House Dem. Leader Nancy Pelosi presents award to Sam Altman at 2017 GLAAD Gala SF

September 11, 2017

On Saturday, surprise guest House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi presented the Ric Weiland Award to Sam Altman, at the 2017 GLAAD Gala San Francisco. The out entrepreneur and investor received the award for empowering LGBTQ inclusion in tech.

During his acceptance speech, Altman spoke out for net neutrality and called on tech companies to step up anti-bullying efforts to make the Internet safer and more inclusive. He also highlighted the Internet's crucial role in advancing LGBTQ equality and in creating community. "I didn’t really know any other gay kids in real life for awhile, but I found a community in the early days of the Internet," Altman explained. "I am incredibly thankful for the progress we’ve made, and very aware of how far we have to go," he went on to say.

The Ric Weiland Award honors innovators who advance LGBTQ equality and acceptance through tech and new media. The award is named after the late Ric Weiland, a computer software pioneer and philanthropist known for moving the LGBTQ movement into the digital age.

Sam Altman is the president of Y Combinator, an accelerator that has invested in multiple companies that pride themselves on supporting positive social change. He is also a personal investor in many companies that have been at the forefront of LGBTQ inclusion, including Airbnb, Reddit, and Pinterest. Most recently, he invested in, a site that has been a driving force behind key LGBTQ victories including the successful overturn of the Boy Scout of America’s ban on LGBTQ youth. Altman has also been an outspoken advocate against overturning net neutrality rules, which could enable internet service providers to restrict content including resources for marginalized groups like the LGBTQ community.

The GLAAD Gala San Francisco celebrates and features storytellers who accelerate acceptance for the LGBTQ community. The 2017 GLAAD Gala San Francisco was presented by Ketel One Vodka and Wells Fargo.