Friday I attended Switchboard of Miami's annual All Star Non-Profit Awards Luncheon held at Jungle Island. Many LGBT community leaders attended the event, including Rep.-elect David Richardson, D-Miami Beach, Florida's first openly gay state lawmaker.
Care Resource of Miami and Fort Lauderdale was nominated for an Innovation All Star Award, for its work with people living with HIV/AIDS.
Switchboard of Miami, Miami-Dade's crisis center, launched a gay suicide hotline in 2005. It became the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Suicide Hotline in 2006. Between July 1, 2007, and June 30, 2008, Switchboard took about 400 calls from people identifying themselves as gay, including 56 that counselors declared ''crisis calls,'' or people at immediate risk.
It's not just young gay people contemplating suicide, said Ed Straub Jr., a Switchboard board member who founded the hotline. ''In the first year of our program, . . . 52 percent of the people calling the Switchboard were between the ages 35 and 59,'' he said.
Both gay men and lesbians are at risk. ''Absolutely,'' Straub said. ``In fact, women are twice as likely to consider suicide as men, even though the number of male suicides is higher.''
Straub, who hosted Friday's luncheon, received a rose bouquet for his longtime volunteer work with Switchboard.
Click here to view more pictures from the luncheon. Photos by STEVE ROTHAUS / Miami Herald Staff.