The Dorothy Awards Have a Heart, Brains, Nerve and a Home

Did you see the fabulous Oscar pre-show fashion event where movie stars had to guess what was inside a covered glass case? The answer was Dorothy’s ruby slippers.

Other references to those magical footwear are just around the corner. A new movie, The Great and Powerful Oz (sans Dorothy, but avec Wizard) opens March 9.

Then there are the Dorothy Awards, New Haven’s own Oz-struck legacy of wisdom, love, courage and “no place like home”-iness. They celebrate not fantasy but community.

New Haven’s gone dotty for the Dorothy Awards for a decade now. These honors, bestowed by the New Haven Pride Center, are given to “members of the local community for their contributions to LGBT life.”

Honorees over the years have included performers, priests, lawyers, fundraisers, folks from all walks of life. This year, the Dorothys go to clinical social worker (and Yale grad) Irwin Krieger (author of the parent’s guide Helping Your Transgender Teen), LGBT activists Carolyn and Leslie Gabel-Brett and the quarter-century-old Sweetheart Invitational bowling tournament.

The Dorothys are known for the sincerity of their presentations. They award those who genuinely have made life better for the New Haven LGBT community. Likewise, the New Haven Pride Center which proffers these awards is dedicated to greater awareness of LGBT issues locally, while providing an active space where the lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender community can gather. The center is the only one of its kind in New Haven County, and counts on donations and volunteer help for its continued existence.

The annual Dorothy Awards ceremony is also a major fundraising event for the Pride Center, which had its first location at One Long Wharf in the mid-1990s after years of planning, then moved to Fitch Street. A few years ago it shifted to its current location on Gilbert Street in West Haven.

The tenth annual Dorothy Awards ceremony happens Saturday, March 2 from 6 to 11 p.m. at Fantasia on Washington Avenue in North Haven. Besides the awards, there’s a silent auction (of everything from theater tickets to wedding services), a cocktail reception, dinner, and a DJ to dance to. The host is Jocelyn Maminta of Channel 8 News. Tickets cost $100, with discounts for Pride Center members and those who purchase enough tix for a whole table.

For details, see or