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40 LAPRIDE.org

"LIFETIMEACHIEVEMENTAWARDMargaret ChoThe Morris Kight Lifetime Achievement Award, first given in 2003, recognizes an individual whose lifetime of work has left a lasting major imprint on the LGBT community.What is a lifetime? Is it the length of timethat you are on this earth? The amount oftime you spend at work? The volume ofexperience that you gain? The scope ofwhat you accomplish? Or is it all of them? Margaret Cho is a young 42 and still going strong.She has a volume of life experience, a catalogue ofwork that stands on its own and has accomplishedmore than others twice her age. "Laughing in the faceof adversity is a great distraction from the fear of notknowing what it may bring," said Cho.Margaret Cho is a comedian, activist and humanitari-an bringing laughter to the world, and especially theLGBT community as she advocates for acceptance andequality. The granddaughter of a Methodist ministerwho ran an orphanage in Seoul during the Korean War,the daughter of a mother who refused an arrangedmarriage and a father who writes Korean joke books,Cho's unique background is enhanced with the factthat she was raised in San Francisco during the '70s.Her childhood experience "was a really confusing,enlightening, wonderful time", Cho said. However,growing up different made Cho race towards adult-hood and she found solace in comedy. "I grew up in this very repressed environment,I just wanted to be rebellious, and I wanted totalk about all the things that I do and be veryhonest about it."By the age of 14, Margaret began writingstandup comedy and at 16 began perform-ing professionally. It was not long beforeher professional career took off and shewon the opportunity to open for JerrySeinfeld. Cho moved to LosAngeles in the early '90s and wasintroduced to late night byArsenio Hall and given a primetime special by Bob Hope.While still in her 20's, Chobecame nationally known. Margaret Cho is a quadruple threat! She can sing,dance, act, and she is funny. With so much talent onemay recognize that her purpose is to entertain but sheis so much more than an entertainer. Recently, Margaret Cho was on Dancing with theStars, during a time when the LGBT community need-ed a voice spreaking to the numerous young gay sui-cides. "I am very proud to have been able to wear agay pride dress on a show that is so conservative,"she said. "It is a wonderful thing to have every oneremember me . that I took time to acknowledge peo-ple who matter to me. I wanted to send an urgentmessage to gay teenagers to make them feel includedand loved. That dress was my statement to themabout pride."Margaret Cho has been an outspoken advocate andactivist for equality within the LGBT community.When asked what she sees as her purpose in thegreater LGBT community, Cho said, "I want to fightfor equality, to make sure we have equal rights andproper representation in our society. I also want to bethere to help the younger generation and be a goodmentor for them. LGBT youth need our support andour wisdom. Also, I want to make sure we all have agood time!"And when Pride Magazine asked Margaret Chowhat PRIDE means to her, she said, "I have beenattending gay pride celebrations for much of my life,and they have grown and changed so much. It's soincredible to witness and I am grateful to have been apart of something that is so profound-celebratingourselves, loving ourselves, being proud of ourselves.It means so much." For all that she has accomplished, and all that shewill continue to do, Christopher Street West is honoredto present Margaret Cho with the 2011 Morris KightLifetime Achievement Award." This is such a tremen-dous honor," Cho said. "I am so excited about this.This is my community, my home and I am very proudof how far we have come in our journey."This is such a tremendous honor, I am so excited about this. This is my community, my home and Iam very proud of how far we have come in our journey."41