Erica Spitzfaden Among Eight to Be Honored as Friends and Allies of the LGBT Community
The third annual City Pulse LGBT Inclusion Awards will take place Thursday, June 14, at Spiral nightclub in Lansing. As in previous years, eight individuals or organizations will be honored for their achievements as LGBT individuals or on behalf of the LGBT community. Lansing City Councilwoman Kathie Dunbar will emcee. Presenters include congressional candidate Elissa Slotkin and state Sen. Curtis Hertel.
This year’s honorees include Dr. Kaston Anderson-Carpenter of Michigan State University for his groundbreaking research on marginalized populations; Nicole Ellefson for her advocacy for transgender rights; Evan Lewis for openly transitioning while on the faculty of a high school; Nick Page/Lauren Ordair for his success as a drag queen in New York; Theresa Rosado for opening an art gallery that features LGBT exhibits; Erica Spitzfaden for her transgender activism and work on the board of the Lansing Association for Human Rights; Maxine Thorne for her accomplishments as a social worker; and Williamston County Schools for adopting a progressive policy on transgender students. Honorees are chosen by a committee that includes past honorees, leaders of local LGBT organizations and from City Pulse.
For her part, Spitzfaden said she’s not accustomed to being recognized for her activism as it’s a natural extension of who she is.
“It’s actually kind of a new thing to me so I was trying to figure out how to feel about it,” she said. “It’s certainly nice to be recognized by the community for some of the work that I’ve been doing.”
That work, largely done via the Lansing Association for Human Rights, includes advocating for the LGBT community, conducting diversity trainings for the State of Michigan, meeting with the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office, speaking at Michigan State University, at meetings of the Michigan Board of Education and Williamston Board of Education, and basically, just tirelessly working for her beloved LGBT community whenever possible.
“You don’t notice it as much until you become part of it, just how big the community LGBT community is,” Spitzfaden said. “There are just a lot of folks out there that you might not meet otherwise. So it’s a really good group.”
Emily Dievendorf, LAHR’s president, said Spitzfaden’s award is well deserved.
“I nominated Erica for an Inclusion Award because her work in the mid-Michigan community since joining LAHR has been bold and courageous at a time in history when it is anything but safe to be so visible as an out trans person, much less to be an out trans leader who regularly shows up to speak up in parts of Michigan that are openly waging war on the trans community,” she said.
Tickets for the Inclusion Awards are $20 in advance and $25 at the door and available online at lansingcitypulse.com. Tickets include a wristband for the White Party the next night.