Officials with the Stonewall National Museum and Archives announced today that they will be presenting Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns with the Stonewall Spirit of Pride Award at the museum’s Our Stars event Nov. 11 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Burns is being honored for his efforts as part of the It Gets Better campaign to fight bullying and LGBT teen suicide, which began in October last year when he delivered a tearful speech during a council meeting about his own experiences as a bullied teen and the day he contemplated suicide.
Video of Burns’ speech went viral on YouTube, receiving more than 2.6 million views.
Burns will also be speaking Saturday at the annual award program for LEAGUE, the LGBT employee group at AT&T, and on Sunday, Sept. 18, he will be honorary grand marshal in the annual Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade — a fitting choice since the theme for this year’s parade is “It Only Gets Better.”
The Stonewall museum and archives will also be honoring pioneering lesbian politician Elaine Noble at the Our Stars event, presenting her with the Heritage of Pride Award. Noble made history in 1975 as the first openly gay person in the U.S. to be elected to a state legislature.
Previous winners of the Heritage of Pride Award include legendary LGBT activist Barbara Gittings and openly gay U.S. Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts. Burns is the first person to receive the Spirit of Pride Award.