At the recent National Conference on Addiction Disorders, Phil McCabe, CSW, CAS, CDVC, DRCC, board president of The Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Addiction Professionals and Their Allies (NALGAP) recognized George Marcelle with NALGAP's Founders Award. Named for NALGAP co-founders, Dana G. Finnegan, Ph.D. and Emily B. McNally, Ph.D., the award recognizes LGBT individuals who offer exceptional support to substance abuse prevention treatment and recovery support programs and services for more than 25 years.
Marcelle, who has been in recovery since 1974, was a longtime public information officer at the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) and has worked for more than a decade at ICF International, where he has managed a joint Center for Substance Abuse Prevention/National Prevention Network communications training initiative.
A member of NALGAP nearly from the association’s inception, Marcelle coordinated the first national conference track examining alcoholism in the gay community, in 1980. In 1986, he was instrumental in organizing the first national educational workshop for physicians on the relationship between substance abuse and the emerging HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Marcelle also chaired an LGBT constituent committee for the former California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs and drafted a committee report titled Invisible Californians.
In receiving the award, Marcelle offered these remarks to the audience, which included attendees of both NCAD and the Behavioral Healthcare Leadership Summit held recently in Anaheim, California:
"Since the summer of 1979, when they established what is now NALGAP, Dana Finnegan and Emily McNally have been heroic champions of LGBT people and their needs for quality healthcare; it’s a particular honor to receive an award that acknowledges them and their vision. I feel blessed to be the one chosen to represent all those others whose efforts have made possible the progress that this award celebrates. For nearly three and a half decades, NALGAP has added value to my life as a gay man in recovery. During those years, NALGAP has helped open doors to prevention, treatment, and recovery support for many LGBT women and men.
"And NALGAP has opened eyes, helping many of us to recognize the irrationality and injustice of homophobic and heterosexist attitudes that have prompted too many vicious and destructive actions, and supported too many inhumane and unjust policies. For those willing to overcome these prejudices in themselves and in their work, NALGAP members have volunteered tools, training, and support to improve the capacity of the behavioral healthcare systems to welcome LGBT people, and improve the effectiveness of the services LGBT people receive.
"NALGAP efforts have made it possible for increasing numbers of people like me to approach people like you in the expectation that you will address us with the same respect and dignity you extend to others and demand for yourselves. Moments like this are powerful reminders of how far we have come, even as we acknowledge what remains to be done. Thank you, again."