Dianna Agron, Rita Moreno, Kerry Washington, Adam Pally, Janet Mock, Shay Mitchell, and other celebrities joined the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) as it honored advocate, author and producer Shonda Rhimes, Wells Fargo, Facebook, and the best in television and journalism at the 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards in San Francisco.
Kerry Washington, Guillermo Diaz and Katie Lowes presented the Golden Gate Award to Shonda Rhimes, creator of Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice and ABC’s new hit series Scandal. The Golden Gate Award is presented to an openly LGBT media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality.
In her acceptance speech, Rhimes said, “I think that love is universal. And I think in telling LGBT stories, I’m telling everyone’s story. Love is, in fact, universal, right?…I want my daughters to grow up in a world in which there is more love than hate. I want them to know a world where everyone is free. So that’s why I write the stories that I do, because everyone should be free. Love should be universal. And no one should get to tell me or you or my kid who they can love, or who they can marry or have babies with.” Rhimes continued, “I want to thank GLAAD for bestowing me with this honor, and it truly feels like an honor. I’m going to do my best in the future to deserve the honor that’s bestowed on me and make GLAAD proud.”
Brittany McMillan, creator of Spirit Day which inspires millions to wear purple or “go purple” on social media in support of LGBT youth, presented a Special Recognition Award to Facebook for the company’s strong support of its LGBT users. Spirit Day will be held on October 19, 2012. Facebook’s Andrew Noyes and Sara Sperling accepted the award on behalf of Facebook.
In a pre-recorded video, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said of the honor, “For two decades, GLAAD has recognized those who promote understanding, increase acceptance and advance equality. This is incredibly important and I couldn’t be more pleased that Facebook is among those being honored by GLAAD this year. I’m thankful that GLAAD has recognized our commitment to helping young people make safe, smart and responsible choices online and offline. We’re committed to helping people express who they really are.”
Guests enjoyed a performance by Beverly McClellan, a finalist on season one of The Voice, as well as Mystère by Cirque du Soleil. Other special guests included: Sean Maher (Much Ado About Nothing); Ashley Benson, Ian Harding (Pretty Little Liars); Nate Ruess, Andrew Dost, Jack Antonoff (fun.); Chandler Massey and Freddie Smith (Days of Our Lives); Jordon Todosey, Annie Clark, Linda Schuyler (Degrassi); Mario Lopez (Extra); MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts; People.com editor Janet Mock; John Gidding (Curb Appeal: The Block); author and advocate Zach Wahls; comedians Fortune Feimster and Chris Franjola; and GLAAD President Herndon Graddick.
This year, over 100 youth from the Bay Area were able to attend the event at no cost through GLAAD’s Young Adults @ the GLAAD Media Awards initiative. Young Adults @ the GLAAD Media Awards was presented in Los Angeles by Edison International. Additional support from corporate partners including Bridgestone Americas, Cirque du Soleil, Dorsey & Whitney LLP, Tom Ford & Richard Buckley, Billie Jean King, Madison Square GardenThe Rockettes Company, Major League Baseball, Bishop Gene Robinson, Southern California Gas Company – A Sempra Energy utility, and Steve Tisch allowed GLAAD to make this program possible. Students affiliated with University of California Berkeley and San Francisco International High School enjoyed the show, as well as a pre-reception, advocacy fair and a private after-party.
Additional awards were presented in New York on March 24 and in Los Angeles on April 21. A complete list of award recipients announced at the New York and Los Angeles events may be found here.