Human Rights Campaign Honors Top-Tier Entertainers, Advocates and Trailblazers at the 2023 San Francisco Bay Area Dinner

by Aneesha Pappy

Awardees include actor Joel Kim Booster, Grammy winner Billy Porter, and Founder and CEO of Lesbians Who Tech & Allies, Leanne Pittsford

SAN FRANCISCO — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, announced its 2023 San Francisco Dinner Bay Area awardees. This star-studded event will feature several influential celebrities dedicated to fighting for LGBTQ+ equality. HRC President, Kelley Robinson, will deliver remarks highlighting the current National State of Emergency the LGBTQ+ community is facing. The dinner will be on Saturday, October 21, 2023 and will be at the Westin St. Francis at Union Square.

The 2023 honorees include:

  • Prolific actor, comedian and writer, Joel Kim Booster, will be honored for their impactful work amplifying LGBTQ+ voices and uplifting LGBTQ+ experiences on the big screen.

  • Multi-talented, Grammy, Emmy and Tony winning superstar, Billy Porter, will be receiving the HRC Impact Award in recognition of their critical role in expanding LGBTQ+ visibility and bringing LGBTQ+ culture, joy and authenticity to the public eye.

  • CEO and Founder of Lesbians Who Tech & Allies, Leanne Pittsford, will be receiving the HRC Equality Award in acknowledgement of their efforts to advance equal opportunity for LGBTQ+ people in the Tech industry.

“As we continue to fight against anti-LGBTQ+ extremism and shameful attempts to undermine our basic rights, is it also important to acknowledge how far we’ve come and to recognize the efforts of those who’ve helped make significant strides towards advancing LGBTQ+ equality,” said HRC President Kelley Robinson. “It is a pleasure to honor our amazing line-up of advocates whose commitment to the fight for freedom and justice plays an integral role in creating a better and brighter future for the LGBTQ+ community.”

Los Angeles-based comedian, actor and writer, Joel Kim Booster has had a prolific career as a creative and an advocate. He wrote and performed in rom-com Fire Island, which led to two Emmy nominations– Outstanding Writing For A Limited or Anthology Series or Movie and Outstanding Television Movie in 2023. Joel was named one of the Time100 Next 2022, recognizing him as a rising star and champion for LGBTQ+ and AANHPI equality. Joel has also received commendation for his comedy special, Psychosexual, recognized by Variety as one of the best comedy specials of 2022 and earning him a Critics Choice Award nomination. Joel has utilized his work and his platform to explore cultural expectations as a gay Asian American man, sharing experiences about his intersectional identities. Fire Island co-star, Zane Phillips, will be presenting Joel with the HRC Visibility Award.

Billy Porter is a singer, songwriter, actor, author, director and producer whose talent and advocacy work has touched the LGBTQ+ community for over two decades. Porter’s successful music career started in 1997 with the release of his debut album aka Untitled. More recently, Porter’s “Love Yourself” scored him his first #1 on the Billboard US Dance Club chart. Porter’s performance as Lola in Broadway’s Kinky Boots in 2013 earned him his first Tony for Best Leading Actor in a Musical. Well known for his role in FX drama series Pose, Porter was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards and became the first openly gay man to be nominated for and win an Emmy for a lead acting category. In 2021, Billy received the Elizabeth Taylor Commitment to End Aids award for his advocacy initiatives supporting communities affected by HIV/AIDS.

With 110,000 members, Leanne Pittsford is the CEO and founder of the largest LGBTQ+ professional community in the world. Lesbians Who Tech & Allies works to expand opportunities for LGBTQ+ women, nonbinary and trans folks, people of color and allies by working to achieve pay equity, opening doors to leadership positions/training and creating a community of professionals interested in networking in the tech space. Leanne helped to found SquadJobs, designed to support underrepresented candidates and combat bias in technology hiring. Leanne served as Senior Director at Equality California from 2006 to 2010 and spearheaded the creation of online fundraising tools that helped raise millions for the “No on Prop 8” campaign.

Tickets and further information are available at

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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