LGBTQ Legacy Leader Awards 2024

dsm magazine is proud to present our annual LGBTQ Legacy Leader Awards, now in its sixth year. Along with presenting sponsor Capital City Pride, we will recognize a slate of LGBTQ Legacy Leaders who have demonstrated a lifetime of achievement and commitment to the LGBTQ community.

We also will honor an ally of the LGBTQ community whose contributions to equality and justice have helped protect people of all genders and sexual orientations from being marginalized. And, new this year, we will recognize an Emerging LGBTQ Legacy Leader under 40 who is already making a significant difference in the community.

We’ll celebrate the honorees at a special event on Sept. 12 at the River Center. Event details will be announced this summer.

We welcome your help in selecting these leaders. All nominees for the awards should:

  • Demonstrate a record of public leadership in professional, civic or political roles, in addition to their dedication to LGBTQ causes.
  • Serve as role models and mentors to others over the years.
  • Contribute to the appreciation and recognition of cultural diversity in Iowa.

To submit a nomination for 2024, click here. Nominations are due April 5.

Presenting Sponsor

Past Honorees

Rich Hendricks, pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of the Quad Cities and a leader in eastern Iowa’s LGBTQ community
Rick Miller of Des Moines, a pioneer in Iowa’s LGBTQ rights movement and archivist of the Des Moines Pride Center
Laurie Phelan of Farrar, who founded the nonprofit iJAG to help Iowa students graduate and find meaningful in-state employment
Scott Valbert of Des Moines, an advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion at several of the city’s largest corporations
Aime Wichtendahl, a Hiawatha city councilor and Iowa’s first transgender elected official
Rich Salas (ally) of Des Moines University will be honored for his work to improve health care for LGBTQ patients through more inclusive education and advocacy

Read more about the 2023 honorees.


Pamela Duffy, Des Moines, retired associate professor, Des Moines University
Mark Kassis and Terry Lowman, Ames, retired restaurant owners
Jordan Selha, Des Moines, program manager, NuCara Staffing Services
Bruce Teague, Iowa City, mayor
Aiden Vasquez, Davenport, founder of the Aiden Vasquez Foundation
Rebecca Gruber (ally), Des Moines, former artistic director and conductor of the Des Moines Gay Men’s Chorus

Read more about the 2022 honorees.


Tim Hickman, Des Moines, principal at Substance Architecture
Eugenia Kutsch-Stanton, Des Moines, research scientist at Corteva Agriscience
Randy Mayer, Ames, chief of the Bureau of HIV, STD and Hepatitis at the Iowa Department of Public Health
John Schmacker, Des Moines, retired certified public accountant and nonprofit executive
Elle Wyant, Iowa City/Cedar Rapids, account executive at United Parcel Service
Dr. Kyle Christiason (ally), Cedar Falls, physician at UnityPoint Health

Read more about the 2021 honorees.


Tracy Lewis, Des Moines, vice president of Ankeny-based Mom’s Meals
Alexandra Gray, Des Moines, actress/performer and activist
Jan Jensen, Iowa City, associate head coach of women’s basketball at the University of Iowa
Eileen Gebbie, Ames, minister of the United Church of Christ
John Harper, Iowa City, retired minister and retired English professor at the University of Iowa
John Forsyth (ally), Des Moines, Wellmark CEO

Read more about the 2020 honorees.


George Belitsos of Ames, founder of the youth services organization YSS
Karen Mackey, a Sioux City attorney and champion of the rights of Native Americans
Sharon Malheiro, a Des Moines attorney and prominent civil rights advocate
Sonia Reyes-Snyder, a crusader for the rights of Latinos with the Iowa Office of Latino Affairs in Des Moines
Jeorgia Robison, a Marion attorney and pioneer in Iowans’ understanding of transgender persons
Jonathan Wilson, a Des Moines attorney and former school board member
Terri Hale (ally), retired from Principal in Des Moines

Read more about the 2019 honorees.

Supporting Sponsors

Ally Sponsor