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American University's GLBTA Resource Center Presents National Awards

2009 Richard L. Schlegel Award winners

From left: GLBTA staff Jeremy Koss, GLBTA Dir. Sara Bendoraitis, Luke Jude of YES Institute, William Mruzek, and Rhodes Perry of Trans-Academics.org (photo: Jeff Watts)

The seventh annual Richard L. Schlegel National Legion of Honor Awards, which recognize outstanding leadership and contributions to the dignity and freedom of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, were presented by AU's GLBTA Resource Center during a ceremony, Monday, April 13.

William Mruzek, a senior at Shawe Memorial Junior-Senior High School in Indiana, received the Emerging Activist Award for establishing his school's Day of Silence three years ago. He was the first openly gay student in his school history, and his leadership has taken this event from "explosion to part of the general flow, from protest to positive, peaceful expression," in the community.

Luke Jude, a communication specialist with the YES Institute, was named Visionary Leader for creating a partnership with administrators at the University of Michigan Medical School designed to insure that its graduates would have the skills and knowledge to provide quality care to patients who transition. Jude led a course for 30 premed and medical students on the topic.

This year's visionary organization award was presented to Trans-Academics.org, which was the first online resource to provide support for people considering changing gender or currently working with trans-related academic ventures. Trans-Academics.org hosts a trans-friendly safe space for anyone interested in participating in the discussion of gender theory, and for the trans community and its various identities.