GLSEN, the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe and affirming schools for all students, will honor Zachary Quinto with the Champion Award at GLSEN’s Respect Awards – Los Angeles to be held Friday, October 23, at the Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills.

The event will also honor Georgia high school senior Mars Hallman with the Student Advocate of the Year Award

They join previously announced honorees Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel and YouTube.

Quinto is being recognized for his long-time vocal advocacy on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Since his decision to come out publicly, Quinto has continuously made advancing LGBT equality a priority through his personal advocacy and professionally by appearing in plays like “Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays” and “The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later” with the proceeds benefitting charitable causes.

Hallman is a senior at Berrien High School in Nashville, Georgia, where they founded the region’s first Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA). As the only non-binary member, they made sure to create a safe space for students of all gender identities and orientations while also educating other members about transgender issues and history. Despite significant community opposition to the GSA, Hallman and the GSA persevered and created a crucial safe space. This year, Hallman and the GSA will campaign to add gender expression to the school’s anti-bullying policy and a gender-neutral restroom to ensure the safety of transgender and gender-nonconforming students.

“GLSEN’s Respect Awards are a remarkable opportunity to bring together champions and role models from all sectors of society and all walks of life,” said GLSEN’s Executive Director, Dr. Eliza Byard. “As we round out the slate of this year’s honorees, we see this once again. We are proud to honor Zachary Quinto as a visible member of the LGBT community who uses his platform to bring attention to the struggles that many LGBT youth still face. I am thrilled that all of the other honorees will share the stage with Mars Hallman, who has been a force for change in a small corner of rural Georgia, facing down relentless opposition to found the first GSA in the area and defend their right to meet. We look forward to celebrating all of our honorees at this year’s event.”

GLSEN’s Student Advocate of the Year honors an outstanding young person who has helped create a safe and affirming learning environment for all students and has served as a voice of change in their school and community. GLSEN also acknowledges the following students as part of this year’s Student Advocate of the Year Honor Roll:
· Kennedy Bertelson, senior at David Douglas High School, Portland, Ore.;
· Tiernan Bertrand-Essington, senior at Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School, Bradley, Ill.;
· Alyssa Irizarry, GLSEN Collier County member and senior at Gulf Coast High School, Naples, Fla.;
· Katie Regittko, GLSEN National Student Council member and sophomore, Garner Magnet High School in Garner, N.C.; and
· Spencer Washington, junior at Academy for Young Writers, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Past GLSEN Respect Awards honorees Bob Greenblatt, Simon Halls and Matt Bomer, Marilyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg, Jim Parsons and Todd Spiewak, and Julia Roberts and Danny Moder have returned as honorary co-chairs.

Corporate Sponsors of the 2015 GLSEN Respect Awards – Los Angeles are Presenting Sponsor Wells Fargo, along with Target, The Walt Disney Company, Disney | ABC Television Group, ESPN, Delta, the Edward F. Limato Foundation, 20th Century Fox, FX Networks, Fox Audience Strategy, Fox Television Group, A&E Television Networks, Kevin Brockman and Dan Berendsen, Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation, HBO, McDonald’s, and Warner Bros. Entertainment. The Media Sponsors are Variety, DiversityInc and The Advocate.

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