Jussie Smollett presents to trans advocate Pepe Julian Onziema at #glaadawards

Jussie Smollett of Empire presented the award in Outstanding Talk Show Episode to Ugandan transgender advocate Pepe Julian Onziema for his episode of HBO's Last Week Tonight with John Oliver at the 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards on Saturday at New York's Waldorf Astoria. Onziema appeared on the show last June to talk about LGBT equality in the United States versus the state of equality in the rest of the world.

At the time of the interview, 81 countries had laws discriminating against LGBT individuals, including Onziema's home country of Uganda. Oliver pointed out that the anti-gay law in Uganda actually only exists because of Evangelical Americans like Scott Lively, known for his involvement in the ex-gay movement in America who visited Uganda preaching a message of hate and made himself a revered anti-gay figure in the country.

Onziema explains how the discrimination faced by LGBT people during the early 2000's was not associated with the words "recruitment" and "pedophilia," but that it now is. These two words suggest that the LGBT community preys on and "recruits" younger people. The apparent shift occurred in 2007 after a 45-day media campaign launched by LGBT advocacy groups in Uganda called 'Let Us Live in Peace.' After this point, Ugandan religious extremists joined together in their opposition to the LGBT community, and listened to the word of American anti-gay activists such as Lively. Watch Onziema's clips from Onziema's episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver below.

Smollett, who recently came out publicly in a backstage video at the The Ellen DeGeneres Show, stars in the FOX hit musical drama Empire as Jamal Lyon. In the series first season, Jamal came out to the world and, though his father Lucious still struggles to accept him, he named Jamal the successor to his record label Empire. The series has already been renewed for a second season and broke several ratings records.

Anderson Cooper presented the Excellence in Media Award to Kelly Ripa. Lynda Carter presented the Vito Russo Award to journalist Thomas Roberts. Comedian Ross Mathews hosted the event. Out country singer Ty Herndon performed with Antigone Rising's Kristen Henderson and guitarist Anita Cochran. Other guests included: Jeffrey Tambor, Judith Light, Trace Lysette (Transparent); Rupert Friend (Homeland) and fiancé Aimee Mullins; Jonathan Groff (Looking); Laverne Cox, Dascha Polanco, Jackie Cruz (Orange Is the New Black); Janet Mock (So Popular!); Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt); Mark Consuelos (Alpha House); Rachael Harris (Suits) and her fiancé Christian Hebel; Karla Mosley, Scott T. Schofield, Crystal Chappell (The Bold and the Beautiful); out NBA player Jason Collins; out football player Michael Sam and fiancé Vito Cammisano; Craig Melvin (MSNBC Live) and wife Lindsay Czarniak (SportsCenter); Alicia Menendez (Alicia Menendez Tonight); models Andreja Pejić, Carmen Carrera, Rain Dove, Josephine Skriver, Cory Wade; Monifah Carter and her wife Terez Thorpe (R&B Divas: Atlanta); recording artist Maya Vik; Terry Artis, Jonathan Bodrick, Brandon Hood, JJ Langan, Devin Stokes, Kristen Brown (B.O.R.N. to Style); Josh Canfield, Reed Kelly (Survivor); Louise Sorel (Days of Our Lives); Sam Champion (The Weather Channel); out WWE wrestler Darren Young; designer Mitchell Gold; John Gidding, Theodore Leaf, Rob Younkers (Secret Guide to Fabulous); and GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.

The Los Angeles GLAAD Media Awards were held on March 21 at the Beverly Hilton. For video, photos, and more, visit: http://glaad.org/mediaawards/recap. The 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards are presented by Delta Air Lines, Hilton, Ketel One Vodka, and Wells Fargo; and Official Presenting Partners Amazon and Bud Light.

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