Community Award Recipients

Trans Community Ally Award

Sarah Thornton, Sephora

Several years ago, Sarah recognized the needs of the trans community during a time we were far less visible than we are today. She took it upon herself to create safe yet visible opportunities to teach make up application primarily for trans women. Today, Sephora’s Bold Beauty for the Transgender Community Classes for Confidence are offered in Sephora stores across the country.

Sephora believes in championing all beauty, living with courage, and standing fearlessly together to celebrate our differences. Even if we stumble, we will never stop building a community where diversity is expected, self-expression is honored, all are welcomed. Our Bold Beauty Classes for Confidence are designed especially for the transgender or non-binary community. Through these hands-on sessions, clients learn about techniques and products to fit and empower their own beauty expression.


Trans Community Visionary Award

Nicole Talbot, HRC Youth Ambassador

Nicole is a passionate advocate for transgender youth and played a major role in passing and protecting anti-discrimination legislation in Massachusetts. 

Nicole seeks to inspire others to work as she does to make the change she wants to see in the world. Speaking at the 2019 HRC Time to THRIVE conference, Nicole said: “Each and every one of us can use our voice to change the world. My goal is to use my voice – spoken, written and sung – to tell my story, raise awareness for transgender youth and make the world a better place for the millions of LGBTQ+ people today and for generations to come. My dream is that they won’t have to worry about discrimination… so all they have to do is be.”


Trans Community Legacy Award

  • Grace Stevens – Trans Club of New England
  • Andrea and Mechelle Ziff – Trans Club of New England
  • Andy Clark – Trans Community Leader
  • Kristy Snow – Keystone Conference
  • Al Clark – First Event Conference

We recognize several people this year who have had a massive impact in making the First Event conference what it is today. Grace, Andrea, and Mechelle carried First Event Conference on their backs, filling nearly every role imaginable over 10 years. Andy helped drastically expand the scope of the conference to support transmasculine people, transgender people of color, and the initiation of the wellness track (in support of Jesse Pack). Kristy Snow is the unsung hero that most people at First Event haven’t heard of, but should. She’s the technical master behind the website and registration system for Keystone Conference, which through the generous gift of her time is also the system powering First Event Conference. Al lead our security team for years, ensuring a safe conference for all attendees in several different communities around Boston.


Trans Community Leadership Award

Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program Transgender Program

Boston Health Care for the Homeless

The BHCHP Transgender Program serves  transgender and gender diverse people in Boston who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. It opened in November 2008 to address these challenges with a unique, integrated service model. Medical and support services are offered within a culturally appropriate framework by trained providers, and a weekly support group provides a sense of family and community. 


Trans Community Advocacy Award

Bowman Elementary School, Lexington MA

The Bowman School sign with mascot

Four years ago, Bowman Elementary School in Lexington, MA, began implementing a K-5 teacher created curriculum called “Dismantling Racism.”  The lessons focus on identity and perspective, privilege and bias, power and oppression, and social/global activism. Last summer, after hearing feedback from their school community, they expanded the curriculum (and revised title of the curriculum – “Dismantling Racism and other Isms”) and incorporated new lessons that address gender identity and learning differences.  The goal of their work is to give students the vocabulary and opportunity to learn about equity, inclusivity, and diversity in an authentic, purposeful way.