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Tyra Banks and Suze Orman to be Honored at 20th Annual GLAAD Media Awards Presented by IBM in New York

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Clay Aiken, Tim Gunn, T.R. Knight, S. Epatha Merkerson, Keith Olbermann, and Vanessa Williams among special guests at March 28 ceremony Presented by Prudential

Richard Ferraro
Director of Communications
(646) 871-8011
ferraro@glaad.org

March 12, 2009

March 12, 2009, New York, NY – The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) announced today that Clay Aiken will present the Excellence in Media Award to Tyra Banks at the 20th Annual GLAAD Media Awards Presented by IBM and New York presenting partner Prudential. T.R. Knight will present the Vito Russo Award to Suze Orman. Special Recognition awards will be presented to Phil Donahue and The Laramie Project, 10 Years Later - The Lasting Legacy of Matthew Shepard, a two-hour documentary broadcast on Sirius XM Radio.

The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and the issues that affect their lives and will be held in New York on March 28, 2009 at the Marriott Marquis. Additional GLAAD Media Awards ceremonies will take place in Los Angeles on April 18 at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live, and in San Francisco on May 9 at the Hilton San Francisco.

Comedian Kate Clinton will host the New York event.  Other guests and presenters scheduled to attend the New York event include:  Jonathan Adler and Simon Doonan (Top Design), Clay Aiken (American Idol), former NBA player John Amaechi, Jensen Atwood and Patrik-Ian Polk (Noah’s Arc: Jumping the Broom), Michelle Clunie (Queer as Folk), Tim Gunn (Project Runway), Van Hansis and Jake Silberman (As the World Turns), Cherry Jones (24), T.R. Knight (Grey’s Anatomy), Jay Manuel (America’s Next Top Model), S. Epatha Merkerson (Law & Order), Jasika Nicole (Fringe), Chris Noth (Sex & the City), Keith Olbermann (MSNBC), Ana Ortiz, Michael Urie and Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty), Jenny Shimizu (Make Me a Supermodel), Hannah Storm (ESPN), Jane Velez-Mitchell (CNN) and GLAAD President Neil G. Giuliano.  Junior Vasquez will be the guest DJ at the after-party.  More names to be announced.

Awards will be presented onstage in the following categories: Outstanding Film - Limited Release, Outstanding Documentary, Outstanding TV Journalism Segment, Outstanding Digital Journalism Article, and Outstanding Spanish-Language Magazine Overall Coverage.

Actor and singer Clay Aiken will present the Excellence in Media Award to Tyra Banks. The Excellence in Media Award is presented to media professionals who, through their work, have increased the visibility and understanding of the LGBT community. As a long-time ally of the LGBT community, Banks has shown a strong commitment to educating the public about the lives of gay and transgender people.  She has consistently featured LGBT people onThe Tyra Banks Show and continues to increase the visibility of the community through the diversity of her co-hosts and contestants on America's Next Top Model, including her inclusion of Isis King, the show's first transgender contestant, on the most recently completed cycle. Past recipients include Billy Crystal, Julianne Moore, Diane Sawyer, Glenn Close, Patti LaBelle, Vanessa Redgrave, and Phil Donahue.

Suze Orman will receive the Vito Russo Award which is presented to an openly LGBT media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equal rights for our community.  The six-time New York Timesbestselling author and two-time Emmy Award winner has raised the profile of LGBT Americans by using her position in the public eye to convey that financial planning is a concern for all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.  Previous Vito Russo Award honorees include Rosie O'Donnell, Alan Cumming, Nathan Lane, Cherry Jones, Elton John, Liz Smith, k.d. lang, David LaChapelle, Brian Graden, and Tom Ford.

A Special Recognition award will be presented to Phil Donahue, who received the Special Honoree Award at the first GLAAD Media Awards in 1990 for his groundbreaking work to spotlight LGBT people and issues in a fair and accurate way on Donahue. Twenty years later, he continues to be a vocal supporter of the LGBT community.

The Laramie Project, 10 Years Later – The Lasting Legacy of Matthew Shepard will also receive a Special Recognition award. The two hour documentary on Sirius XM Radio narrated by acclaimed actress Stockard Channing and featuring an introduction by GLAAD Media Award-winning journalist Barbara Walters shared the stories of individuals touched by the critically acclaimed play The Laramie Project and its discussion of hate crimes.

In January, GLAAD announced 125 nominees in 26 English-language categories, and 60 Spanish-language nominees in 15 categories. A complete list of this year's 185 nominees is available at www.glaad.org/mediaawards. This year, more than 5,000 people will attend the GLAAD Media Awards in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco raising more than $3.5 million for the organization's work.

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. 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, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Southwest Airlines, The Terry Watanabe Charitable Trust and Wyndham Hotel Group support the 20th Annual GLAAD Media Awards as Underwriter Partners.

General tickets for the New York event are $400 and VIP tickets begin at $500. Show Only tickets are also available for $100. For a full list of corporate sponsors or information on how to become a corporate sponsor, purchase tickets or a tribute journal ad, please visit www.glaad.org/mediaawards or contact Stamp Event Management at (877) 519-7904 or glaad@stampeventco.com.