GLAAD Co-Founder Dean Hansell to Receive Founders Award at GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles

At the 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards event in Los Angeles on Saturday, April 20, GLAAD co-founder Dean Hansell will receive the first Founders Award in recognition of his 27 years of service to GLAAD.  Dean is a partner at the international law firm of Hogan Lovells US LLP and is a leader in civic and legal affairs.

In 1985, equality advocates in New York formed GLAAD to take on the stereotypical and defamatory representations of LGBT people in the media.  One of its first targets was the New York Post for its inflammatory and inaccurate demonizing of people with HIV/AIDS.

Shortly afterwards, advocates in Los Angeles decided to form a west-coast chapter of GLAAD.  This was the first step toward GLAAD becoming the national organization it is today.

Dean Hansell was one of co-founders of what became known for many years as GLAAD/LA, and served as co-president for three years.  Prior to GLAAD's founding, Dean had been involved with the Anti-Defamation League and the NAACP, so the idea of using cultural advocacy to change attitudes about LGBT people immediately made sense to him.  He had already seen that cultural advocacy was a viable, powerful and effective way to make change.

In the days before the internet, GLAAD operated a phone hotline that people could call to report incidents of media defamation.  That phone line was in Dean's house, where he regularly processed the incoming reports.  His home also provided the space for membership and Board meetings until the organization outgrew it.  He then signed the lease on GLAAD's first Los Angeles headquarters located in a rundown building on Hollywood Boulevard.

Dean recalls that when he was Co-President, GLAAD/LA's budget was $52,000.  He and the other Board members were quite anxious at the thought of raising $1,000 per week.  The chapter's first fundraiser was a yard sale at Dean's house.  But it was not your typical yard sale, as the emphasis was on antiques.

Another opportunity to meet their budget goal was to hold the west coast edition of the GLAAD Media Awards with the goal of increasing visibility for LGBT images in the entertainment industry and to honor those courageous writers, actors and directors who participated.  The idea of having a GLAAD Media Awards event in Los Angeles was controversial and it was a close vote on the GLAAD Board.  But Dean voted "yes," and he has been involved in every GLAAD Media Awards since then.

Dean Hansell's commitment to GLAAD has not wavered since the organization's founding.  He has served a combined total of 17 years on the GLAAD/LA, and then later, the national GLAAD Board of Directors.

His home has been the venue for more than 50 events supporting GLAAD, including GLAAD Hancock Park events, Board meetings, and major donor meet-and-greets.

Dean is a Partner in the international law firm of Hogan Lovells (2,100 attorney firm in 40 cities on 4 continents.)  He specializes in complex and cutting-edge litigation and arbitration.  A former state and federal prosecutor, he has authored more than 25 book chapters & legal journal articles.  He has argued before numerous courts including the California Supreme Court, the High Court of American Samoa, and the US Courts of Appeals for the 9th, 8th, 7th and DC Circuits.

Dean served on the Board of Trustees of Denison University, Chairs the UCLA School of Public Health Advisory Board, is the President of the Fire and Police Pension Board for the City of Los Angeles, and serves on the Boards of the California Bar Foundation, the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Community College Foundation, the Police Foundation of Los Angeles and the LA Gay & Lesbian Center (former co-Chair).  He is a member of the Advisory Boards of the Christopher Isherwood Foundation and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center.  Dean was the former Police Commissioner of Los Angeles.

Dean has also received the Distinguished Service Medal from the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners, the Herman Humanitarian Award from Beth Chayim Chadashim, the Co-President’s Award from Lawyers for Human Rights, the Alumni Citation from Denison University, and the Humanitarian Award from the Liberty Hill Foundation.

Special guests for the Los Angeles event include honorees Bill Clinton and Steve Warren, along with Leonardo DiCaprio, Charlize Theron, Jennifer Lawrence, brothers Chris Evans and Scott Evans, Alex Pettyfer, Johnny Galecki, Elle Fanning, Sara Ramirez, Justin Bartha, NeNe Leakes, Cloris Leachman, Lucas Neff, and Shannon Woodward.  To purchase tickets, please visit

The 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles are presented nationally by Ketel One Vodka and Wells Fargo and locally by Delta Air Lines.

Congratulations to Dean!