Christine Leinonen, Keynote Speaker
Christine Leinonen will be the keynote speaker for the 2016 Spirit Awards. Christine is the mother of Christopher (Drew) Leinonen who was murdered along with his boyfriend Juan Guerrero and 47 others at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. She spoke at the Democratic National Convention on July 27th about Christopher and the need for common sense gun control. Christine will speak to the work her son did when he started a Gay-Straight Alliance at his high school and the role his memory is playing in making a better world for LGBTQ individuals.
The Orlando Weekly has been writing articles about those murdered in Orlando. From their piece on Christopher:
The 32-year-old knew a little bit of everything. As a Seminole High School student, he started a Gay-Straight Alliance student chapter, which earned him the Anne Frank Humanitarian Award. The University of Central Florida graduate worked as a licensed mental health counselor by day and in his free time explored cinema, photography, history, politics, vegetarianism and the intricacies of playing Dance Dance Revolution. Lupton says Leinonen loved to go to the Enzian Theater with friends to watch classic movies like Citizen Kane and Vertigo, and then over a nice dinner, ask everybody what they had thought.
Watch Christine's speech to the Democratic National Convention:
To read more about those murdered in Orlando on June 12th click here.