A big thank you to everyone who attended the 20th Annual GLAAD Media Awards presented by IBM in Los Angeles on April 18! 1,100 local youth and more than 1,500 professionals attended the event, presented by ABSOLUT® VODKA, to watch GLAAD honor outstanding representations of LGBT people in media.
The evening began with a reception at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live where guests bid on silent auction items from more than 30 donors. At the same time, the red carpet stretched over 96 feet and welcomed over 50 media outlets to photograph and interview special guests and raise visibility of A-list celebrities supporting our community.
Media outlets including The New York Times, USA Today and Reuters wrote about the winners and honorees. Leading entertainment shows including Access Hollywood and The Insider interviewed special guests including Ellen DeGeneres, Teri Hatcher and Geroge Takei.
Not only did the celebrities answer questions about marriage equality, but they also dished on their shows and the Desperate Housewives ladies in attendance (Teri Hatcher, Brenda Strong, Andrea Bowen) spoke out about the dearly departed Edie Britt. LGBT media outlets including The Advocate, AfterEllen.com, FH Out Front, Greg in Hollywood and OUTTAKE also brought the event to readers.
Photos from the night ran across the world and showed an array of celebrities including Jessica Alba, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Paul James (GREEK) wearing White Knots in support of marriage equality.
The 20th Annual Media Awards started with a welcome from host Miss Coco Peru and continued with an opening montage of media images from 2008 that moved the crowd from laughter to tears with clips from television and film.
LGBT advocate Cleve Jones and Oscar-winning screenwriter of Milk, Dustin Lance Black, took to the stage to present the Stephen F. Kolzak Award to Bishop Gene Robinson. Robinson gave a special shout-out to the youth in the audience and brought the audience to its feet with his speech:
"It is such an honor to be here, and to be honored by the Board of GLAAD....To have you say thanks in this way just means the world to me," Robinson said accepting his award. Speaking of the LGBT movement, Robinson continued, "We need to be in this for the long haul...Just because we achieved civil rights in the sixties for African Americans, it doesn't mean racism is gone. Because we achieved rights for women in the seventies, it doesn't mean sexism is gone....But we can stay in this fight because we know how it's is going to end. This is going to end with full equality for LGBT people in our churches and in society. I have no doubt of it."
Bill Paxton and Teri Hatcher presented Julia Louis-Dreyfus (wearing a dress that can only be described as GLAAD orange! and Megan Mullally with the award for Outstanding Individual Television Episode for The New Adventures of Old Christine. Paxton broke into an impromptu tap dance backstage after the Award and Julia Louis-Dreyfus told me how great it was to work with out comedian Wanda Sykes.
Broadway hunk and OUT100 Entertainer of the Year Cheyenne Jackson took to the stage with a piano for a moving performance of "A Change is Gonna Come," wearing a perfectly fitted navy blue suit.
Alan Cumming presented a Special Recognition Award to The L Word which completed its sixth and final season on Showtime in March. After being stuck in traffic and missing the red carpet cast members Leisha Hailey and Katherin Moenning thankfully arrived in time to join show creator Ilene Chaiken and cast member Jennifer Beals to accept the award.
In her remarks, Chaiken commented on the continuing need to advocate for the inclusion of LGBT characters in the media. "At this moment in history, when marriage equality is virtually inevitable and maybe even imminent, when we've welcomed new LGBT civil rights legislation in Iowa, Colorado, Washington D.C., New Hampshire and soon New York...how can it be that LGBT people - after years of slow but promising momentum - have careened backwards in terms of representation in mainstream popular entertainment media?" Chaiken said.
Chaiken continued, "GLAAD has been working vigilantly to ensure that the defamation of LGBT people does not go unchecked. GLAAD's been working to ensure that our lives are visible in the news and in the media. GLAAD's work is vital and critical to helping us to achieve the milestones that are lifting LGBT people to our rightful place of full, unfettered equality. Thank you, GLAAD. And thank you Showtime, for six wonderful years...Thanks for breaking ground and for having the courage of your convictions. Now let's do it again. Let's do it more. Let's do it often. Let's do it always."
Miss Coco Peru joined the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles, for a performance of Prop 8: The Musical, which received a Special Recognition Award. The hysterical rendition included one member wearing a recreation of Aretha Franklin's infamous hat from President Obama's inauguration. According to him, there's a store in downtown LA that has dozens to purchase!
T.R. Knight presented the Vanguard Award to Kathy Griffin who accepted the award in a bikini after parading around the green room to show off her beach body. "This is a thrill and an honor and an awesome night," Griffin said in her acceptance speech. "You guys have been so good to me. I appreciate you, I get you, I love you, and I'll keep making you laugh as long as you'll let me! Thank you!"
The show closed with another standing ovation for legend Jennifer Holliday who performed "And I'm Telling You."
After the show, I escorted Dana Delaney of Desperate Housewives, T.R. Knight of Grey's Anatomy and Kate Walsh of Private Practice to kick off the young adult party. Over 1000 youth partied in the Nokia Theatre and took photos with these celebrities. Later on, Dustin Lance Black, Katelynn Cusanelli from The Real World Brooklyn, and the casts of Noah's Arc and Shelter stopped by to join the young adult party.
The VIP dinner, catered by Wolfgang Puck, was held outside the Nokia Theatre and included live auction items from Visit London, Tiffany & Co., Zoom Vacations and the Herb Ritts Foundation.
After the dinner the room transformed into the ABSOLUT Mango Lounge for an after party sponsored by Only Vegas. Only Vegas supplied boas and props for attendees to dance the night away and take photos in the Fiji Water photo booth.
GLAAD thanks over 100 corporate partners for their generous support in making the event a great success and a night to remember.
We hope to see you at the GLAAD Media Awards in San Francisco on May 9 where we are honoring Chad Allen and Dustin Lance Black. Additional talent includes Gabrielle Christian & Mandy Musgrave from South of Nowhere, Michelle Clunie, Wilson Cruz, Robert Gant, Suze Orman Eduardo Xol, and Judge David Young.
Following is a complete list of GLAAD Media Award recipients announced Saturday in Los Angeles. Previously awards were presented in New York at the Marriot Marquis on March 28.
- Vanguard Award: Kathy Griffin (presented by T.R. Knight)
- Stephen F. Kolzak Award: The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson (presented by Dustin Lance Black and Cleve Jones)
- Special Recognition: The L Word (Showtime) [Accepted by: show creator Ilene Chaiken, with Jennifer Beals, Katherine Moennig, and Leisha Hailey]
- Special Recognition: Prop 8: The Musical (FunnyorDie.com) [Accepted by: director Adam Shankman]
- Outstanding Film - Wide Release: Milk (Focus Features) [Accepted by: director Gus Van Sant, screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, and producers Bruce Cohen and Dan Jinks]
- Outstanding Comedy Series: Desperate Housewives (ABC) [Accepted by: show creator Marc Cherry, Teri Hatcher, Dana Delaney, Kyle MacLachlan, Tuc Watkins, Kevin Rahm, Andrea Bowen and Brenda Strong]
- Outstanding Individual Episode (in a series without an LGBT character): "Unidentified Funk" The New Adventures of Old Christine (CBS) [Accepted by: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Megan Mullally, Clark Gregg, and show creator Kari Lizer]
- Outstanding Talk Show Episode: "Ellen & Portia's Wedding Day" The Ellen DeGeneres Show (syndicated) [Accepted by: Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi]
- Outstanding Spanish-Language TV Journalism - Newsmagazine: "A juzgar por las apariencias" y "En otro cuerpo" Aquí y Ahora (Univision) [Accepted by: Univision producer Belissa Morillo and Monica Zapata, sister of murdered transgender teenager Angie Zapata]