I Want to Work for Diddy, Transamerican Love Story, East Side Story, IN THE LIFE receive Awards at San Francisco event
May 11, 2009, Los Angeles, CA – San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, Suze Orman, Jason Lewis, Chelsea Handler, Robert Gant, and Wilson Cruz were among the celebrities who joined the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) as the organization honored Chad Allen, Dustin Lance Black, and filmmakers Geoff Callan and Mike Shaw, along with the best in television and journalism last night at the 20th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in San Francisco.
GLAAD, the nation's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, present the GLAAD Media Awards to recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the LGBT community and the issues that affect their lives.
At the ceremony, Robert Gant presented the Davidson/Valentini Award to Chad Allen. The Davidson/Valentini 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.
Allen has demonstrated a strong 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. Currently, Allen is starring in here! Networks’ The Donald Strachey Mystery Series, a six feature film series, and in 2008, Allen produced and starred in the film Save Me which offered audiences a look into the world of so-called "ex gay" ministries. Allen also participated in the annual AIDS/LIFECYCLE event three times, raising more than eleven million dollars to end AIDS. He also works closely with Soulforce and has recently accepted a seat on the Honorary Board of the Matthew Shepard foundation.
"I have watched my community wake up this year - and start to show up - like we never have before. Not in my lifetime," Allen said in his acceptance speech. "I've talked to and marched with young people who had never imagined the power of banding together to demand their freedom, and it makes me so proud of who we are. It makes me so grateful for my mentors who grabbed me by the scruff of my little gay neck and said 'This is your responsibility. You must stand up for who you are.' And that makes me absolutely determined to pass it on."
Also at the event, Milk producer Dan Jinks presented a Special Recognition award to Dustin Lance Black, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Milk.
In his acceptance speech, Black said, "Change doesn't happen by accident. [People] are watching the media, watching our movies and our TV shows. And that's how change and transformation happens. So many of my heroes in here tonight fight and insist that we tell our LGBT stories. And our watchdog group, GLAAD, makes sure our stories are told honestly, dispelling myths and sterotypes...That's why it's so important for us to tell our personal stories. I want to thank GLAAD for making sure those stories are told truthfully. Because it's through those honest depictions that we will change people's minds and win our full equality."
And for their commitment to telling the stories of gay and lesbian couples in their award-winning documentary Pursuit of Equality, filmmakers Geoff Callan and Mike Shaw were presented Special Recognition awards by Mayor Gavin Newsom and actor Jason Lewis.
"When Mike and I started making his film, people would ask us, 'Why would two straight guys make a gay film?' And Mike and I would reply, 'We're not. We're making a film about equality,'" Callan said in his acceptance speech.
Best-selling author, comedian, and talk show host Chelsea Handler hosted the show, and performances by violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and the New Century Chamber Orchestra, and by singer Matt Alber entertained the capacity black tie audience at the Hilton San Francisco.
Other celebrity guests at the event included: Calpernia Addams; Steve Callahan; Megan Cavanagh; Gabrielle Christian; Michelle Clunie; Laverne Cox; Bevan Dufty; Jeremy Glazer; Dan Jinks; Mark Leno; DeMarco Majors; Maeve Quinlan; Simon Rex; Donna Sachet; Charo Toledo; Eduardo Xol; Judge David Young; and GLAAD President Neil G. Giuliano.
Following is a complete list of GLAAD Media Award recipients announced Saturday in San Francisco. Previously awards were presented in New York at the Marriot Marquis on March 28 and in Los Angeles at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on April 18.
- Davidson/Valentini Award: Chad Allen (presented by Robert Gant)
- Special Recognition: Dustin Lance Black (presented by Dan Jinks)
- Special Recognition: Geoff Callan & Mike Shaw (presented by Mayor Gavin Newsom and Jason Lewis)
- Outstanding Television Movie: East Side Story (Logo) [Accepted by: co-writer and producer, Charo Toledo and star Steve Callahan]
- Outstanding Reality Program: TIE: I Want to Work for Diddy (VH1) and Transamerican Love Story (Logo) [Accepted by: Laverne Cox and Calpernia Addams, respectively]
- Outstanding TV Journalism - Newsmagazine: "Funding the Marriage War" IN THE LIFE (PBS) [Accepted by: Michelle Kristel, executive director IN THE LIFE]
Many of Saturday night's guests wore white ribbons provided by WhiteKnot.org. These ribbons symbolize support for marriage equality for same-sex couples.
More than 100 corporate sponsors are showing their support, including National Presenting Partner IBM and Local Presenting Partners ABSOLUT® VODKA and Prudential. GLAAD is also grateful to the event's Platinum Underwriters Comcast, TimeWarner and University of Phoenix. AT&T, Allstate Insurance Company, American Airlines, Barefoot Wine, Disney/ABC Television Group, HMS Media, Herb Ritts Foundation, New York City Marriott & Renaissance Hotels, Renaissance New York Hotel, MillerCoors, NBC Universal, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Southwest Airlines, The Terry Watanabe Charitable Trust and Wyndham Hotel Group support the 20th Annual GLAAD Media Awards as Underwriter Partners.
For a full list of award recipients from the 20th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, please visit www.glaad.org/mediaawards.