The Commonwealth Awards

The Commonwealth Awards 2018

Presented at the Commonwealth Banquet
Saturday, April 14th, 2018
Location TBA!

The Altoona Award

The Altoona Award is presented annually to a Pennsylvanian who has demonstrated great courage, strength, and resilience in advancing the visibility or welfare of LGBTQ youth in the commonwealth. This award is in tribute to Harvey Milk’s famous reference to a youth who called him following his election, from Altoona, Pennsylvania, to thank him for giving hope to LGBTQ youth that there will be a better tomorrow.

2014: Bayard Rustin (Accepted by Walter Naegle)
2015: Alison Bechdel
2016: Margie Winters and Andrea Vettori


The Generations Award

The Generations Award is presented annually to a Pennsylvania adult or elder who has provided significant contributions to LGBTQ advocacy in the commonwealth. This recognition is given to an individual who exemplifies leadership in working with youth as partners to advance meaningful advocacy efforts.

2013: Tammy Simpson
2014: Kathy Padilla
2015: The Pennsylvania Rural Gay Caucus (Accepted by Leaders Joe Burns, Sam Deetz, and Mary Nancarrow)
2016: Deja Lynn Alvarez


The Mara Keisling Leadership Award

The Mara Keisling Leadership Award is given annually to a transgender or gender-variant young Pennsylvanian who has completed substantial work to advocate for gender equality and inclusivity in the Keystone State. The award is named in honor of Mara Keisling, the founding Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality and native Pennsylvanian.

2013: George Hickman
2014: Issak Wolfe
2015: Taylan Stulting
2016: Seamus Johnston


The Brandon Bitner Memorial Award

The Brandon Bitner Memorial Award is given annually to a high school student for leading significant advocacy efforts for safer schools in Pennsylvania. The award is named in honor of Brandon Bitner, who at 14 years old, completed suicide in Snyder County in 2010. One of Brandon’s wishes as a result of his suicide was for others to look more seriously at the impact of bullying so more students would not feel a similar pain. This award recognizes the hard work and courage of a high school student who has brought about safe school awareness and change within local, regional, or statewide communities.

2013: Zachary Terrazas
2014: Kasey Caron
2016: Daly Trimble and Hansen Bursic


The Keystone Award

The Keystone Award is given annually to a state or local legislator, or government official, who has demonstrated great courage, strength, and resilience in advancing the visibility and welfare of LGBTQ youth in the commonwealth.

2013: Rep. Mike Fleck
2014: Gloria Casarez
2015: Terry Mutchler
2016: Linda Rosenberg