The GLAAD Media Awards hit Los Angeles in the weekend, honoring the media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the LGBT community and the issues that affect their lives.
Ellen DeGeneres opened the event, which attracted special guests such as Jason Mraz, Betty White, Wendie Malick, Jane Leeves (Hot in Cleveland); Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family); Max Adler, Grant Gustin (Glee); Joshua Jackson (Fringe); Mark Deklin, Miriam Shor (GCB); Kim Wayans (Pariah); Molly Shannon (Casa de mi Padre); LGBT advocate and writer Perez Hilton; singer and Vampire Diaries star Kat Graham; Trevor Donovan (90210); Brooke Elliott, Josh Berman (Drop Dead Diva); Gilles Marini (Switched at Birth); Guillermo Diaz (Scandal); Milla Jovovich (Faces in the Crowd); Ali Larter (The Asset); Travis Wall (All the Right Moves); Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato (Becoming Chaz); Mike Mills (Beginners) and many more.
Also at the event, Jennifer Tyrrell, a mother from Ohio who was ousted last week as a scout leader from the Boy Scouts of America, spoke onstage with her partner, Alicia, and their four children. Celebrities and special guests signed Tyrrell’s Change.org petition calling on the Boy Scouts of America to end its ban on LGBT scouts and scout leaders. In only five days, the petition has received over 110,000 signatures.
Chaz Bono was presented the Stephen F. Kolzak Award by Cher and Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack. The award is presented to openly LGBT media professionals who have made a significant difference in promoting equality.
In her remarks, Cher praised her son, “I’m here because Chaz has the most courage of almost anyone I know. The other day I was having a big meltdown (like you do) and Chaz said, ‘Are you going to come to the [GLAAD event],’ and I went ‘Chaz, you know, I’m not doing well right now’ and…he texted me and said ‘I turned into a very understanding, smart man and you can call on me.’ And it made me feel so good, like I could lean on someone. It touched my heart.” Addressing Bono directly, Cher said, “You are the most courageous person I know and you really deserve this award, so come up and get this award!”
In his acceptance speech, Bono discussed the role GLAAD has played in his life. “This truly means so much to me, because not only did I work at GLAAD, I think I learned everything that I value and that I do now as an activist from the time I spent at GLAAD. I learned here to use the greatest activist tool that we have at our disposal, and that is the media.” Bono continued, “For my personal journey since I transitioned, GLAAD has been there for me every step of the way. From when it first came out that I was transitioning, GLAAD was right there, out front in the media. And really everything that I’ve done since then, they have been a partner for me to be able to go to when Million Moms is coming out against me or Keith Ablow is telling people that me being on Dancing with the Stars is somehow going to be damaging to children. They have really been a partner for me all the way.”
Benicio del Toro presented the Vanguard Award to Josh Hutcherson. The youngest recipient ever of the award – handed out to media professionals who have increased the visibility and understanding of the LGBT community – the actor is the founder of Straight But Not Narrow, an organization focused on straight youth & young adults, and strives to positively influence the perception of, and behavior toward, their LGBT peers.
Accepting his award, Hutcherson thanked his friends from the Straight But Not Narrow campaign with which Hutcherson is actively involved, “I want to thank my best friends Avan Jogia, Andre Pochon and Heather Wilk for starting Straight but not Narrow. It’s an amazing organization. We wanted to create a place where straight people felt safe coming out and saying ’It’s okay to be gay.’ And I didn’t know one, so we decided we were going to make one and we have. It’s gaining momentum and it means the world to me.” Hutcherson continued, “I want to thank GLAAD and everybody tonight who shared their story with us, and really showed us that the work that we’re doing makes a difference. That’s why I’m up here. I’ll make hopefully a million more movies but this is what I want to do with my life, just changing the world and hopefully changing what people think. So, this is to everybody who’s ever had a struggle in life being yourself. I think that the most beautiful thing a human being can do is just be who you are inside. So please, everybody, just be yourselves and encourage everyone else to do the same. Thank you.”
Tim and Tracy Rodemeyer, along with their daughter Alyssa, spoke onstage to the over 400 young adults in attendance, in memory of their 14-year-old son Jamey who died by suicide in the fall of 2011 after posting an It Gets Better video on YouTube.
Also presenting awards at the event were Bernadette Peters, John Stamos, Harvey Weinstein and others. Among the winners were Dancing With The Stars – which picked up the award for Outstanding Reality Program and was accepted by Carson Kressley – as well as
- Beginners – Outstanding Film – Wide Release
- “Modern Family” – Outstanding Comedy Series (accepted by Jesse Tyler Ferguson)
- Becoming Chaz – Outstanding Documentary (accepted by directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, and Chaz Bono).