Las Vegas knows many sides of Patrick Duffy. Champion of art. Board member and benefactor of nonprofits. Fan of Bewitched because, “I escaped childhood while dreaming I was Endora.” And on October 17, Duffy will be named the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada’s Person of the Year.
“Not only is he notable in the wider Las Vegas community, but he’s known very much in the LGBTQ community for his service and his passion here, in many, many ways. He is exuberant, charming, full of life and energy,” says the Center’s CEO Michael Dimengo, pointing to contributions ranging from curating ARTrageous to honing the Center’s crucial visitor experience, and an exceptional ability to help others feel affirmed in who they are. “I hearken back to a quote from Harvey Milk, the gay activist. ... He basically stated that we need to be visible, and we need to be richly visible with our own personalities. And that’s how I would describe Patrick.”
At the Center’s Kaleidoscope honorarium gala at Drai’s, Duffy will be recognized alongside Ally of the Year Beano Solomon and Corporation of the Year Las Vegas Sands. And his name will be added to a distinguished list going back two decades, among honorees like State Sen. David Parks, Gender Justice Nevada director Jane Heenan and former ACLU leader Gary Peck.
“The winners are luminaries and responsible, great people in Las Vegas. And I’m Patrick Duffy!” he says with a laugh, recalling that when the Center extended the honor he told them he hoped there was a strong backup. He says he doesn’t see himself as that kind of figure, but in 14 years in Las Vegas, Duffy has thrown his powerful energy and resources behind enriching the arts and advancing the social-justice missions of organizations like Opportunity Village and I Have a Dream. “What’s really good is when you can write the check out and you can watch where the dollars go and really see the impact.”
The Center provides that opportunity, especially through connection with people struggling with self, as Duffy did growing up the first-born son of the Chicago Police commander, and later in overcoming addiction. He says it means so much to “address a group of youth and say, ‘Don’t let the adult in you cover up the little kid. … Please don’t define yourself by your baggage. And whatever you do, go about your day respecting everyone.’ … Respect of others will pave the way for understanding and acceptance no matter what.”