Stuart Milk presents Patty Sheehan with Lifetime Achievement Award

By : Jeremy Williams
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Orlando – Human rights activist Stuart Milk presented City Commissioner Patty Sheehan with a lifetime achievement award during the third annual Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast presented by the LGBT Center of Central Florida at the Orlando Museum of Art on May 11.

Sheehan was visibly surprised when she took to the stage to accept her award from Milk.

“We have the privilege to honor someone who did not set out to win any award,” Milk said. “She has been out their being visible, being who she is and has been willing to take the slings and arrows of being the first.”

Sheehan, who was the first openly gay elected official in Central Florida, was honored for her political work in Orlando for the last 15 years.

“To see that it’s not all gay people coming here for a breakfast to honor Harvey Milk and to honor heroes in our community, that means so much to me,” Sheehan said. “I love what I do.”

Milk, nephew to slain gay politician and LGBT rights activist Harvey Milk, spoke to the crowd about his uncle before calling Sheehan to the stage.

“My uncle wrote in a letter to the family, ‘My death, my assassination will be the beginning, not the end. Do not shed tears for the loss, see the vision for the future.’ That’s how much courage he had,” said Milk.

Gina Duncan of Equality Florida was also honored at the breakfast with the LGBT Trailblazer Award.

“Together I hope that we will all continue to believe one day being transgender will have no more significance than being left-handed or blue-eyed because that’s the way we were born,” Duncan said as she accepted her award.

Mayor Buddy Dyer spoke at the event on the importance of diversity in Orlando before Honorable Bob LeBlanc, Wes Featherston and Honorable Tiffany Moore Russell were all awarded with an LGBT Ally Award.

“I believe that diversity is the greatest strength that we have in the city of Orlando,” said Dyer. “It’s not only the morally right thing to do, but it is also the economically right thing to do. In terms of being a successful city of the future, smart young people that can live anywhere want to live in an inclusive city, a tolerant city and a city that values equality.”

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