Awards and special guest on tap at annual HRC Gala

State Rep. Mike Villarreal will receive HRC's 2014 Equality Award on Nov. 8 at their Gala & Silent Auction. South Texas trans teen Jeydon Loredo will be a special guest at the event. (Photos: Villarreal/Sam Sanchez. Loredo/Courtesy HRC.)

Organizers of the San Antonio HRC Gala & Silent Auction announced this week that State Representative Mike Villarreal will be honored with the group’s 2014 Equality Award on November 8.

“Rep. Villarreal has been a champion of equality in the Texas House of Representatives for the seven terms he has served, voting against anti-marriage and in favor of anti-bullying. He has been an author of statewide employment non-discrimination legislation, actively pursuing equality for all across our state,” said HRC governor and gala chair Julian Tovar.

HRC previously announced they would be presenting Janet Burrage Grigsby with the Chuck Jordan Award for lifetime advocacy and W.D. Deli owners, Wayne D. Beers and Michael Bobo, with the Community Ally Award.

“All of the individuals we are honoring have been champions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights in our region for years. They have each made a significantly huge impact on the lives of the people in our workplaces and across the landscape of our communities,” Tovar said. “We honor their unwavering efforts to promote equality and foster inclusiveness in our neighborhoods, workplaces, and everyday lives.”

A special guest for the gala will be South Texas trans teen Jeydon Loredo from La Feria, a town located about 30 miles east of McAllen. Last fall, the La Feria school district refused to allow a photo of Loredo in a tuxedo to appear in the yearbook because it violated “community standards.”

According to Tovar, Loredo’s older brother Kyan reached out to the Human Rights Campaign. “Over the next couple of months, Jeydon and his family, with the support of HRC and later the Southern Poverty Law Center, worked together to tell Jeydon’s story and insist that he be treated with fairness and dignity,” Tovar explained.

The La Feria school district agreed to let the photo be used in the yearbook after the Southern Poverty Law Center threatened to file a lawsuit.

In an interview with CBS News, Loredo said he was “pretty happy” about the district’s decision. “It was just very frustrating, the whole thing. To me, it was just a simple answer that I wanted. But we got the answer. So it’s great, man.”

San Antonio HRC Gala & Silent Auction, Saturday, November 8, 2014, at the JW Marriott Hill Country Resort and Spa. VIP reception starts at 5:30 p.m. with general admission at 6 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at Box Office Tickets online or by calling 800-494-8497.

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