The Colin Higgins Foundation recently announced its 14th Annual Colin Higgins Youth Courage Award winners who are being recognized for their extraordinary personal leadership and advocacy on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.

HIV/AIDS Activist Jacques Agbobly, 16, of Chicago, IL

Transgender Rights Leader Ashton Lee, 17, of Manteca, CA

Media Advocate Edidiong “Didi” Adiakpan, 19, of San Antonio, TX

“The legacy of our friend Colin Higgins lives on through the advocacy of these exemplary youth. Jacques, Ashton and Didi each have shown a great deal of courage as they stand up and make a difference in their communities,” said James Rogers, board president of the Colin Higgins Foundation. “Their courage is apparent in their everyday lives as well as in their push to give a voice to issues such as HIV/AIDS, transgender rights or helping to de-stigmatize LGBTQ people in immigrant African communities.”

Colin Higgins is best known as the screenwriter of the classic films Harold and Maude and as the writer/director of 9 to 5 and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Like the characters in his films, Colin Higgins Youth Courage Award recipients have endured overwhelming hardships, yet have handled themselves with the utmost grace and dignity.

Colin Higgins Foundation is dedicated to supporting LGBTQ youth in underserved communities and the programs and organizations that foster and build their leadership and empowerment. Since 1993, the Foundation has awarded over 341 grants totaling over three million dollars to further the humanitarian vision of its founder, Colin Higgins.

This year’s award winners will each receive a $10,000 grant as well as an all-expense paid trip to LA PRIDE and the Task Force’s Creating Change conference. The award ceremony will take place in Los Angeles during LA PRIDE in June. Since 2000, the Colin Higgins Foundation has handed out fifty Courage Awards to outstanding individuals in the LGBTQ community and their supporters.

Congratulations to Jacques, Ashton, and Edidiong from all of us at TIDES.