The late Debra Chasnoff is one of the 2022 inductees into the LGBTQ Journalists Hall of Fame. Chasnoff was an Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker and nationally recognized champion of using film as an organizing tool for social justice campaigns, and a pioneering leader in the international movement to create safe and welcoming schools and communities. Her films include Straightlaced: “How Gender’s Got Us All Tied Up,” “It’s Elementary: Talking About Gay Issues in School,” and “Let’s Get Real and That’s a Family!” Chasnoff’s first film, “Choosing Children,” explored the once unheard of idea that lesbians and gay men could become parents after coming out. In addition to dozens of film festival awards, Chasnoff was the recipient of the Wallace A. Gerbode Foundation Fellowship for outstanding non-profit leadership, the Pathfinder Award from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, and the first-ever alumnae achievement award in documentary filmmaking from Wellesley College.
In 1991 Chasnoff directed and produced Deadly Deception: General Electric, Nuclear Weapons and Our Environment. In 1992 Chasnoff won an Academy Award for the powerful expose, Deadly Deception, and thanked her then partner, Kim Klausner, in her acceptance speech, and by doing so she “came out” to the public as a lesbian. Chasnoff passed away in 2017, leaving two sons.