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Biskupski presents Kate Kendall, Bruce Bastian with Keys to the City

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Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski chose National Coming Out Day to honor longtime LGBTQ activist Kate Kendall and philanthropist Bruce Bastian with a Key to the City.

In honoring Kendall and Bastian, the Mayor noted their longtime advocacy on behalf of LGBTQ in Utah and nationally. Kendall is executive director of the San Francisco based National Center for Lesbian Rights. Bastian has taken a lead role in supporting the Human Rights Campaign and the campaign against Prop 8 in California.

After graduating from BYU, Bastian co-founded the software company WordPerfect, an early gold standard in word processing software. After selling the company, Bastian devoted himself to philanthropy and activism, supporting local and national LGBTQ equality efforts. His philanthropy, through the Bruce Bastian Foundation is broadly based in arts, social welfare as well as LGBTQ organizations. Utah remains his home.

Longtime friend and associate, Senator James Dabakis, said in introduction, “Bruce has not only been a leader for Salt Lake City and the LGBTQ community over the last generation, I doubt there is a single person in our entire state who has not benefited from his vision and generosity. I shudder to think what our community would be like without his influence and smile.”

The Mayor noted, “For decades, Bruce created a safe space for LGBTQ people at home, and through his generosity helped make Utah an epicenter of the LGBTQ movement.”

Bastian accepted, saying, “I think most people in life just want to be who they are, they just want to be happy. I don’t think people can be happy if they aren’t authentic and that’s what I want to help support.”

Two Utah LGBT luminaries, Jane Marquardt and Carol Gnade, introduced Kate Kendall with reminisces about her activity as a student at Weber State University and counsel for the Utah ALCU. After the ALCU stint, where Gnade was a former director, Kendall became executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Longtime leader and activist, Marquardt observed Kendall surrounded by fans and admirers, “Because in addition to her eloquence, brilliance and strategic thinking about issues of civil rights, she has a magnetic ability to make people feel appreciated, to make them feel needed, to make them feel loved.”

“Kate has been a driving force behind the strategy which has transformed the legal landscape for LGBTQ people across the country,” said Mayor Biskupski. “Kate has never forgotten where she is from, using her considerable talent and knowledge to ensure LGBTQ Utahns are thoroughly protected.”

“This day and this event go down in my very blessed life as the most spectacular thing I have ever been a part of,” said Kendall. “To be in a room with some of my closest friends and family — including my great friend the mayor — and to receive my first ever Key to the City was a stunner in every way.”

The Key to the City is presented by the mayor to those using “their voices, talents, or resources to improve the local community in significant ways.” This is the third time Mayor Biskupski has offered the award, previously honoring local artist Jann Haworth and restaurateur Tom Guinney.

Photo by Cat Palmer.

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