National Lesbian and Gay Journalism Association awards O&AN staffer with Women’s Distinguished Service Award Nashville Chapter of NLGJA


MIAMI – The National Lesbian and Gay Journalism Association (NLGJA) has presented its first–ever Women’s Distinguished Service Award to O&AN’s East Tennessee Bureau Chief Beth Maples-Bays.

The award was made to a very surprised Maples-Bays on Friday, Sept. 8 during the NLGJA annual conference, held at the Lowes Miami Beach Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida.

Maples-Bays was attending the women’s cocktail reception and networking dinner when the award was made. She was recognized for her commitment to issues focusing on women in journalism.

Maples-Bays, who lives in Knoxville with Sam, her partner of more than 14-years (a female-to-male transgender), has long been active in her community. She is a former board member with the Tennessee Equality Project and a founder of the Knoxville Area LGBTQ Leadership Council.

NLGJA Nashville Chapter president Brent Meredith praised the work of Maples-Bays.

"The Women’s Distinguished Service Award was designed to be given to a dedicated NLGJA member, who, throughout her career, involvement with NLGJA, and other activities, has demonstrated a commitment to issues focusing on women in journalism and whose service has improved both the organization and the field of journalism," Meredith said. "We’re honored that a Tennessean was selected for the first honor of this important award and recognition."

Nashville Chapter receives $500 from NLGJA

The Nashville Chapter of NLGJA was awarded $500 after winning a membership drive contest. The chapter had the highest increase percentage of new membership. Meredith and Maples-Bays accepted the check on behalf of the Nashville chapter.