Sean Hayes to Receive Outfest Trailblazer Award, Jill Soloway, Freeform Also Honored

Sean Hayes to Receive Outfest Trailblazer Award, Jill Soloway, Freeform Also Honored

- in Entertainment
Sean Hayes/Facebook
Sean Hayes/Facebook

Outfest, the Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization promoting equality by creating, sharing, and protecting LGBT stories on the screen, has announced that it will honor Emmy Award-winning actor and producer Sean Hayes (Will & Grace) in addition to previously announced honorees Jill Soloway (Transparent) and Freeform at the 2016 Legacy Awards.

Hayes is receiving the Trailblazer Award in recognition of his exemplary career as a stage, film, television, and recording artist and for his longtime, passionate support of the LGBT community. As one of this generation’s most visible and beloved LGBT performers, he has played a key role in the community’s progress and empowerment. Sean was the first actor to win an Emmy for playing a gay character on a television series, Will & Grace.

“Sean Hayes portrayal of ‘Jack’ on NBC’s Will & Grace took the stereotypical gay sissy and made him human, lovable, flawed, and real. Will & Grace first went on the air in 1998 long before it was ‘cool’ or politically correct to have a show that placed LGBT characters front and center and treated them with respect. Jack lived in a land where it was okay to simply be Jack – open, honest, funny, and real. We have Sean to thank for the doors that opened,” said Christopher Racster, Outfest’s Executive Director.

As previously announced, Soloway will be honored with the Visionary Award, which recognizes artistic and creative contributions to the LGBT media visibility for a body of work that includes Transparent. Freeform is receiving the Corporate Trailblazer Award in recognition of its groundbreaking programming for young adults, people in high school, college and the decade that follows which includes such LGBT-friendly programs including Pretty Little Liars, The Fosters and Shadowhunters.

The 2016 Legacy Awards will take place on Sunday, October 23 at performing arts venue Vibiana in downtown Los Angeles, with Head Chef Neal Fraser (Redbird). Merrill Lynch will return as the Presenting Sponsor.

The Legacy Awards serves as a fundraiser to support the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project, which celebrates its 11th anniversary this year. Outfest and UCLA Film & Television Archive partnered in 2005 to create the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project, the only program in the world exclusively dedicated to saving and preserving LGBT moving images. The Legacy Project is aimed at the crisis in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender moving image archiving. Many of the landmark LGBT films produced over the last 40-plus years are already in danger of fading away; their original exhibition prints are in tatters and their negatives are in woeful storage conditions, or even lost. For the last 11 years, the Legacy Project is proud to have collected more than 36,000 moving image items and to have restored 24 historically important film and video projects.

Previous Legacy Award winners include Tom Hanks (Philadelphia), Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right), Armistead Maupin (Tales of the City), Hilary Swank (Boys Don’t Cry), Lee Daniels (Empire), Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (Chicago) Adam Shankman (Hairspray), Roland Emmerich (Stonewall), Alan Poul (The Newsroom), Bruce Cohen (Silver Linings Playbook), and Paris Barclay (Glee).

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