelle Brown, based Detroit public speaker, author and activist, will be the emcee for the award banquet that includes a garden reception, catered dinner and an award ceremony. Tickets cost $30 each and $20 for students and those wit...

Dr. Elizabeth “Libby” Pionk


Dr. Elizabeth “Libby” Pionk is an “out” lesbian physician and has dedicated herself to family medicine with a special interest in LGBT health and associated medical cases, situations and policies where healthcare is not tailored ...

J. Steele-Louchart


J. Steel-Louchart has been involved with the Saginaw Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Youth (SOGI YAC) and served as a volunteer with LGBT youth, he has been an active part of the MAX System of Care initiative at the Saginaw County...

Amy McDonald


Amy McDonald is a licensed professional counselor at Family and Children’s Services in Midland. She offers services to a wide range of clientele and specializes in LGBT, gender and sexuality issues. Amy has served the area LGBT communi...

Dr. Trevor Ewers


Dr. Trevor Ewers is an associate research scientist and the Global Culture Change leader with GLAD (LGBT & Ally Employment Resource Group) for The Dow Chemical Company. Ewers, along with a small group, created and continues to lead the a...

Ellen Keeler


Ellen Keeler is a Bay City mother and grandmother that was concerned when her transgender grandson (female to male) tried to commit suicide. She was surprised to learn that most trans people had no or little support from their families, ...

Vanessa Guerra


State Rep. Vanessa Guerra – House District 95, D-Bridgeport Township receives the Political Award for supporting and co-sponsoring legislation that would expand the Elliott-Larson Civil Rights Act to protect Michigan’s lesbian, gay, ...



RACHEL PRENZLER is an outpatient therapist at M.P.A. Group, a behavioral health treatment facility in Bay City. Prenzler has been involved in the LGBT community since 2007, helped to set up the Perceptions transgender sup-port group and ...



MORGAN WHITMAN, a 23-year old Bay City trans-gender man, is an organizer, advocate and a spokesperson for local transgender community. He is the new co-leader of Perceptions’ transgender discussion group, where he leads and determines...



DR. LUCY MERCIER is a professor and depart-ment chair of Social Work and Youth Services at Saginaw Valley State University. Dr. Mercier is also director at SVSU’s Pride Center, which strives to better the lives of individuals who iden-...



DIGNITY TRI-CITIES was a chapter of Dignity, a national organization of gay and lesbian Catholics, though all were welcome. Dignity Tri-Cities sponsored meetings and activities in Bay City, Saginaw and Mid-land: support and informative s...



DAVID M. TERRASI is a school and clinical psychologist who advocates for people with disabilities as well as sexual orientation or gender identity. David Terrasi and Victor Pafford were the first gay couple legally married in Bay County ...



REV. JUDITH BOLI is a priest and pastor at Saginaw’s St. Paul Episcopal Church. In 1987, Rev. Boli and her late husband helped to organize “Citizens United Against Violence” to combat the anti-gay violence against Whisper’s, a sh...

Plant Fitness Midland


Plant Fitness, Midland, made national news when it defended the rights of a transgender woman who was a guest that came under attack for using the women’s locker room. The membership of the non-transgender woman who publicly protested,...

Cara Mitrano


Cara Mitrano is a senior at Midland High School, where she helped start the school’s GSA. The GSA’s advocacy work raised awareness of LGBTQ issues through numerous activities, including Asexual Awareness Week, Transgender Day of Reme...

Brandon Errer


Brandon Errer is in his second year as president of Living Proud, the student-run LGBTQIA organization at Saginaw Valley State University. In the last year, Brandon helped convince SVSU’s Board of Control to change the school’s Equal...

Jodi Liebmann


Jodi Liebmann is an out, loud and proud ally of the LGBTQIA community in the Great Lakes Bay Region. Through her tireless work with the Underground Railroad, she is a powerful advocate for the victims of sexual assault. He belief that pe...

Heather Avile


Heather Aviles is a Spanish Teacher at Midland High School, where three years ago she founded the A-Z Club, a very private organization that provided a safe space for LGBTQIA students who needed to protect their privacy. Currently, she i...

David Custer


David Custer is the 5:30 p.m. news anchor at WNEM-TV 5 in Saginaw. David is an out and unapologetic gay man whose community activism and his media presence empower LGBTQIA people to live authentic lives. He recently shared his own trauma...

Congressman Dan Kildee


Congressman Dan Kildee serves in the U.S. House of Representatives where he continues to work tirelessly for LGBTQIA people in Michigan’s 5th District and throughout the United States. Now in his second term, Mr. Kildee is the vice-cha...

Randy Hasso


Randy Hasso has lived and worked in suburban Saginaw almost all of his adult life. Over the course of almost 31 years, Randy has generously contributed his time, talents, resources, and treasures to the LGBTQIA and HIV/AIDS communities. ...



The Dow Chemical Company supports the Perceptions Holiday Gala and other Perceptions events; sponsors the local Pride event, participates in the AIDS Walk, and provides funding for scholarships through the National PFLAG organization. Th...



Charin Davenport is a trans* activist for human rights and equality. Char spoke at nearly every pubic meeting in support of Human Rights Policies and Ordinances in Bay County and City of Saginaw. She put a human face to transgender issue...



Rev. Jeff Liebmann is minister to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Midland, a Welcoming Congregation. Since his arrival in 2011, he has testified before State House and Senate committees on issues including reproductive justice, ...



SVSU Living Proud is the student-run LGBT and allies organization at Saginaw Valley State University. Living Proud provides resources, education on LGBT issues, and networking and socializing opportunities to LGBT students and allies. Li...



Monika Sciba has worked at SVSU for several years as registrar and academic advisor, and is now the special assistant in the Dean’s Office of the College of Health & Human Services. A former advisor to SVSU Living Proud, Monika is curr...



Don Tilley is a high school political science/government teacher at Bay City Central High School and serves on the Bay Coun-ty Board of Commissioners. In January, Mr. Tilley proposed a Human Rights Ordinance in Bay County that would have...



“Little Doug” was born in Midland on April 13, 1934, weighing just 2 pounds. At the age of 13, Doug started piano lessons and then voice lessons. He graduated from CMU in June 1959 with a BA degree in Liberal Arts. In 1967, he began ...

Pasong’s Café


The Pasong’s Café that serves fine Asian cuisine receives the Business Pride Award for its long-time full support of the LGBT community within the Great Lakes Bay Region. “Pasong” and her daughters, Nonnie Blondin and Tina Saycosi...

Kay Sural


Kay Sural who consistently supported efforts to foster a positive image for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gender community and their allies, was known by her kind smile and dedication in the LGBT and the general community. Kay was...

Annie Boensch


Annie Boensch, member the Saginaw City Council, has been a leader and supporter of equal rights, not only for the gay community, but for all Saginaw City and County residents. She was the first Saginaw County political leader to sign her...

Alberto (Beto) Jimenez


Alberto Jimenez, an openly gay Latino, has become an equality activist – something that he did not plan. To fight against LGBT discrimination, especially within the Latino community, he created an “Equality” float for Saginaw’s 3...

Rick Farrand


Rick Farrand has been active in the Tri-Cities GLBT community for almost 25 years. He was a founding member of Dignity Tri-Cities and helped with fundraising, candlelight vigils, making AIDS Quilt panels for members of the Tri-Cities who...

Dr. Dale Merkle


Dr. Dale Merkle, former president of the local chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG Tri-Cities) who as a member of the Bay City Board Educa-tion (1998-2002) was instrumental in establishing a non-discrimin...

Court St. Grill/Eric Phillips


The Court St. Grill (formerly Café) and owner Eric Phillips (Saginaw) receive a Business Pride award for endless support: offered his restaurant for Tri-City LGBT Pride festival planning meetings; attended meetings, shared suggestions, ...

Tana Michaels


Tana Michaels (Saginaw) receives a Pride Award for her contributions in music and journalism. Tana, a singer/guitar player and journalist, has donated her time and talent to many LGBT causes including 2007 Respect Fest, 2011 & 2012 Tri-C...

Kyle Bostwick


Kyle Bostwick (Saginaw) receives the 2012 Political Pride Award. During high school Kyle joined the Saginaw County Democratic Party and has been an active member since. He has worked and managed local and state campaigns and currently se...

Barbara Klimaszewski


Barbara Klimaszewski (Saginaw) receives the Lifetime Achievement Pride Award. She is a Saginaw criminal and civil rights attorney and has been active in the LGBT community for over 35 years. Throughout her career, Barb has fought for equ...

Magic Bean Cafe


The Magic Bean Cafe (Saginaw) receives the Business Pride Award for several reasons: being welcoming venue with loving open arms, posting LGBT events, welcoming the Perceptions trans-gender support group meetings, and hosted Las Vegas...

Bob and Denise Malosh


Bob and Denise Malosh (Midland) learned that their youngest son, Kent, was gay when he was 12. Kent was bullied at school and in the community. Finding PFLAG, they learned how to support Kent and live an authentic and happy life. They at...

Rev. Kathy VanBuskirk


Rev. Kathy VanBuskirk (Saginaw) is a mother of three adult daughters and a grandmother of six. Ordained in 2005, she ministers at Divine Light Interfaith Ministry. Kathy has counseled individuals and couples in parenting, sexuality, cust...

Randy Hasso


Randy Hasso (Saginaw) is no stranger to serving others. In his younger years Randy was a member of the Peace Corp in Africa. Since those early days of international service Randy has lived and worked in the Saginaw area. He has been gene...

Bill Giorgis


Bill Giorgis (Saginaw) is a giving, considerate, thoughtful, helpful, unselfish and supportive person — describes one of several individuals who nominated Bill. Another said, ― “I can’t tell you how many times that man has come t...

John Monahan


John Monahan (1946-2002) was the first openly gay community activist and organizer in the Tri-City area.. He was involved with local groups – Dignity Tri-Cities and Wellness Networks Tri-Cities and talked with local elected leaders in ...



Richard helped found local chapters of Dignity (1984), Wellness Networks (1988), and PFLAG Tri-Cities (1990); long involved with HIV/AIDS work including helping to bring the AIDS Quilt to the Tri-Cities; and planning and fundraising...

Steve West & Jim Atwood


The Savoy Grill is a local, popular, and gay-owned restaurant. Proprietors Steve West and Jim Atwood have created one of best kept secrets in downtown Saginaw. The Savoy Grill has generously donated money, time and spirit to the LGBT...

Andy Coulouris


Former Saginaw city council member and State Rep., Andy has supported LGBT equality thru proposed bills in Lansing: second-parent adoption, Matt’s Law (anti-bullying) , and adding the words “sexual orientation, gender identity and...

Dr. Charissa Urbano


“Charis” is a Professor of Biology and Director, Faculty Center for Teaching Excellence in Delta College where she has established talking points of The Genetics of Homosexuality.  She has presented and published LGBT issues at state...

Tim Atkinson


Tim maintained an informative website for local GLBT people long before Perceptions existed and continues to serve as the webmaster for Perceptions.  He conceived and organized the efforts to establish the Perceptions Endowed...

Fred Eland


Fred is a newcomer in the community and “came out” within the last year. Fred is very friendly, personable, and always willing to lend a hand when needed.  He has been a great help to Perceptions and has become involved in ma...

Terry Zajac


Terry opened his beautiful Bay City house for the first Chocolate Party in 1991 to raise funds for the Wellness Networks Tri-Cities and it’s phone-line. Later he hosted so many Chocolate and Garden Parties for PFLAG Tri-Cities – and...

Robb Wiersum


Robb Wiersum, Saginaw/Grand Rapids, receives the Business Award for his establishment, The Mixx Nightclub and Metro Grille. Robb has actively sponsored several community activi- ties: Symphony’s Maestro & Martinis, AIDS Walks on both s...

Glenn T. Madigan II


Glenn T. Madigan  II, Bay City,  receives the Rising Star Award. As President of Bay City Central High School’s Gay-Straight Alliance, he organized the Ally Week, No Name Calling Week, Day of Silence, and other activities. He has edu...

Garnet Lewis


Garnet Lewis, Freeland, receives the Political Award for too many reasons to list here.  She has extensive experience in higher education and political activism. She helped charter the Saginaw Area Democratic Club, is active in...

Jim Kleinsorge


Jim Kleinsorge, Bay City,  receives the Volunteer Award for his selfless dedication – going far beyond the call of duty. He is always “there” – setting up Friday Dinners, taking minutes, posting messages, greeting people with hi...

Thomas Brubaker


Tom Brubaker, Saginaw, receives the Unity Award because he cooperatively works with a multitude of organizations and individuals for the overall betterment of our community. As the outreach coordinator for the AIDS Care Program at BASIS-...

Rev. Rebecca M. Dunn


Rev. Rebecca M. Dunn, Saginaw, receives the Pride Award for showing outstanding pride. She founded the first local trans- gender support group, the Perceptions Saginaw Valley Trans- gender Group. She is an ordained New Thought minister, ...

Leo Romo

Leo Romo has given of himself, his time, his efforts for the LGBTQ+ community of the Great Lakes Bay Region and beyond, especially though PFLAG and Perceptions for over 20 years. Leo also has worked on researching, compiling, and preserv...

Stuart Barbier

Stuart Barbier has been a professor of English at Delta College since 1998. In 2006, Stuart formed the Delta Prism Alliance to establish and maintain a safe and affirming environment at Delta College for LGBTQ+ students, staff, and facul...

Howard Ungerleider

Howard Ungerleider is the President and CFO of Dow and an active member of Dow’s inclusion Council. Through his position and personal actions, Howard has been a vocal advocate for a safe, inclusive and supportive workplace for all empl...

Jenny Bell

Jenny Bell is a loving, kind, compassionate person that is teaching all communities what it means to be transgender, while navigating her own transition. Jenny is a member of the Perceptions Transgender Groups and a member of the newly f...

Midland Center for the Arts

The Midland Center for the Arts, through the efforts of Katie Miller, Manager of Community Engagement, was able to build partnerships to open doors to conversation through education, storytelling and creativity. Partnerships included: Pe...

Bill Ostash

William “Bill” Ostash, was born and raised in Bay City. Bill moved to Saginaw in 2004 and has been involved with the Saginaw Historic District Commission since 2006 where he served as Chairperson from 2008-2014. Bill created “Prese...

Emily Simbeck

Emily Simbeck is an outpatient therapist at M.P.A. Group and one of a very few gender specialists in the Mid-Michigan area. Emily earned a Bachelor of Arts in sociology, graduating from coastal Carolina University. She received her Maste...

Kat Champagne

Kat Champagne went from a concerned mother to an all-around volunteer and advocate for the SOGIE community. Kat’s involvement was wide and varied. Kat started with her involvement with the Perceptions Transgender Groups where she took ...

Allison Matthew

Allison Matthew has proven to be a supporter of Perceptions and the SOGIE community within the Great Lakes Bay Region. In her roles of parent, student (graduating with a master’s degree), and employee for Consumers Energy, Allison has ...

Ronald Owens

Ronald Owens is a Saginaw native and Deputy Political Director for Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Ronald’s passion for Public Service includes working alongside other volunteers to knock on doors and support politicians such as Representat...