Equality Virginia (EV) has named its 2012 OUTstanding Virginian honorees. These individuals represent Virginia’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community with distinction.

Nicholas Benton started the Falls Church News Press, as well as the Nicholas F. Benton Diversity Affirmation Education Fund for the Falls Church City Public Schools. In addition to his lifelong work in journalism, Nicholas has also had several writings published on the gay rights movement, and LGBT activism.

Congratulations to Benton for this award. He deserves it because he is a trailblazer and a trendsetter who publishes an incredible newspaper. I am so honored that my friend Ben Finzel introduced us many years ago and that my column’s “home paper” is the Falls Church News Press.

The 2012 OUTstanding Virginians will be honored at the 9th Annual Commonwealth Dinner held on Saturday, April 14, 2012. In addition to honoring our 2012 OUTstanding Virginians,  guest speakers; Dot-Marie Jones, also known as Coach Beiste of the hit television show Glee, and David McFarland, Interim Executive Director of The Trevor Project, will attend to highlight the importance of building safe schools and help to increase awareness of EV’s safe school work.