Last week, the GLSEN Respect Awards took place at the Beverly Hills Hotel to honor this year’s leaders in the struggle against bullying LGBT youth.
The ceremony began with a performance by the Award-Winning John Burroughs High School Show Choir. Top honors this year went to Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to her by friend Lily Tomlin and Student Advocate Ari Segla. Also being honored this year was Student Advocate of the Year, Laila Al-Shamma who read past diary entries during her moving acceptance speech. Actress Chloe Grace Moretz was on hand to give Al-Shamma her award. Jim Parsons and partner Todd Spiewak were honored with the Inspiration Award, presented to them by Mayim Bialik and student Carly Frieders. The final award of the night, the Chairman’s Award, went to film studio Lionsgate. Co-Chairman, Rob Friedman accepted the award on behalf of the company.
Sponsor Wells Fargo announced via SVP of Community Relations Jonathan Weedman that the company would be generously donating $1.5 million to GLSEN for a three year grant. Speeches were also given by GLSEN Board Chairman Kevin Brockman, sponsor Target’s VP of Marketing Daniel Duty, “Scandal’s” Dan Bucatinsky, NBA player Jason Collins, LA Galaxy player Robbie Rogers, and Executive Director of GLSEN, Dr. Eliza Byard.
Among those who attended were Matthew Morrison (“Glee”); Kirsten Vangsness (“Criminal Minds”); Peta Murgatroyd (“Dancing With The Stars”); Brant Daugherty (“Dancing with the Stars”); Niecy Nash (“Clean House”); Peter Paige (“Queer As Folk”); actress Anne Jeffreys; Amy Yasbeck (“Wings”); JJ Totah (“Back in the Game”); Executive Directors of “Entertainment Tonight” Linda Bell Blue and DJ Petroro; Hank Chen (“Hanksterchen”); Ryan James Yezak (“Second Class Citizen”); George Kotsiopoulos (“E!’s Fashion Police”); Alex Borstein (“Family Guy”); Tyler Oakley (YouTube personality); Laila Al-Shamma (Student Advocate of the Year), and a special performance by Steve Grand.
The GLSEN Respect Awards – Los Angeles is an annual gala to recognize the exceptional efforts of individual and corporate leaders who have made a significant difference to ensure schools are safe for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students and their allies. GLSEN had a live Twitter feed throughout the event using the hashtag #RespectLA.
The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community.
For information on GLSEN’s research, educational resources, public policy advocacy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, please visit www.glsen.org.