Today, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski honored longtime LGBTQ rights activist Kate Kendall and philanthropist Bruce Bastian with a Key to the City. The award was presented on National Coming Out Day, an annual LGBTQ day of awareness and action.
In choosing to honor Kate Kendall and Bruce Bastian, Mayor Biskupski noted their long-time advocacy on behalf the LGBTQ community in Utah and across the nation. Both Kate and Bruce have deep ties to the State but have gone on to play national roles in the fight for LGBTQ equality in unique ways.
Bruce Bastian is a graduate of Brigham Young University. After graduating from BYU, Bruce co-founded the software company Wordperfect. After coming out, Bruce devoted himself to philanthropy and activism, using his success to support local and national LGBTQ equality efforts. Most notably is his support of the Human Rights Campaign and the campaign against Prop 8 in California. Bruce currently resides in Orem.
“In empowering others to be true to themselves and live openly, Bruce has been instrumental in advancing equality from coast to coast,” said Mayor Jackie Biskupski. “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.”
“I think most people in life just want to be who they are, they just want to be happy,” said Bruce Bastian in accepting the honor. “I don’t think people can be happy if they aren’t authentic and that’s what I want to help support.”
Kate Kendell is a native Utahn and received her J.D. from the University of Utah College of Law. As the first staff attorney for the ACLU of Utah, she directly litigated many high-profile cases focusing on all aspects of civil liberties. For twenty years, Kate has served as the Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, working to advance the civil and human rights of the LGBTQ community across the country. NCLR served as co-counsel in Kitchen v. Herbert the landmark Utah marriage equality case, and recently partnered with Equality Utah to overturn Utah’s so-called “No Promo Homo” which was repealed by the Utah legislature in March in response to a federal lawsuit.
“Kate has been a driving force behind the strategy which has transformed the legal landscape for LGBTQ people across the country,” said Mayor Jackie Biskupski. “Though her work is national, 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 goes down in my very blessed life as the most spectacular thing I have ever been a part of,” said Kate Kendall on the event. “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 to individuals selected by the Mayor who have used their voices, talents, or resources to improve the local community in significant ways. This is only the third time Mayor Biskupski has offered the award, previously honoring local artist Jann Haworth and restauranteur Tom Guinney.
Photos available on request