Chad Allen
Davidson/Valentini Award

Chad Allen began his professional acting career at the age of five-years-old starring as the autistic Tommy Westfall in the television series, St. Elsewhere and went on to play Mathew Cooper on the long time hit CBS series, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. Allen went on to gain critical acclaim through guest appearances on leading television shows and starring roles in numerous high profile theatre productions.

Allen made the move into producing and formed the acclaimed independent film company Mythgarden, for the express purpose of turning the page on gay and lesbian storytelling, with partners Christopher Racster and Robert Gant.

Currently, Allen is starring in here! Networks’ The Donald Strachey Mystery Series, a six feature film series. Two of the films in the series, Ice Blues and On the Other Hand, Death, are nominated for Outstanding Television Movie at the GLAAD Media Awards this year. In 2008, Chad Allen produced and starred in the film Save Me which offered audiences a look into the world of so-called "ex gay" ministries. The film is nominated for Outstanding Film – Limited Release at the 20th Annual GLAAD Media Awards. Save Me was selected for the Sundance Film Festival and as the opening night feature for Outfest 2007. Save Me was released nationwide in selected theatres in 2008. This spring, Allen and producing partner Christopher Racster are producing the feature film, “Spork” in partnership with Last Bastion Entertainment.

Allen also tested his determination and commitment by participating in the annual AIDS/LIFECYCLE event three times, riding his bike five hundred and forty five miles and raising more than eleven million dollars to end AIDS. He is also proud to be working closely with Soulforce to fight the bigotry and harmful rhetoric of religious intolerance, and has recently accepted a seat on the Honorary Board of the Matthew Shepard foundation.

After coming out publicly in a 2001 interview with The Advocate around National Coming Out Day, Allen has demonstrated a commitment to bringing fair, accurate and inclusive images of the LGBT community to films and television and used his presence in the media to advocate for marriage equality in interviews with media outlets including CNN’s Larry King Live.

The Davidson/Valentini Award is named after Craig Davidson, GLAAD's first executive director, and his partner Michael Valentini. The award is presented to an openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equal rights for our community. Previous recipients include Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman, Alec Mapa, Ilene Chaiken, Robert Gant, B.D. Wong and Sandra Bernhard.

Chelsea Handler

Born in Livingston, New Jersey, to a Jewish father and Mormon mother, Chelsea Handler is the youngest of six children…all good material for a career in comedy. In July 2007 Chelsea broke into the world of male-dominated late-night talk shows with her E! Entertainment series, “Chelsea Lately,” airing weeknights at 11:00 p.m. Consistently the highest-rated program on E!, the series provides Chelsea with the perfect showcase for what she does best: comment on pop culture and entertainment news while interacting with the public. Bringing refreshing new energy to the late night arena, “Chelsea Lately” is an authentic and hilarious commentary on the celebrity culture around us. Her latest book, entitled “Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea,” published by Simon Spotlight, came out on April 22, 2008 and debuted at #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list. In March 2009, Chelsea will receive the prestigious Ally for Equality Award by the Human Rights Campaign, recognizing the outstanding efforts of those who dedicate time, energy, spirit and whole-hearted commitment to better the lives of LGBT people.


Geoff Callan & Mike Shaw
San Francisco Local Hero Award

Geoff Callan & Mike Shaw are the filmmakers responsible for the documentary “Pursuit of Equality.”  This film is an emotionally charged film that puts a face on American citizens who strive for marriage equality. From the first frame of the film, even before the press is aware, this film crew is with Mayor Gavin Newsom’s senior staff as the nation’s first same-sex couple exchange their vows and ignite the most controversial civil rights topic in recent history.

The story continues on the streets, in the courtrooms, and on the steps of City Hall, where same-sex couples clash with church groups who declare that who they are and how they love is a sin.  In Life changing moments, this film focuses on the compelling, human rights struggles surrounding same-sex marriage and captures the elation and despair of couples and families who are fighting for equal rights.

As the only film crew in the Mayor's chambers during the most crucial of times, this extraordinary film provides a telling ‘fly-on-the wall’ view as this historic event unfolds.



Dustin Lance Black
Special Recognition

Dustin Lance Black is a screenwriter, director, film, television producer, and LGBT rights advocate. He has won an Academy Award and two Writers Guild of America Awards for his work on the television series Big Love and the 2008 film Milk.




Special Guests
Calpernia AddamsMegan CavanaghGabrielle Christian
Michelle ClunieLaverne CoxWilson Cruz
Robert GantDan JinksJason Lewis
Gavin NewsomSuze OrmanMaeve Quinlan
Simon RexEduardo XolJudge David Young

Performances By
New Century
Chamber Orchestra
Violinist Nadja Salerno-SonnenbergMatt Alber

Media Awards tickets are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. The fair market value for all tickets above $100 is $90 per ticket.

 Contact Tricia Wallin at (212) 219-0111 or for more information.