Beacons of Light 2017: Celebrating Our LGBTQ Champions

MassEquality's Beacons of Light Dinner and Icon Awards Ceremony took place on Thursday, March 23 at the Courtyard Downtown in Boston, MA. The evening honored the 2017 Icon Award winners, who were chosen for their exceptional leadership, voice, advocacy and commitment to bettering the lives of the LGBTQ community. The evening included an inspiring vocal performance by the Boston area women's chorus Voices Rising.














(L-R) Board President Stan Zanarotti, MassEquality Education Fund Board President Dr. Valerie Fein-Zachary, LOCS Co-founder Shaunya Thomas, Senate President Stan Rosenberg, BAGLY Executive Director Grace Sterling Stowell, MassEquality Executive Director Deborah Shields, Senator Barbara L'Italien, Representative Jack Lewis. Photo © 2017 by Marilyn Humphries.


2017 Icon Award Winners

Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, the first openly gay and Jewish legislator to lead the Massachusetts Senate in its over-three-hundred year history, won the Political Icon Award.

BAGLY (the Boston Alliance of LGBTQ Youth), one of the country’s first and longest running youth-led, adult-supported LGBTQ organizations, won the Community Icon Award.

The LOCS (Lesbians of Color Symposium) Collective, a non-profit community organization founded in 2012, dedicated to the service and support of LBTQ-identified women of color and allies, won the Special Recognition Award.















Guests mingle during the 2017 Icon Awards dinner and ceremony.
Photo © 2017 by Marilyn Humphries.


“We congratulate and thank our Icon Award winners for their pioneering work on behalf of the LGBTQ community,” said MassEquality’s Executive Director, Deborah Shields, JD, MPH in an official statement. “They have been beacons of light during dark times, and fought for us and alongside us throughout many battles for our rights. Our community is stronger because of their efforts.”

MassEquality also thanks our many supporters and friends who attended the event, our generous sponsors, our dedicated volunteer team, the Event Planning committee and our Board members for helping us make this event truly exceptional.


More photos from the event are posted in our Flickr photo gallery.

Photo of LOCS Collective award by Tara Parker.


Our Proud Sponsors

Justice Advocates

Eastern Bank logo IVF New England logo Harvard Pilgrim HealthCare logo


Media Partner

                              Boston Spirit Magazine logo  

Inclusion Activists

Diane DiCarlo and Jeanne Leszczynski
Fenway Health
Jack Hornor and Ron Skinn
Seyfarth Shaw, LLP

Coalition Builders

AIDS Action Committee
Lisa J. Drapkin & Debbie Lewis
Robb Johnson & Rick Gosselin
Valerie & Jacqueline Fein-Zachary

Community Friends

Ted Cutler
Justice Resource Institute
Kauffman Law & Mediation
Neal Minahan
Robyn Ochs
Jordana Phillips
Planned Parenthood League of MA

Event Planner

Events by Catalina


Marilyn Humphries

Volunteer Team

Daniela Agin
Kristina Chemareva
Alisa Joyce
Taylor Smith