Earlier this week, GLSEN, the leading education organization working to create safe and inclusive K-12 schools for LGBTQ+ youth returned in-person to their 2022 GLSEN Respect Awards presented by Hollister at Gotham Hall in New York City.
The annual event, hosted by Star Trek: Discovery star Wilson Cruz, honored Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski with the Champion Award; trailblazing actress, model and activist Leyna Bloom with the Champion Award; and Nickelodeon who received the Corporate Ally Award which was accepted by Marva Smalls, EVP, Global Head of Inclusion, Paramount & EVP, Public Affairs, Kids & Family Entertainment Brands, Paramount. Brooklyn’s MS 442 School for Innovation received the GSA of the Year Award powered by Hollister, and Florida’s s Pinellas County school teacher Alex Quinto accepted the Educator of the Year Award. Notable guest in attendance included Chris Perfetti, Darid Prom, Derek Warburton, Kalen Allen, MJ Day, Nico Greetham, Nina West, Sara Haines, Sheryl Lee Ralph, and GLSEN’ Executive Director Melanie Willingham-Jaggers.
The GLSEN Respect Awards, introduced in 2004 and held annually in Los Angeles and New York, showcase the work of students, educators, community leaders, and corporations who serve as exemplary role models and have made a significant impact on the lives of LGBTQ+ youth. Co-chairs included Joseph Carozza, Wilson Cruz, Amita Mehta, Michel Mercure, Ryan Pedlow, Elizabeth Stribling-Kivlan, and Alicin Reidy Williamson. Honorary co-chairs included Kalen Allen, Jason Collins & Brunson Green, Carla Gugino, Billy Porter, Ali Wentworth & George Stephanopoulos, and Chely Wright.
For nearly three decades, GLSEN has led the way on LGBTQ+ issues in K-12 education through ground-breaking original research, innovative program development, educator training, student organizing, and targeted state and federal advocacy. With the development of educational resources, direct engagement of youth and educators, and GLSEN national programs like Day of Silence, Solidarity Week, and Changing the Game, GLSEN has seen the impact of its work in measurable improvements in the lives of LGBTQ+ students in the U.S.