Equality advocate, author and speaker Chaz Bono will receive the Stephen F. Kolzak Award at the 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles, it was announced today. Bono is the first transgender person to ever receive the honor, which is given annually to an openly LGBT media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality.
In 2009, Bono revealed that he is transgender and later shared his life and transition process in the documentary Becoming Chaz, which was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award as well as three Emmy Awards. Also in 2011, Bono competed on the thirteenth season of ABC’s hit show, Dancing With The Stars, making him the first-ever transgender contestant to appear on the program. Bono has written three books including Transition, a groundbreaking account of his transition from female to male. In 1996, Bono became the Human Rights Campaign’s National Coming Out Day spokesperson. He later served as GLAAD’s Entertainment Media Director where he tackled several high-profile campaigns around LGBT issues in Hollywood. He has contributed as a writer-at-large to The Advocate and has spoken at dozens of universities and LGBT events. He continues to promote change by creating awareness and discussions about fairness and equality for the LGBT community.
Said Chaz of the honor:
“I feel truly honored to be receiving GLAAD's Stephen F. Kolzak award this year, not only because of the work that I've done with the organization, but also because I fully believe in GLAAD's mission. While I don't feel like a role model, I hope that by sharing my story, which is just one in a very diverse community, I can help open hearts and minds on what it's like to be a transgender person and the issues our community faces.”
“Chaz has opened the door for countless others, reshaping the way Americans think about transgender people today," said Mike Thompson, Acting President of GLAAD. "His bold leadership in sharing his story as a transgender man, as well as his tireless work to secure equality for every American, embodies the values of GLAAD’s Stephen F. Kolzak Award.”
In response to the announcement, Chaz also tweeted:
— Chaz Bono (@ChazBono) April 10, 2012
The GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles will take place on April 21st at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites. Ellen DeGeneres will open the show and guests will enjoy a performance by Grammy Award-winning singer and LGBT equality advocate, Jason Mraz. Special guests will include: Betty White, Wendie Malick, Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves (Hot in Cleveland); Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games); Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family); Joshua Jackson (Fringe); Kate Beckinsale (Underworld: Awakening); Kim Wayans (Pariah); Molly Shannon (Casa de mi Padre); Trevor Donovan (90210); Fran Drescher (Happily Divorced); Brooke Elliott, Josh Berman (Drop Dead Diva); Gilles Marini (Switched at Birth); Ali Larter (The Asset); Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato (Becoming Chaz); Mike Mills (Beginners); and decorated Air Force veteran Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach.
In March, Glee stars Cory Monteith and Naya Rivera hosted the 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York, where, along with John Stamos, they auctioned off kisses to three lucky attendees. Check out the video of the auction below.
The 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York were presented nationally by Ketel One and Wells Fargo, and presented locally in New York by Delta Air Lines and Prudential. Delta Air Lines is the local presenting partner in Los Angeles. Southwest is the local presenting partner of San Francisco.