GLAAD to honor Tituss Burgess and Tommy Dorfman at 2017 GLAAD Gala Atlanta

October 24, 2017

Matt Goodman
Associate Director of Communications, GLAAD
(646) 871-8028


Billy Gilman to perform and CMT’s Cody Alan to host

Special guests include Denis O’Hare, Amiyah Scott, Michael Carlsen, and Zeke Smith along with Cynthia Bailey, Shereé Whitfield, and Porsha Williams from ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’

NEW YORK, NY – GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, today announced that Tituss Burgess and Tommy Dorfman will be honored at that 2017 GLAAD Gala Atlanta on October 25. GLAAD Gala Atlanta is a celebration of national and local leaders accelerating LGBTQ acceptance and will be hosted by CMT personality Cody Alan with a special performance by Grammy Award-nominated and American Music Awards-winning country artist Billy Gilman.

Additional highlights at GLAAD Gala Atlanta will include appearances by Denis O’Hare, Amiyah Scott, Michael Carlsen, and Zeke Smith, as well as Cynthia Bailey, Shereé Whitfield, and Porsha Williams from ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta.’

Emmy and SAG nominated actor, musician, writer, and openly gay Georgia native Tituss Burgess will receive the Local Hero Award, which is given to an individual who has had an important impact on the local LGBTQ community.

Tituss Burgess portrays a gay character in Netflix’s ‘The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ and has appeared in ’30 Rock’ as well as four Broadway shows. Burgess has used his platform to speak out about the challenges of growing up LGBTQ in rural America. He has also been an outspoken advocate for HIV and AIDS awareness and testing. He participated in an Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation and GLAAD PSA in 2016 to make HIV history. Additionally Burgess donated the proceeds from the launch of his wine brands, Pinot Pride and Rosé Pride, to Equality Florida and GLAAD in the wake of the Pulse Nightclub shooting, the deadliest single incident of violence against LGBTQ people in the U.S.

“Tituss Burgess has long used his substantial and powerful voice to shed light on important causes,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President and CEO. “His massive talent and bold personality make him an unforgettable advocate for LGBTQ acceptance and a clear choice for the Local Hero Award.”

The award will be presented  by actor Michael Carlsen, who portrays Burgess’ romantic interest in ‘The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.’

Atlanta native and out actor Tommy Dorfman will receive that inaugural Rising Star Award, which is given to young artists who are using their growing platform to accelerate LGBTQ acceptance.

Dorfman portrays a gay character in Netflix’s ‘13 Reasons Why’ and took the role to help ensure that his story was told fairly and accurately. Dorfman also uses his wide social media following to share messages of love and acceptance to fans around the world. He presented at a GLAAD youth luncheon at the 2017 GLAAD Gala San Francisco, which provided grants to young people who are using social media, digital media, or technology to enhance LGBTQ, experiences online and in their communities. Dorfman also collaborated on a fundraising campaign that raised awareness around a recent Brazilian ruling that legalized conversion therapy in the country. The proceeds supported Brazilian nonprofit Grupo Gay de Bahia. Dorfman also received the Lavender Award for an up-and-coming actor at last week's OUTShine film fest opening night gala.

Additionally, he recently wrapped production on the independent film ‘Fluidity,’ which follows the story of ten millennials living in NYC whose sexual lives intersect in the age of social media. Dorfman earned his Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Performance from Fordham University Lincoln Center.

“Since he burst onto the scene Tommy Dorfman has used his platform to fight for LGBTQ acceptance and equality,” said Sarah Kate Ellis. “By incorporating advocacy from day one, he sent a powerful message about the importance of speaking out about causes that matter.”

The award will be presented by actor Denis O’Hare, who has long been an inspiration to Dorfman.

GLAAD Atlanta is made possible by generous support from presenting partners Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, Ketel One Vodka and Turner, community partners Atlantic American/Gray Television, Dermatology Consultants, Mercedes-Benz USA, Cleo Meyer State Farm, Production People Inc, and Wells Fargo, and media partner The Atlantan.

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