About The HRC North Carolina Gala Equality Awards

HRC Charlotte is proud to announce our 2016 Equality Award winners. These special guests will be honored on February 4, 2017 at the 22nd Annual HRC North Carolina Gala, held at the Le Meridien Charlotte. The HRC Equality Awards are meant to honor individuals and organizations that have furthered the progress of civil rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities.

Ten transgender activists, from across the state, will be recognized as the 2016 People of the Year.

2016 Person of the Year - Ten Transgender Activists


This year, North Carolina was thrust into the epicenter of a national debate with the passage in March of one of the most anti-LGBTQ laws in the nation, House Bill 2. As our LGBTQ citizens saw their rights stripped away, transgender citizens were especially targeted and attacked by our opponents. Many transgender North Carolinians stood up to those attacks — and stepped into the spotlight to tell their stories, stories that were crucial to push back on opponents’ lies. We want to recognize the work of several individuals who spoke out to their elected officials, to the community and to the media by sharing their experiences of discrimination in North Carolina. These individuals were strong, visible advocates for LGBTQ equality in North Carolina.

We are proud to honor 10 transgender activists as our 2016 People of the Year: Lara Americo (Charlotte), Charlie Comero (Charlotte), Candis Cox (Raleigh), Madeline Goss (Raleigh), Alaina Brennan-Kupec (Chapel Hill), Erica Lachowitz (Charlotte), Mykal Shannon (Charlotte), Rev. Mykal Slack (Durham), Skye Thomson (Greenville) and Tina Madison White (Asheville).

The HRC North Carolina Gala Fellowships

The annual HRC NC Gala aims to be inclusive, regardless of level of income and other differences. A limited number of fellowships to those who demonstrate need and would otherwise not be able to attend the dinner without financial assistance. Those receiving the fellowship can attend the Gala at a reduced dinner ticket price.

Criteria for Gala Fellowship:

  • Completed Gala Fellowship Application
  • Commitment to the HRC mission to build an America where LGBTQ families and individuals can be open, honest and safe at work, at home and in the community.
  • Current resident of North Carolina or South Carolina
  • Willingness to volunteer for local HRC organizing and further outreach efforts
  • Demonstration of limited income status