Morris Kight Lifetime Achievement Award
Los Angeles LGBT Pride/CSW, June 2009
For decades, Jeanne Córdova has understood that community organizing is not just an agenda; it is a lifestyle to which she has tirelessly devoted her life. After coming out as a lesbian while in the order of the Immaculate Heart of Mary convent in 1967, she earned a masters degree in community organization from UCLA. She served as chapter president and later newsletter editor with the Daughters of Bilitis. Jeanne went on to produce The Lesbian Tide, arguably the newspaper of record for the lesbian feminist decade. Córdova opened the first lesbian center in Los Angeles, was a key organizer in the first National Lesbian Conference, sat on the Board of the Gay Community Services Center (now the LA Gay & Lesbian Center) and became the Human Rights Editor of the Los Angeles Free Press. She campaigned to defeat the anti-gay Briggs initiative where her vital efforts encouraged the resurgence of a co-gender alliance. Helping to form the California State Gay and Lesbian Caucus within the National Democratic Party, Córdova was a founder of the LA Gay and Lesbian Press Association, a founding board member of the Connexxus Women’s’ Center/Centro de Mujeres and worked as media director for STOP-64, defeating the California ballot measure to quarantine people with AIDS. The author of multiple books, essays, columns and stories, Córdova continued publishing as a form of activism by founding the Community Yellow Pages and served as President of the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives. She and her partner, Lynn Harris Ballen, published the first queer co-gender magazine, Square Peg, and upon returning to Los Angeles, founded LEX – The Lesbian Exploratorium project.
Thank you, Jeanne Córdova, for a lifetime of insightful strength, creative motivation and the unifying efforts you have exhibited as an essential partner in building the Pride community!
The Morris Kight Lifetime Achievement Award, first given in 2003, recognizes an individual whose lifetime of work has left a lasting major imprint on the LGBT community.