Martina Navratilova to Receive Equality Florida's "Voice for Equality" Award At Annual Broward Gala


Equality Florida Institute will honor tennis legend Martina Navratilova with the Voice for Equality Award at the organization’s 14th Annual Equality Florida Broward Gala, presented by PNC on Sunday, November 13 at B Ocean Resort on Fort Lauderdale beach. Presented by PNC Bank, the event attracts more than 500 community, business, political and student leaders.

The Voice for Equality award recognizes an individual who demonstrates steadfast courage and personal commitment to LGBT equality. Last year’s recipient was Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the U.S. Supreme Court's decision affirming the freedom to marry throughout the United States.

“Martina exhibited tremendous courage when she came out in a relatively hostile environment in 1981,” said Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida. “She sacrificed lucrative sponsorship deals, and public support was nowhere near the outpourings we see today.”

Thanks to pioneers like Martina, companies like Nike, Adidas, Ralph Lauren, Target and hundreds more have stepped up to increase awareness and tolerance and support the LGBT community.

As a member of Athlete Ally, an organization that provides public awareness campaigns, educational programming and resources to foster inclusive sports communities, Martina has joined more than 100 professional athletes as an “ambassador” to help build equality in the athletic arena.

“Following on the heels of an exciting Summer Olympics, sports figures are seen as role models, setting the bar for the younger generation,” said Nate Klarfeld, Gala co-chair. “Martina helped pave the way, inspiring others to fight against all odds to be who they are. We are thrilled to honor her at this year’s Gala”

In her piece for Sports Illustrated, Martina commented on what Jason Collins’ coming out means for the future of LGBT athletes in sports, as well as the impact on LGBT youth. Praising Collins’ coming-out as a “watershed moment” for LGBT people in sports, she wrote, “It's only when you come out that you can breathe properly. It's only when you come out that you can be exactly who you are. Collins' action will save lives. This is no exaggeration: Fully one third of suicides among teenagers occur because of their sexuality... Millions of kids will see that it is OK to be gay. No need for shame, no need for embarrassment, no need for hiding.”

View Martina Navratilova’s marriage equality PSA for Equality Florida:

The Broward Equality Gala is among the first large-scale events to be held in the iconic B Ocean Resort’s contemporary new ballroom, which features state of the art technology. Formerly known as the Yankee Clipper, B Ocean Resort debuted earlier this year following a multi-million dollar renovation.

A highlight of the gala will be the presentation of the annual “State of the State” address by Equality Florida’s CEO, Nadine Smith, celebrating the landmark milestones of the past year and presenting the course for the work yet to be accomplished. The evening includes sumptuous hors d’oeuvres, delicious cocktails and dancing, ensuring a truly memorable and fun experience.

Equality Florida is grateful to the hundreds of sponsors of this year’s Gala, including Tito’s Handmade Vodka, the company that raised over $150,000 for the Pulse Victim’s Fund by matching donations made at events they sponsored across America, and which has now signed on to become Equality Florida’s statewide vodka sponsor. Additional thanks to media sponsors: Florida Agenda, Genre Latino, Guy, HotSpots, Mark’s List, Palette-Miami Herald and SFGN. Sponsorships are still available--for information contact Row Iliescu at [email protected] or (305) 335-2102.

The Gala takes place on Sunday, November 13 from 5-8 pm at B Ocean Resort, 1140 Seabreeze Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316. Tickets are $175 and are tax deductible to the full extent allowed under the law. For tickets or further information, please go to or contact Row Iliescu at [email protected].

Equality Florida Institute is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.





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