The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has announced that Golden Globe Award-winning actress and producer Drew Barrymore will receive the Vanguard Award, and Emmy Award-winning actress and comedian Wanda Sykes will receive the Stephen F. Kolzak Award at the 21st Annual GLAAD Media Awards on April 17 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza.
The GLAAD Media Awards elevate and promote fair, accurate and inclusive stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues, people and allies that have increased awareness, understanding and respect for the lives of LGBT people. The GLAAD Media Awards also fund GLAAD’s work to bring stories of LGBT people and issues to Americans.
Actress Drew Barrymore will receive the Vanguard Award which is presented to media professionals who have increased the visibility and understanding of the LGBT community. In 2009, Barrymore took on the role of the lesbian daughter of a widower played by Robert De Niro in Everybody’s Fine, nominated for Outstanding Film – Wide Release at the 21st Annual GLAAD Media Awards, and in 1995 starred in Boys on the Side which won the Outstanding Film award at the 7th Annual GLAAD Media Awards. She also joined thousands of marriage equality advocates in the streets of West Hollywood when the California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8, which eliminated marriage for gay and lesbian couples. Past recipients of The Vanguard Award include Charlize Theron, Antonio Banderas, Sharon Stone, Eric McCormack, Elizabeth Taylor, Liza Minnelli, Kathy Griffin and Whoopi Goldberg.
“I was born, bred and raised among diversity, it has defined me and made me the person I am today,” Barrymore said. “I’m honored and humbled to be receiving this award.”
Comedian Wanda Sykes will receive the Stephen F. Kolzak Award which is presented to an openly LGBT media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equal rights for our community. In November 2008, Sykes decided to come out at a Stand Out for Equality rally of over 1,000 people in Las Vegas and announced that she legally married her wife in California. She has spoken out about LGBT issues by appearing in LGBT PSAs, performing at LGBT fundraisers and as a Board Member for the Equality California Institute. The Emmy Award-winner became the first openly gay and first African American woman to be the featured entertainer for the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in 2009 and last year debuted her own late night talk show on FOX. Previous recipients of the Stephen F. Kolzak Award include Rufus Wainwright, Melissa Etheridge, Bill Condon, Alan Ball, Ellen DeGeneres, and Sir Ian McKellen.
“I am truly honored to receive the Stephen F. Kolzak award,” said Wanda Sykes. “I greatly appreciate the work that GLAAD continues to do, promoting equality, fair representation and tolerance for our LGBT community. I just pray that I don’t ruin what GLAAD has achieved with all of my shenanigans.”