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When I saw that David Vandygriff was looking for a photographer for Rainbow Awards JAX it took me about 5 seconds to jump on the opportunity. I’ve noticed something about my portfolio lately, and that was that it’s looking a little whitewashed. It happened by accident but it’s a something I’m working on changing! I want clients to know that I am an ally, that I am inclusive of everyone. This is just one of many steps I’m working on to correct the look of Ashley Morton Photography.
I say this, not to make this event about me, but because over the course of the evening at Rainbow Awards, I saw first hand the difference allies can make and what an inclusive, supportive community can mean for individual lives and for the city as a whole.
But enough about me, let’s talk about the people doing serious work in the LGBT community. I want to share with you a bit about David Vandygriff, a community activist and business owner. He created the Rainbow Awards JAX in April of 2011 in an effort to honor local businesses, individuals, organizations, charities & groups to help bring a POSITIVE awareness of the role LGBTQIA play in helping develop Jacksonville into a large, diverse, and accepting place to live, play, and work.
2018 Rainbow Awards JAX Winners
- Humanitarian Award
- Local Most Influential Person
- Best Local Corporation for Equality
- Best Local Equality Organization
- Best Local LGBT Charity or Organization
- Best LGBT Local Business Owner
Gary Motes – Hamburger Mary’s
- Best LGBT Nightclub/Dance Club
Metro Entertainment Complex
- Best Local LGBT Bar
- Best Local Straight Ally
- Best Local Clergy Leader
Pastor Vincent Brown – The Outlet Church of Jacksonville
- Best Local LGBT Group
Bank of American LGBT Network Jax
- Best Local Writer/Journalist
Claire Goforth – Folio Weekly
- Best Local Lawyer
Troy Frauqhar – Integrity Law
- Best Local Community Theater Group
The 5 & Dime
- Best Local Tattoo Studio
Mystic Koi Tattoo
- Best Local Pub or Brew Pub
Mary’s Pub House Jax
- Best Local LGBT Happy Hour
- Best Local LGBT Annual Event
River City Pride
- Best Local Hair Stylist
Lee Jensen – Shampoo Salon
- Best Local Hair Salon
- Best Local Realtor
Joseph Poletto – Watson Realty
- Best Local Florist
- Best Local Artist
- Best Local Restaurant
Bread & Board Co – 5 Points
- Best Local Hotel/B&B
Richard Ceriello’s General Store
- Best Local HIV/AIDS Resource Center
NFAN – Northeast Florida AIDS Network
- Best Local Bartender
Princess Rob – Metro Entertainment Complex
- Best Performer: Drag Queen / Female Entertainer
- Best Performer: Drag King / Male Entertainer
- Best Performer: Musician
- Best Performer: Stage Actor
- Best Performer: Stage Actress
- Best Performer: DJ
DJ Rob Sessions
- Best Local Bar/Nightclub Owner
Staci Ybarra – InCahoots Nightclub
- Best Local Music Venue
- Best Local Play/Production
Coming OUT Monologues
- Best Local Politician
- Best Local Gym
New Jax Gym
- Best Local Pizza Place
Carmine’s – Riverside
- Best Local Mental/Behavioral Health Provider
John Pimental – LSS
- Best Local Spa
Seventh Wonder Spa
- Best Local Plastic Surgery
Dr. Clayman’s Plastic Surgery
- Best Local HIV/AIDS Clinic
CAN Community Health – LSS Jax
2018 Rainbow Awards JAX Honorees
- Park Place honored for years of work & donations to local LGBT charities.
- Mike Nicholson honored with work with River City Pride.
- Heather Vaughan honored for work in the AIDS/HIV Community.
- Emily Rokosch years of work with local LGBTQ youth through JASMYN.
- Adrian Bray-Kelly work with Jacksonville Black Pride and local community.
- Elder Source honored work in the Jacksonville LGBT Community meeting the needs of our elderly.
- Jame Eddy honored for his work in the Duval Democrat Party and local LGBT Community
- Susan Dubow honored for work with local charities and LGBT ally.
The Rainbow Awards JAX is hosted by ZeroHate.org an anonymous organization doing works to help bring awareness to many social issues within the Jacksonville community, by hosting events, one-on-one conversations, joint ventures with other non-profits, and being a voice for those that cannot speak themselves through advocacy.