2018 Best of Gay HRVA Readers’ Poll Winners: People

Best of Gay HRVA 2018 QUICK LINKS

Local Hero

Jennifer Warner

In addition to be voted this year’s favorite drag performer, Jennifer Warner is also 2018’s local hero.  Her roots are firmly planted in Hampton Roads where she maintains a home base while traveling the nation and world performing.  Her presence, kindness and generosity is well-known in the community.

Most Committed LGBTQ Activist

Eric Hause

Eric founded OutWire757 in 2016 with his husband in response to the lack of local queer media serving Hampton Roads, giving a voice to nearly every segment of the community.  OutWire757 continues his long history of LGBTQ advocacy and activism dating back to the AIDS crisis of the mid-80s. 

Favorite Straight Ally

Andria McClellan, Norfolk City Councilwoman

Andria McClellan was elected to Norfolk City Council on May 3, 2016 to serve Superward 6. McClellan was raised in Hampton Roads, educated in Virginia Beach Public Schools, received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia, began a career in sales/marketing, then graduated from the Wharton Management Program at the University of Pennsylvania, ran two small businesses before returning to Hampton Roads.  McClellan has put her education and experience to work for the city of Norfolk as a progressive voice on City Council and is a long-time supporter of the LGBTQ community.

Best School Board Member

Joel McDonald, Vice Chair, Virginia Beach School Board

Joel McDonald was elected to the School Board in 2012 and re-elected in 2016. Prior to joining the board, he was employed by VBCPS for six years as the data support specialist and school improvement coordinator at Luxford Elementary. McDonald was recognized by the Gay-Straight Alliance of Bayside High School with their 2013-2014 Equality Award for valuable actions of support, determination, advocacy, and acceptance and was a 2014 recipient of the Virginia Beach Education Association’s Friend of Education Award. Professionally, he provides strategic communications consulting and services including web, design, and communications services through his firm, McDonald Web Works. 

Best Educator & Favorite Local Author

Dr. Charles Ford, Professor of History and Director of the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) at Norfolk State University

Since joining the faculty at NSU in 1992, Dr. Ford has become a fixture among the Hampton Roads community, volunteering his time for various local organizations, including the former Tidewater AIDS Crisis Task Force, Hampton Roads Pride and other organization.  He was also honored as one of seven OUTstanding Virginians for 2016 by Equality Virginia and in 2016 co-authored LGBT Hampton Roads with collaborator, Dr. Jeffrey L. Littlejohn.

Best Local Elected Official

Governor Ralph Northam

Before he was inaugurated as the 73rd Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia in January 2018, Ralph Northam served as an Army doctor, pediatric neurologist, business owner, state Senator and Lieutenant Governor.  A native of Virginia’s Eastern Shore, Governor Northam was educated at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), where he graduated with distinction.  Since his time serving in the Virginia Senate, Gov. Northam has been a supporter of the rights of LGBTQ persons.

Best Businessperson

Annette Stone

Hampton Roads native Annette Stone has operated food and drink establishments in Hampton Roads for over 35 years.  Her first endeavor,recently celebrated its 35th anniversary as not only a bar, but community center, social hub and safe space for everyone in the community.  Stone is also a restauranteur, whose fine dining establishment, The Green Onion recently celebrated its 10th anniversary.

Best Financial Planner

Gregg Smith, Gregory Smith and Associates

Gregg Smith has lived in Hampton Roads since 1987 following a career as an officer and a Navy helicopter pilot. He has served on several non-profit Boards including the LGBT Life Center (formerly Full Circle/Access AIDS Care) and 2 national non-profit Boards which are aviation oriented.  Smith was recognized by Equality Virginia in 2013 as an OUTstanding Virginia and by HRBOR for his work with Ameriprise as a Beacon of Business in 2016.

Best Real Estate Agent

Ben LeBrun

Ben LeBrun, realtor extraordinaire at Greg Garrett Realty.com, is a lifelong Hampton Roads resident and has been a leading LGBTQ realtor since 2011. This is his third year voted “Best Realtor”.

Best Medical Provider

Dr. David Dorbad

Dr. Dorbad practices medicine at Renaissance Pediatrics in Chesapeake.  A native of New Jersey, he is a graduate of the University of Virginia, Eastern Virginia Medical School, including an MBA from William & Mary.  His clinical focus includes preventative medicine, asthma care, headaches, behavioral medicine, and newborn care.  He is a board member of PFLAG of Hampton Roads and is experienced in transgender health.

Best Hair Stylist

Daniel Priest, Changes Hairstyling

Daniel joined the Changes team in 2008 as a transplant from Rochester, NY. He has a collective of 14 years in the industry, and specializes in color, formal styling and make-up. He takes pride in listening and fulfilling all his clients hair needs. Daniel has trained all over including LA, NY, and Paris to provide his clients with the latest trends in cuts and color services.

Best Attorney

Scott Michael Goodspeed Lawyer Scott Michael Goodspeed is Assistant Director, Labor Relations at Norfolk Southern Corporation tasked with negotiating and administering various labor agreements with several rail unions. Goodspeed is committed to keeping the “relations” in Labor Relations- which is challenging given the inherently adversarial nature of the field.

Best Spiritual Leader

Rev. Mark Byrd

Rev. Mark Byrd is Pastor at Norfolk’s New Life Metropolitan Community Church.  A native of Western North Carolina, Byrd studied at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Best Visual Artist

Avery Shaffer


Avery Shaffer, is a Norfolk-based artist and designer working in glass and social media. Shaffer uses large, wall-mounted glass pieces to explore gay identity and the male form. His online persona, Abel Valerie, he has created a body of work including the warehouse party/shows of Who is Abel Valerie and Starseed. 

Best Radio Personality

Cathy Lewis

Cathy Lewis is one of Hampton Roads’ most veteran media professionals, having worked in commercial and public broadcasting for more than 30 years. She is the founding host of “HearSay with Cathy Lewis” on 89.5 WHRV-FM which debuted in 1996.

Best Local TV Personality

Barbara Ciara

Barbara Ciara, anchor of the WTKR News 3 team is an Emmy award-winning broadcast journalist with more than 35 years journalism experience.  A graduate of Hampton University, Ciara is a strong believer in public service and has worked with a number of non-profit organizations at the local and national levels.

Best of Gay HRVA 2018 QUICK LINKS