GLAAD holds inaugural Rising Stars Grants Luncheon

March 31, 2017

Today, GLAAD held its inaugural Rising Stars Grants Luncheon to award grants to three college students for their LGBTQ advocacy work. The luncheon will be hosted by Hannah Hart with Troye Sivan, Victoria Justice, Gigi Gorgeous, and Alexandra Grey presenting to the grant recipients. The GLAAD Rising Stars program empowers and invests in the next generation of LGBTQ change makers, whose advocacy is changing their local cities and the culture at large. Grants are awarded annually to LGBTQ youth who champion intersectional issues with their advocacy efforts. GLAAD’s Rising Stars Grants are presented by Barilla, Coca-Cola, and Delta.

Also in attendance were Isabella Gomez, Emily Robinson, Elliot Fletcher, and Jacob Tobia. GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis also had a fireside chat with Bobby Brooks, who recently came under fire from Secretary of Energy Rick Perry after becoming the first out gay student body president of Texas A&M.

During the event, which was held on Transgender Day of Visibility, GLAAD premiered a video created in conjunction with Instagram and Jacob Tobia. The video featured members of the trans community reading #kindcomments from their Instagram followers. Check out the video below:

The grant recipients were:

Lizeth Urdiales

Lizeth Urdiales is a senior majoring in Mexican American Studies with a certificate in Social Entrepreneurship and Nonprofits at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas. Lizeth’s work at UT Austin has predominantly surrounded assistance for Undocumented communities and upon graduation, Lizeth will pursue an MBA in Entrepreneurship where she will use her role as a Rising Stars Grant recipient to empower Undocumented communities in the workplace by creating awareness for workers’ rights abuses, and by building stronger relationships between Undocumented and U.S. Resident and Citizen allies regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, class, nationality, ability, and citizenship status.

C Mandler

C Mandler is a junior double majoring in Philosophy and Written Arts at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. They run a campus DIY music venue, sing in their school’s sole a cappella group, and work as an Event Coordinator at the Difference and Media Project. They recently presented at Princeton University’s Compass Philosophy Workshop, which was specifically held for women, non-binary, and trans people in Philosophy, and are in the process of self-publishing their 3rd book of poetry. C will use their role as a Rising Stars Grant recipient to continue to bring queer and trans musicians of color to Bard to perform, lecture, and workshop with students and faculty on campus.

Kylan Kester

Kylan Kester is a junior majoring in Business Marketing with a minor in International Affairs at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. On campus, Kylan serves as an advocate for inclusion and serves as an editor-at-large with LinkedIn’s Student Voices and The Huffington Post. Kylan has been recognized for intersectional leadership and outstanding achievement by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Apple, Proctor & Gamble, the Human Rights Campaign, and the National Black College Hall of Fame. As a Rising Stars Grant recipient, Kylan will build a multimedia platform that speaks to the mission of diversifying the LGBTQ narrative by covering underrepresented stories on politics, entrepreneurship, travel, and technology.

The 28th Annual GLAAD Media Awards are presented by Delta Air Lines, Hilton, Ketel One Vodka, Liberty Mutual Insurance, and Wells Fargo. The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor media for fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of the LGBTQ community and the issues that affect their lives. The GLAAD Media Awards also fund GLAAD's work to amplify stories from the LGBTQ community and issues that build support for equality and acceptance.