LGBT icon David Mixner introduced GLAAD's CEO and President Sarah Kate Ellis on Saturday night at the 25th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at the Waldorf Astoria in New York. Mixner praised Sarah Kate Ellis' leadership, noting: "I want you to know the person that I fell in love with. First and foremost, she is a human being. She loves, she cares, she's passionate. She left the safety of the corporate world to lead us into the future. She has a vision of where we have to go. She understands that what happens to us in Mississippi is just as important as what happens to us in Nigeria and Uganda…Among those people who know how to do it is this extraordinary woman who has come to give us the gift of her talents, who I am such a huge fan of."
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GLAAD's President Sarah Kate Ellis received two standing ovations during her speech where she shared her vision for GLAAD, underscoring how important it is to protect all that has been accomplished. The organizations new initiatives include Global Voices, Southern Stories and Help Engage Youth; programs designed to amplify the voice of equality around the world.
In her remarks she said, "We are a team - focused on advocating and educating - and we have added a new component to our arsenal: we have to protect the phenomenal progress we have made over the past quarter of a century. There are some who say 'our work is done.' I say we have twice as much work to do."
LGBT advocate and two-time bestselling author David Mixner, who sat down with Ellis earlier this year, has spoken out on a number of issues since his work with the Clinton campaign in the 1990's and protesting "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" as he became a leader in the movement for equality. Mixner was honored with the Pioneer Award at the 19th Annual GLAAD Media Awards.
George Takei received the Vito Russo Award. Comedian Fortune Feimster hosted the event. Special guests included: Naomi Watts (Birdman); Emmy Rossum (Shameless); Laverne Cox, Laura Prepon, Natasha Lyonne, Samira Wiley, Dascha Polanco, Selenis Leyva, Yael Stone, Taryn Manning, Emma Myles, Alysia Reiner (Orange is the New Black); Robin Weigert, Stacie Passon (Concussion); Swoosie Kurtz (Mike & Molly); Lee Tergesen (The Americans); pop star Boy George; Raúl Castillo, Frankie J. Álvarez (Looking); Tamron Hall (Today's Take); Candis Cayne (Elementary); country singer Chely Wright; out Grammy-winning country music songwriter Shane McAnally; New Orleans bounce performer Big Freedia; out NCAA basketball player Derrick Gordon; WWE Superstar Darren Young; Olympic speed skater Blake Skjellerup; MMA fighter Jessica Aguilar; transgender model Geena Rocero; GLAAD National Spokespersons Wilson Cruz and Omar Sharif, Jr., and GLAAD CEO & President Sarah Kate Ellis.
The 25th Annual GLAAD Media Awards are presented nationally by Ketel One Vodka, Wells Fargo, and Hilton Worldwide. The New York City event is presented locally by Delta Airlines and Bud Light.