For several years, Pride Center of Vermont has honored the brightest leaders, volunteers, and activists in Vermont’s queer community. The 2021 Pride Awards focused our awards on health and wellness, recognizing two passionate and outspoken advocates as well as an organization that has helped Vermont lead the way in reducing harm, HIV transmission, and sexual health stigma for more than three decades.

Since the start of the pandemic, it’s become even clearer that our health and wellness is so crucial and encompasses more than just our surface-level physical and mental wellbeing. As highlighted in our statewide town hall series earlier this year, we know this includes racial justice, food justice, housing security, reproductive freedom. For our LGBTQ+ community, it expands to a home and workplace free from discrimination, a safe and affirming healthcare provider, and access to competent care. It’s everyone having equitable access to the resources that allow us to be our best selves.

On December 16, 2021, we honored Coco Casper, Rep. Brian Cina, and Vermont Cares. Past Pride Award recipients Dr. Kym Boyman and Dr. Rachel Inker join Rep. Taylor Small in presenting the awards. Sade Bolger of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England is a guest speaker. The 2021 Pride Awards were taped and streamed live from the Media Factory in Burlington’s South End.

You can watch the program below, which has been edited to include Coco Casper’s acceptance speech (Casper was unable to accept the award in-person, live, due to COVID-19 exposure).

Much thanks to Joey, Drew, Marcy, and Wendy at Media Factory for a flawless tech assist, and to our partnerships with Hannaford, Physician’s Computer Company, Vermont State Employees’ Association, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, and AARP Vermont.

2021 Pride Awards Poster