GLSEN, the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe and affirming schools for all students, has announced that it will honor Matthew Morrison, Jon Stryker, Johnson & Johnson, teacher Desiree Raught and the Nixa High School Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) at GLSEN’s Respect Awards – New York to be held on Monday, June 1, at Cipriani 42nd Street.
The GLSEN Respect Awards, introduced in 2004 and held annually in Los Angeles and New York, showcase the work of students, educators, individuals and corporations who serve as exemplary role models and have made a significant impact on the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth.
“As we celebrate GLSEN’s 25th anniversary, we are thrilled to honor these leaders in education, entertainment, business and philanthropy who have contributed to helping GLSEN realize our vision of a world where every child learns to respect and accept all people,” said Dr. Eliza Byard, GLSEN’s Executive Director. "Matthew Morrison’s portrayal of Mr. Schuester on ‘Glee’ has been a shining example of the vital role a supportive educator can have in creating an affirming, positive and supportive school culture for LGBT students.
“Jon Stryker has been a philanthropic pioneer, ensuring LGBT people have the same opportunities as everyone else, while Johnson & Johnson took a significant step forward in raising the visibility of transgender youth by featuring Jazz Jennings in the CLEAN & CLEAR ‘See the Real Me’ campaign. We are also especially proud to celebrate the leadership and impact of educator Desiree Raught and the students from Nixa High School’s GSA.”
The Inspiration Award will be presented to Mr. Morrison, best known for his Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated portrayal of Will Schuester on Fox TV’s “Glee” and now starring as playwright J.M. Barrie in the Peter Pan-inspired Broadway musical Finding Neverland. After his Broadway break playing heartthrob Link Larkin in John Waters’ Hairspray, Morrison was nominated for a Tony Award for his role in The Light in the Piazza and a Drama Desk Award for 10 Million Miles.
Since founding the Arcus Foundation in 2000, Mr. Stryker, who will receive the Visionary Award, has become a leading funder and supporter of LGBT issues. Focused on the ability of LGBT people to live freely and thrive wherever they find themselves in the world, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or race, Arcus has become one of the world’s largest LGBT-focused grant makers, leading the way in the U.S. and pioneering funding for LGBT issues globally, including transformative investments in GLSEN.
Johnson & Johnson will be honored with the Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion Award for its consistent, multi-year support of national and local programs supporting the LGBTQ community. Johnson & Johnson’s Care with Pride program has donated more than half a million dollars to organizations committed to LGBTQ education and outreach. CLEAN & CLEAR, a Johnson & Johnson brand, recently partnered with transgender youth Jazz Jennings for the “See the Real Me” campaign, which aims to inspire confidence and courage among teen girls by providing a platform for them to share their true selves with the world.
The Educator of the Year Award will be presented to Desiree Raught, a high school English teacher in the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). In addition to founding and sponsoring the first GSA at McKinley Technology High School, she serves as an LGBT liaison, mentoring teachers throughout the district in best practices aimed at creating a safe and inclusive education for all students. She has been recognized for her work in LGBT education and has worked with district leaders, administrators and educators on the LGBTQ Steering Committee to write LGBT initiatives that impact, guide and support all DCPS students and administrators.
The Nixa High School Gay-Straight Alliance will be honored with the GSA of the Year Award, presented by First Data Corporation, for its positive impact on their school culture. The Nixa High School GSA was founded in August 2013 in Nixa, Mo., by students who sought to combat the anti-LGBT climate of their school and community, and has since become one of the most active student organizations at the school. GSA members have lobbied for state anti-bullying policies that protect LGBT students and organized community events in support of LGBT-inclusive curricula.
GLSEN has led the way on LGBT issues in K-12 education since 1990. Through ground-breaking original research, innovative program development, student leadership and educator training, community organizing, and targeted state and federal advocacy, GLSEN has seen the impact of its work through the development of educational resources, direct engagement of youth and educators, and national programs like GLSEN’s Day of Silence, GLSEN’s No Name-Calling Week, GLSEN’s Ally Week.
Previous GLSEN Respect Awards honorees have included: Danny Moder and Julia Roberts; Derek Hough; NBC Chairman Robert Greenblatt; Jeffery and Marilyn Katzenberg; Bob and Harvey Weinstein; former NBA player Jason Collins; MTV, accepted by CEO Judy McGrath; Disney-ABC Television, accepted by President Anne Sweeney; HBO, accepted by CEO Michael Lombardo; Darren Star; Shonda Rhimes; Michele and Rob Reiner; Andrew Tobias; John Mack, CEO of Morgan Stanley; NBA executive Rick Welts; the National Education Association; Todd Spiewak and Jim Parsons; and Simon Halls and Matt Bomer; as well as student leaders and educators from around the country.
Honorary co-chairs for this year’s event are Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon. The event is co-hosted by Cindy Armine, Chely Blitzer-Wright, Barbara Frankel, Michel Mercure, Ryan Pedlow and Chip Sullivan. The Host Committee includes Clint Bond and Kent Sublette; Jess Cagle; Simon Halls and Matt Bomer; Joe Machota and Matt Wall; and Steven Rummer and Steven Malone.
Senior Class Sponsors of the GLSEN Respect Awards – New York are JPMorgan Chase & Co., Ryan Pedlow and Wells Fargo. Gay-Straight Alliance of the Year Sponsor is First Data Corporation. Junior Class Sponsors are David Dechman and Michel Mercure, Gill Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, CLEAN AND CLEAR, Slobodan Randjelovic and Target. Sophomore Class Sponsors are AT&T, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, James C. Hormel and Michael P. Nguyen, Jim Johnson and Paul Hokemeyer, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., The Ludwig Family Foundation, NBA/WNBA, Pfizer, Stryker, Summit Rock Advisors and Two Creeks Capital. Freshman Class Sponsors are Akamai Technologies; Colgate-Palmolive Company; Credit Suisse; Cary Davis and John McGinn; Duggal; Goldman Sachs; HBO; Holland & Knight; Kellogg; Knoll, Inc.; Morgan Stanley; New Jersey Education Association; Optimedia; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP; Stribling & Associates, Ltd.; and Wyndham Worldwide. Media Sponsors are DiversityInc and Out.
For more information about the GLSEN Respect Awards – New York, click here.