GLSEN, the leading education organization working to create safe and inclusive K-12 schools for LGBTQ youth, today announced that actor, Wilson Cruz will host the 2019 GLSEN Respect Awards – New York. Additionally, the annual event will honor Ace Schwarz as Educator of the Year and Loveless Academic Magnet Program (LAMP) High School GSA, Spectrum as GSA of the Year.
Wilson Cruz became a culture-shifting inspiration for the LGBTQ communities with his first series regular role as Rickie Vasquez on My So-Called Life. Cruz followed in his character’s footsteps, joining the board of directors of GLAAD in 1997, and in 2012 working as Director of Entertainment Partnerships for the organization. Cruz now stars in another groundbreaking role on the CBS All-Access series, Star Trek: Discovery as Dr. Hugh Culber, half of the iconic series’ first openly gay couple.
Cruz has been involved with GLSEN since the 1990s, has hosted the New York Respect Awards and will be an Honorary Co-Chair at 2019’s New York gala.
This year’s gala will take place on Monday, May 20 at Cipriani 42nd Street. As previously announced, the GLSEN Respect Awards – New York will honor the cast of POSE as well Panic! at the Disco, front man Brendon Urie. Additionally, the evening will honor:
Ace Schwarz, Educator of the Year
Ace Schwarz teaches 7th grade science, as well as an english enrichment course, at Springfield Middle School in Williamsport, Maryland.
Now in their 4th year of teaching, Schwarz runs four after-school clubs, including Springfield Middle School’s GSA, focusing on setting goals and educating their school about the LGBTQ community. They also previously worked with GLSEN Maryland to bring staff trainings into their school using GLSEN resources.
Using Instagram as a platform to advocate for LGBTQ students, Schwarz also helps teachers support students with a free resource they created called the “ABCs of LGBTQ+” to break down and define various LGBTQ+ terms from A-Z along with LGBTQ+ book lists for elementary, middle, and high schools that are written by LGBTQ authors.
LAMP High School GSA, Spectrum, GSA of the Year
The LAMP High School GSA, Spectrum, in Montgomery, Alabama is a student-run club whose mission is to provide a safe, welcoming space for LGBTQ students and their allies. The first in its area to nationally register with GLSEN, Spectrum was founded in August of the 2018-2019 school year.
Located in the heart of the South where achieving acceptance can often be difficult, Spectrum’s meetings are a time and space for students to freely be themselves without any concerns or fears about unaccepting parents, peers, or faculty.
In addition to sponsoring on-campus events, including participating in GLSEN’s Day Of Silence, Spectrum works with community-based organizations like Aid for Inmate Mothers, Montgomery Pride United (MPU), and Colors River Region.
The GLSEN Respect Awards, introduced in 2004 and held annually in Los Angeles and New York, showcase the work of students, educators, community leaders, and corporations who serve as exemplary role models and have made a significant impact on the lives of LGBTQ youth.
The Respect Awards – New York will welcome approximately 500 guests, including VIPS as well as outstanding youth leaders and educators from around the country, raising more than $1 million in support of GLSEN’s work. Past honorees include Kerry Washington; Yara Shahidi; Max Mutchnick and David Kohan; Ellen Pompeo; Rosario Dawson; Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake; Julia Roberts and Danny Moder; Zendaya; Shonda Rhimes, and Carla Gugino.
For nearly three decades, GLSEN has led the way on LGBTQ issues in K-12 education through groundbreaking original research, innovative program development, educator training, student organizing, and targeted state and federal advocacy. With the development of educational resources, direct engagement of youth and educators, and national programs like GLSEN’s Day of Silence, GLSEN’s No Name-Calling Week, and GLSEN’s Ally Week, GLSEN has seen the impact of its work.
Tickets for the Respect Awards are available now. For additional information, please visit glsen.org/events.