Honor the deserving LGBTQ+ advocates and allies in your life

Monica Trasandes, Amita Swadhin, LaShawn McGhee, Mayor Meister, Councilmember Erickson, Mayor Pro-Tem Shyne,
Greg Hernandez, Alia Daniels, Councilmember D’Amico, Councilmember Horvath, Jazzmun Crayton

City of West Hollywood’s annual Rainbow Key Awards accepting nominations through January 31.

Is there someone you admire — even from afar for their spirit and work that benefits the LGBTQ+ community?

Renee and I sure do, and last year two of our nominees/heroes were chosen to be amongst 5 honorees to receive the coveted Rainbow Key Award, Monica Trasandes and Greg Hernandez.

Joining them were: Jazzmun Crayton, Amita Swadhin, and Revry TV; Founders Damian Pelliccione, LaShawn McGhee, Alia Daniels, Chris Rodriguez.

It was a magical night for all and a real honor for Renee (LGBTQ+ Advisory Board Member) to introduce Monica and Greg. Not to distract, I slid down in my seat and secretly pressed video on my phone.

“I would say it has made me feel more connected than ever to the many joys of being part of this city and of the community of LGBTQ activists.” Monica Trasandes

“Receiving this honor was such unexpected validation for doing work that I love and feel compelled to do. It made me feel seen and truly appreciated by the LGBTQ community and our allies. It was an evening I will cherish forever.” 😊 Greg Hernandez

Here is a written version of Renee’s introductions with a link to my video that includes Trasandes and Hernandez acceptance speeches 🌈 Enjoy.


Introducing Monica Trasandes:

While researching Monica, I came across this headline from LGBTQ Nation: “Monica Trasandes is on the front lines fighting back against LGBTQ invisibility”

When you see positive depictions of LGBTQ people in Spanish and Latin media, you might have this lesbian advocate to thank”

Monica Trasandes is on the front lines fighting back against LGBTQ invisibility – LGBTQ Nation

I met Monica in the 90’s when she was Editor in Chief of Frontiers – California’s largest Gay News Magazine at the time. Many assumed the popular, men’s focused Frontiers was run by men – but for eleven years, it was Monica.

And in 2008 Monica joined forces with GLAAD – she is their Director of Spanish Language and Latinx Media & Representation – where she’s been able to expand her activism to a global audience.

She is a frequent guest on national and international news programs: representing, speaking truth to power, commanding the screen with her soft spoken delivery.

When I was thinking about how to describe Monica tonight – what comes to mind of course is, smart, kind, authentic, a mover – and a shaker, and also uniquely – unassuming.  I googled unassuming just to make sure – and this is what I found:

“The word unassuming means modest, lacking in arrogance, polite, pleasant. Some of the most unassuming people are actually the most interesting and powerful of all. They’re just decent enough not to display it all the time.”

I’m going to display or brag about another talent that you may not know of. Monica is a Playwright AND a Novelist –  Author of – Broken Like This.  Broken Like This was selected as one of 4 books to read over winter break by OPRAH’s Book Club!

When Monica is not taking the media by storm – you may see her at Plummer Park – playing pickle-ball and riding bikes with her beautiful young daughter.

Congratulations Monica and thank you for all you do.

Renee Sotile, Greg Hernandez, Monica Trasandes, Mj Godges
Renee Sotile, Greg Hernadez, Monica Trasandes, Mj Godges

Introducing Greg Hernadez:

Our very own Greg Hernadez – a regular on red carpet press lines –

long before the Entertainment Tonight’s or other media outlets even considered LGBTQ events newsworthy.

I want to share a couple Breaking News “Greg in Hollywood” headline stories.

In 2011, in this very room, Greg moderated a panel for the West Hollywood book fair — with quests Florence Henderson, Dyan Cannon and others we grew up watching.

It was a lively discussion and as the event was wrapping up – Greg semi-jokingly asks Mrs Brady to SING the Brady Bunch theme – without missing a beat – she stands up and belts out – Here’s the story….

The audience joins in. I quickly pull out my trusty FLIP cam and start recording. Truly a special moment for everyone.

And that is so Greg, whatever he does – he creates a magical experience.

See Florence Henderson (and me!) sing “Brady Bunch” theme song at WeHo Book Fair! 


No one else had recorded it. And that is how my wife, Mary jo and I became fast friends with Greg – and the beginning of many Traipsing Thru shenanigans.

One night the three of us were backstage at the Emmys waiting for the winners. I stood up for a second to adjust my video camera, when Rita Moreno walks into the small press room – makes a beeline towards us and sits down in MY chair.

I glance over at Greg, who’s now sitting straight up with the look of sheer terror and excitement on his face  –  I motion “she’s in my chair” Greg whispers “I know” and shushed me (finger to lips)

I realized what a BIG fan Greg was when he wrote about it:

When EGOT Rita Moreno sat next to Greg In Hollywood backstage at the Daytime Emmys


Always professional, knowledgeable and kind– celebrities are drawn to Greg-and so are we.

They often walk up to HIM with arms open, ready to greet with a hug and kiss.

Greg – thanks for getting the scoops and keeping us in the news.

Monica Trasandez, Jazzmun Crayton, Amita Swadhin, Alia Daniels, LaShawn McGhee, Greg Hernandez


Nominations may be submitted electronically through the application link here: 


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About Renee Sotile & Mj Godges
2 EMMY Wins/Doc Filmmakers/News Crew/Activist Citizens Renee Sotile & Mj Godges @LGBTHollywood

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Weho resident
Weho resident
2 months ago

Every year they pick their friends. More out of towners than residents. The criteria seems to be being trans and screaming and yelling and being part of that group .

2 months ago
Reply to  Weho resident

Please consider submitting. I can confirm that the 2 years I had a vote in the selection process, I did not know many of the nominees. Their bios are provided and discussed. Nominees do not have to live in WeHo.
Below is a new rule implemented last year:
Please note that individuals who are employed by the City of West Hollywood, and appointed officials currently serving or having served within the prior year on a City Advisory Board, Commission, or Task Force, cannot be considered for an award.

Joe Bologna
Joe Bologna
2 months ago

But don’t awards signify one entity being better or more deserving than another entity? I thought the world was against that nowadays.

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
2 months ago

good grief

Larry Block
2 months ago

Thank you Renee and Mj, for your first article in WEHOville. xoxoxo

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