GLSEN, the leading education organization focused on ensuring safe and inclusive schools for all students, honored Brendon Urie, the cast of POSE, Ace Schwarz, and the Loveless Academic Magnet Program High School, GSA Spectrum, this week, at the annual GLSEN Respect Awards – New York at Cipriani 42nd Street.
The event raised $1 million dollars to create safe and LGBTQ inclusive K-12 schools.
Brendon Urie received the Inspiration Award; the cast of POSE received the Champion Award; Ace Schwarz received GLSEN’s Educator of the Year Award; and the Loveless Academic Magnet Program High School, GSA Spectrum, received GLSEN’s GSA of the Year Award.
Upon accepting his award, Urie told the crowd “Today, I stand here overwhelmed in the best way. It’s an honor not only to receive this award, but to be embraced by my fans and the LGBTQ community. Being in Panic! At The Disco has afforded me once in a lifetime opportunities which include getting know so many wonderful young adults who I am lucky to call my fans and having this platform. They have taught me to be strong, inspired me to use my voice for what matters, and because of them I launched the Highest Hopes Foundation hoping to echo the spirit of community and inclusion my fans have always provided me with.”
GLSEN’s Executive Director, Eliza Byard addressed the crowd saying, “For nearly thirty years GLSEN has brought people together to do the urgent and demanding work of change. And what we’ve accomplished together thus far is testament to the power of our community. And since our founding in 1990, our efforts have established a new norm among a majority of education professionals – that it is, in fact, their job to support and affirm the LGBTQ youth in their care. It is our charge to make that belief a practical and lived reality in every single school in this country.”
The event, hosted by Wilson Cruz, featured a special surprise performance POSE actors Billy Porter and MJ Rodriquez who sang “Home” from “The Wiz” for the crowd of nearly 500 guests. Honorary Co-Chairs for the event included Carla Gugino & Rosario Dawson.
Cyndi Lauper, Jim Parsons, Nico Tortorella & Bethany C. Meyers, Gideon Glick, Robin DeJesus, Our Lady J, Stephen Conrad Moore, Brian Wade, Yuval David, Rain Dove, Alexis Michelle, Dusty Ray Bottoms, Ryan Jamaal Swain, Will Roland, Hailie Sahar, Dyllón Burnside, Indya Moore, Dominique Jackson, Angel Bismark Curiel, Ruslana Sokolovskaya, Imani Sims and Desmond is Amazing, an 11- year-old award-winning LGBTQ activist and drag artist were in attendance at last night’s gala, along with student leaders from GLSEN’s National Student Council, including Juno Adekunle, El Martinez, Victorea Camille, Selena Jeffers, Jessica Chiriboga, Cruzilious Contreras, Auden Bunn, and Imani Simms.
The National Student Council is GLSEN’s youth leadership and engagement program, which helps develop campaigns that hundreds of thousands of students organize in their schools each school year. Members of the National Student Council dedicate their time, passion, and commitment to the mission of LGBTQ-inclusive schools while elevating the voices of marginalized groups within the LGBTQ community, including – but not limited to – youth of color, youth in rural communities, and transgender and gender nonconforming youth.
The GLSEN Respect Awards were introduced in 2004 by GLSEN, the leading education organization working to create safe and inclusive K-12 schools for LGBTQ youth. Held annually in Los Angeles and New York, the award show honors the work of student leaders, educators, community organizers, influencers, and corporations who serve as exemplary role models and have made a significant impact on the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.