Nel Ward received the Boa Award for her on-going work with GLBTRT, most recently her participation in the transition of the GLBTRT Newsletter to GLBT News, a website that became the new official outlet for round table news earlier this year. With that change came the new Reviews Committee, a round table standing committee which Ward will chair, beginning in July 2014. The website for the reviews will undergo revisions in the next few months. Ward co-founded two standing round table committees, The Rainbow Project and Over the Rainbow List Committee. The first was created in 2007 to recommend the many books that reflect GLBTQ people and their experiences. Over the Rainbow Committee followed three years later to provide a recommended bibliography of GLBT books for adults.
Ward said that her first experience with GLBTRT was as a treasurer with SRRT in the mid-1990s when the round table was a SRRT task force. She has always appreciated the dedication and work of GLBTRT members and the strong support for grass-roots efforts.
A current GLBTRT member asked about the meaning and history of the Boa Award. With no mention in the newsletter, its history and connections seem to be somewhat shrouded in history. It is literally, a boa, this year without feathers but instead made from hairâ€”a lovely dark blue. Its history as a fashion piece goes back almost three centuries but became a campy accessory, frequently for gay men, in the twentieth century. It has been reported that former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover was seen with a black boa over his red dress.
The history of the Boa Award goes back over a decade in GLBTRT. A roundtable member reported that Satia Orange, OLOS support person for GLBTRT, current round table Chair Roland Hansen, possibly the first recipient, and Bill Berfalk were also awarded the Boa Award. Judy Grahn, author of Another Mother Tongue, may have gotten a Boa. Satia Orangeâ€™s assistant, Tanga Morris, received a Boa for being a â€œgreat ally,â€ and Steve Stratton, who received a Boa at the end of his second term as GLBTRT co-chair in 2005, wrote that â€œit is my most treasured honor ever.â€ Thanks to Ellen Bosman, John DeSantis, John Moore, Robert Ridinger, Steve Stratton, and Walt Cat Walker for contributing to this history.
If you have more information about the award, please contact Nel Ward via the GLBT News Contact form.