LOS ANGELES -- GLSEN will host its annual Los Angeles Respect Awards at a star-studded black tie affair, honoring those who work to make schools safer for all students.
The L.A. Respect Awards is one of two such events the organization hosts each year. In May, GLSEN hosted its New York Respect Awards, in which openly gay NBA player Jason Collins was honored. It was Collins' first LGBT event appearance since publicly coming out earlier this year.
At tonight's gala, openly gay singer/songwriter Steve Grand will perform his hist single "All American Boy," following an opening performance by the internationally-recognized, award-winning John Burroughs High School show choir. Grand will later head to San Diego for a performance Saturday night in Hillcrest.
GLSEN - the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network - was founded in 1990 to improve an education system that frequently allowed its LGBT students to be bullied, discriminated against and/or fall through the cracks.
The organization stands strong today, serving as the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Even as acceptance for the LGBT community grows, GLSEN's work is more important than ever. According to GLSEN, eight out of 10 LGBT students are still harassed at school each year because of who they are.
At tonight's event, GLSEN will present three awards to supporters of it work.
Inspiration Award: Todd Spiewak and Jim Parsons
Jim Parsons and Todd Spiewak love the opportunity to support causes they believe in and, of course, GLSEN is one of their favorites. Living in Los Angeles with their dogs, Otis and Rufus, Jim's work on the CBS show "The Big Bang Theory," has earned him three Emmys and a Golden Globe. Parsons has also been featured in films such as "Garden State" and "The Muppets". He will next be seen in the upcoming HBO film "The Normal Heart" with Mark Ruffalo and Julia Roberts, and is currently in production on the animated film "Home". He has always loved working in the theater and recently appeared on Broadway for the Roundabout Theater in "Harvey," and in the stage production of "The Normal Heart.
Todd Spiewak has a BFA in graphic design from Boston University and has worked extensively in the field designing successful campaigns for clients including American Express, Barnes & Noble, HP, KitchenAid and The New York Times. Recently he and Parsons formed their production company, That's Wonderful Productions, and Todd is now actively seeking homes for projects ranging from television series to movies to theater.
Chairman's Award: Lionsgate
Lionsgate is a leading global entertainment company with a strong and diversified presence in motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, home entertainment, family entertainment, digital distribution, new channel platforms and international distribution and sales.
Its feature film business has been fueled by such recent successes as the blockbuster first installment of "The Hunger Games" franchise, "The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn—Part 2," "Now You See Me," "Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain," "Tyler Perry's Temptation," "Warm Bodies," "Perks Of Being A Wallflower," "The Expendables 2," "The Possession," "Sinister," "The Cabin In The Woods," "Mud" and "Arbitrage."
Lionsgate currently has 28 television shows on 20 networks including iconic brands such as the multiple Emmy Award-winning "Mad Men" and recent hits such as "Orange Is The New Black," "Anger Management" and "Nashville." The Lionsgate and Summit brands remain synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the world.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Linda Bloodworth-Thomason
Linda Bloodworth-Thomason is an award winning producer and writer known for creating television series with often Southern and always strong, memorable, female characters. In 1983, she formed a production company with her husband, director Harry Thomason, and together they have produced more than 350 episodes for television. As a close friend and supporter of President Bill Clinton, Linda wrote and directed all three of his Democratic Convention films, including the iconic "Man From Hope," as well as the 2008 Democratic Convention film for then Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Bloodworth-Thomason is a strong supporter of the LGBT community. In 1987, her "Designing Women" script, "Killing All The Right People," was the first American television show to address the AIDS crisis. Recently, she wrote and directed the same-gender love story, "Bridegroom," a documentary which won the audience prize at the 2013 TriBeca Film Festival.
A host of celebrities and prominent individuals have also shown their support for the event by serving on the honorary host committee, alongside co-chairs Robbie Rogers and Kerry Washington.
Other hosts include Betsy Beers and Shonda Rhimes (executive producers – "Scandal," "Grey’s Anatomy," "Private Practice"); Dan Berendsen (creator/executive producer – "Baby Daddy," "The Nine Lives of Chloe King"); Greg Berlanti (executive producer – "Arrow," "Brothers and Sisters," "Golden Boy," "Political Animals"); Linda Bell Blue (executive producer, "Entertainment Tonight"); Matt Bomer (actor - "White Collar," "Magic Mike"); Kevin Brockman (executive vice president, Global Communications, Disney/ABC Television Group); Donald De Line (film producer – "Pain & Gain," "Green Lantern," "I Love You, Man"); Robert Greenblatt (chairman, NBC Entertainment); Simon Halls (partner, Slate PR); Dave Karger (chief correspondent, Fandango); Carlos Lopez (events and special projects manager, The A List); David Phoenix (interior designer); and Chip Sullivan (head of publicity, DreamWorks Studios).
Tickets and more information
The L.A. Respect Awards will be held at the Beverly Hills Hotel, 9641 Sunset Blvd. Red carpet arrivals begin at 5:30 pm.
Some tickets are sponsorship packages are available, starting at $1,000. Proceeds benefit the work of GLSEN.
For more information and tickets, click HERE.
Top photo: Steve Grand
Middle photo: Inspiration Award honorees Todd Spiewak and Jim Parsons
Bottom photo: Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Linda Bloodworth-Thomason