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National Gay & Lesbian Task Force Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Tennis Legend Billie Jean King Joins Provincetown Festivities

Over $135,000 Raised --$15,000 to Support Policy Institute Programs

Compiled by Badpuppy's GayToday
From NGLTF Reports

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force celebrated its 25th anniversary in Provincetown, Massachusetts with record-setting events during the weekend of August 28.

The three events --a town forum, a dinner, and a sunset deck party -- raised over $135,000 for the Task Force. The proceeds were more than double the previous all-time high raised from the annual Provincetown summer festivities.

billiejean.gif - 24.19 K Billie Jean King Tennis legend Billie Jean King was the Task Force's special guest throughout the weekend. Her memorable "Battle of the Sexes" match with Bobby Riggs also took place 25 years ago.

A major highlight of the weekend was King's announcement of an annual gift of $15,000 to NGLTF's Policy Institute intern and fellowship program.

The Policy Institute is the Task Force's think tank, dedicated to delivering factual, practical, and effective information related to the GLBT community.

The Billie Jean King Foundation will fund the Vaid Fellowship, named after Policy Institute director Urvashi Vaid. In announcing this grant, King challenged others to match her gift with their own pledges. Four accepted the $15,000 challenge, and a fifth donor contributed $5,000, bringing the total of King's gift and challenge up to $80,000.

During the weekend, the Task Force honored King for her trailblazing efforts for women's equality. The Task Force also presented its annual Community Service Award to Alex Ritchie and Mark Doty.

Ritchie is publisher of the Provincetown Banner and is a recognized community leader, involved in a number of local organizations and efforts. Doty is an acclaimed author of five books of poetry and is the winner of a number of literary awards, including the National Book Critics Circle Award.

"This was our most successful Provincetown weekend ever. It demonstrates the strong and vibrant support for NGLTF's work aiding grassroots organizing," said Kerry Lobel, executive director of the Task Force. "We thank our donors, the local host committee, the Provincetown community, and especially Billie Jean King for their outstanding contributions toward justice and equality."

The weekend started on Friday with NGLTF's fourth annual town meeting. This year's forum focused on homophobia and sports.

strongwomen.gif - 14.65 KA record crowd of nearly 300 listened to the panel featuring King; Pat Griffin, author of "Strong Women, Deep Closets: Lesbians and Homophobia in Sport"; Mike Muska of Oberlin College, the first openly-gay person appointed athletic director at a college or university; and Molly Purdue, girls basketball coach and lead litigant in the recent Title IX case challenging the unequal distribution of resources between male and female athletic programs by schools and colleges and universities.

The forum was moderated by Provincetown restaurant owner Ron Robin and was taped by the cable TV sports network ESPN. The following night the Task Force hosted a dinner for Billie Jean King donated by Front Street restaurant.

The weekend finale featured a sunset deck party on Sunday at the Red Inn. With 250 attendees, this year's party was the largest ever of this annual event. Over $40,000 was raised at the door and through a silent auction of a signed tennis racket from King and art from local galleries.

A local host committee led by NGLTF board member J.R. Dreyer and event co-chair Susan Culligan organized the anniversary celebration events.

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