BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Many local and national LGBT organizations host galas and awards dinners, but few compare to the annual GLAAD Media Awards, with the 25th anniversary event held Saturday night at the Beverly Hilton.
Nearly 2,000 people attended the glitzy affair, along with a list of celebrities and VIPs such as Rita Moreno, Ellen Page, Lupita Nyong’o, Johnny Galecki, Naomi Campbell and many others.
Superstar Jennifer Lopez sat at a table in the center of the ballroom, showing her support for GLAAD and receiving the organization’s top honor, the Vanguard Award.
Moreno presented Lopez with the award, which is presented to media professionals who, through their work, have increased the visibility and understanding of the LGBT community.
"I really want to thank GLAAD for all of the important, daring, powerful work that you do - not only in mainstream media but in Spanish-language media too,” Lopez saud in her acceptance speech.
“Yes, you all need to know that GLAAD is spreading the message of love and acceptance, in English and en español. Si, el amor es el amor."
Lopez continued, "The world is changing and that's because love is stronger than hate, as we've heard many times tonight. There's never been a truer statement made. Love is love and that's what I tell my children every day. It's what we have to make everyone understand, so our world can be a better, safer, more diverse, more inclusive and more loving place - and we are on our way."
Also honored at the event was Laverne Cox, who was presented with the Stephen F. Kolzak Award by Ellen Page.
Upon receiving the honor, Cox, an actress and transgender advocate said "Thank you so much GLAAD for this amazing honor, I'm so happy to accept the Stephen F. Kolzak Award this evening."
Cox continued, "I'm still not used to getting awards. I'm an African-American transgender woman from a working class background raised by a single mother. We are not programmed to think we should receive these kinds of awards - but I like to think that things are changing."
Following Cox’s speech, she was asked to return to the stage to be surprised by her mother, who had come to the event to see Cox receive the award.
Cox will be the keynote at San Diego Pride’s Spirit of Stonewall Rally on Friday, July 18.
Other GLAAD Media Awards honorees include the following.
Pioneer Award: Norman Lear
Vanguard Award: Jennifer Lopez
Stephen F. Kolzak Award: Laverne Cox
International Advocate for Change Award: Manny de Guerre
Outstanding Drama Series: "The Fosters" (ABC Family) [accepted by: co-creators Peter Paige and Bradley Bredeweg, with stars Sherri Saum and Teri Polo]
Outstanding Documentary: TIE: "Bridegroom" (Virgil Films / OWN) [accepted by: Shane Bitney Crone and Linda Bloodworth-Thomason] and "Call Me Kuchu" (Cinedigm) [accepted by: co-directors Katherine Fairfax Wright, Malika Zouhali-Worrall, and Ugandan activist John "Longjones" Abdallah Wambere]
Outstanding TV Movie or Mini-Series: "Behind the Candelabra" (HBO)
Outstanding Reality Program: "Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce" (Fuse)
Outstanding Daily Drama: "Days of Our Live" (NBC)
Outstanding Newspaper Article: "LGBTQ in the Capital" (series) by Melissa Griffiths (Juneau Empire [Juneau, Alaska])
Outstanding Digital Journalism – Multimedia: "We Are Here: LGBTI in Uganda" by Sunnivie Brydum, D. David Robinson (Advocate.com)
Outstanding Music Artist: Tegan and Sara, "Heartthrob" (Warner Bros. Records)
Outstanding Comic Book: "Young Avengers," written by Kieron Gillen (Marvel Comics)
Outstanding Talk Show Interview: TIE: “Debate por la igualdad" Al Punto (Univision) and "Decisión Histórica" Sin Límites con Elizabeth Espinosa (CNN Latino)
Outstanding Local TV Journalism: "Natalia: rompiendo barreras" Noticiero Telemundo Arizona (KTAZ-39 [Phoenix, Ariz.])
Outstanding TV Journalism Segment: "Decisión Histórica" Noticiero Telemundo (Telemundo)
Outstanding Digital Journalism - Multimedia: "Eric y Juan, un matrimonio feliz a pesar de todo" by Fernando Mexia (EFE.com)
Besides the honors that were handed out to media, GLAAD raised a significant amount of money for the organization’s work. Led by the organization’s national spokesperson Wilson Cruz, the audience was asked to give at whatever they could.
Notable gifts announced by Cruz include a $15,000 a plate dinner that Moreno will soon be hosting at her Northern California home, a $25,000 pledge by Lopez, and a $350,000 matching donation by one of GLAAD’s donors in the audience.
GLAAD’s new President Sarah Kate Ellis also addressed the crowd, sharing some of the things she has learned in her four months on the job. One lesson that she shared was that “[the LGBT community] has to fight harder, be more nimble, and take our fight globally.”
The awards show ended with a swanky after-party in adjacent ballrooms at the Beverly Hilton where several celebrities and VIPs stuck around to celebrate, including Moreno who was seen talking to friends and fans until nearly midnight.
GLAAD will host the New York version of the 25th annual GLAAD Media Awards on Saturday, May 3 at the Waldorf Astoria.
More information about about GLAAD, which is one of SDGLN's media partners, is here.
Photos at the left
Top: Laverne Cox receiving her award.
Middle: Chris Hirsch, a GLAAD Media Awards guest from San Diego, with GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis (left) and her partner.
Bottom: Nearly 2,000 people packed the International Ballroom at the Beverly Hilton for the 25th annual GLAAD Media Awards.