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The 35th Lambda Awards

By David T. Valentin

Just last Friday (June 9th), Lambda literary hosted the Lamda Award’s Ceremony, the first in-person award ceremony since 2019 prior to the 2020 pandemic and quarantine.

Samiya Bashir, poet, activist, educator, the newest executive director of Lambda Literary and a kindred soul, had the opportunity host the 35th Lammy’s awards along with her dedicated team.

In the award ceremony’s press release by Lambda Literary, Executive Director Samiya Bashir writes, “ In a moment when our voices and our stories are being weaponized against our very lives across the country, supporting our storytellers—whether their media centers the page, the stage or the survey, is more critical by the day. Lambda Literary has embarked on a truly transformational year—growing its size and capacity to meet our cultural moment where our communities need us most. Supporting the Lammys not only makes that work possible, but does so while providing a sanctuary of celebration. Here our voices, and our lives are (celebrated), and our stories are artfully, joyfully told.”

And Bashir certainly took that energy to the Lammy’s this year. Dedicated to uplifting voices in the LGBTQ+ community, Bashir had all trans people headline the awards ceremony throughout the night.

Held in the decadent Edison Ballroom, the event was topped with a cocktail hour, a delicious dinner and an open bar during the award ceremony, AND an after party that ran from 9:30 pm to midnight!

It was certainly a pleasure to be back in person and to witness so much queer joy and expression in one place, and especially at a time where that joy is fiercely and irrationally under attacked by the ignorant.

Volunteering and being behind the scenes of seeing how such a wonderful night comes to fruition was a joy I don’t think I would have experienced fully had I just been attending as press. There was a certain solidarity and friendliness to this year that I don’t think was present in subsequent years. And if it was, perhaps it was just my introverted personality that stopped me. After all, I came to the last Lammy celebration four years ago in flanel (not that there is anything wrong with flannel). Only that this year I’m more out, more expressive of my sexuality but my gender fluidity as well. And to be surrounded with so many others not only proud to be who they are but have the courage to be who they are in this political climate was a fierceness not even the most anti-lgbtq+ people could possibly snuff out.


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