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GLAAD Awards pay homage to gay and gay-friendly celebs
Patti Labelle, Tom Ford and Kate Clinton among honorees

by Mary Kaye Daniels

Jennifer Hudson (left) presented the Excellence in Media Award to Patti LaBelle at the 18th Annual GLAAD Media Awards. Photo: Mark Von lden/WireImage
Whoopi Goldberg, Julianne Moore, Jennifer Hudson and John Waters were among the dozens of celebrities who joined the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) as it honored Patti LaBelle, Tom Ford, Kate Clinton and the best in film, television and journalism at the 18th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York.

The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor mainstream media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the LGBT community and the issues that affect their lives.

At the ceremony, Jennifer Hudson presented the Excellence in Media Award to Patti LaBelle in recognition of LaBelle’s strong support of full equality for the LGBT community and her work to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS.

“I am so honored that the gay and lesbian community honors me tonight because I have been with you for 45 years,” LaBelle said in her acceptance speech. “I don’t know why people discriminate against you. I don’t know why people can’t see you marrying … whatever you want to do, it should be accepted by the world.”

Also at the event, Julianne Moore presented the Vito Russo Award to fashion designer Tom Ford. The Vito Russo Award is presented to an openly LGBT media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equal rights for the LGBT community.

“Just the simple fact that an award such as this exists confirms the need for all of us to stand up and be proud of who we are,” Ford said, as he accepted his award. “And I am indeed proud to be honored by an organization that fights prejudice and intolerance in our society.”

Cynthia Nixon presented the Pioneer Award to comedian Kate Clinton. In 2006, Clinton celebrated her 25th year as an openly lesbian humorist and social commentator.

Rosie O’Donnell and director Shari Cookson accepted the award for Outstanding Documentary for “All Aboard! Rosie’s Family Cruise.” Tim Gunn was on hand to accept the Outstanding Reality Program award for Bravo’s “Project Runway.” Writer/directors Wash Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer, along with their film’s star, Jesse Garcia, accepted for “Quinceañera,” recipient of the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Film – Limited Release. Daniel Peres, editor-in-chief of Details, accepted the award for Outstanding Magazine Overall Coverage. Segment producer Carlos Anaya accepted the award for Outstanding Spanish-Language Variety Program Segment on behalf of Mapi Montero, executive producer of “Mapiando.”
In remarks at the event, GLAAD President Neil Giuliano emphasized the importance of GLAAD’s work. “As I have traveled across the country in my first year with GLAAD, I have said many times that how our lives are portrayed in the media doesn’t make a bit of difference; it makes all the difference,” Giuliano said. “Your visibility matters. And our individual stories, which create conversation and raise awareness, must never be underestimated in their importance.”

Actress and comedian Whoopi Goldberg opened the show and comedian Judy Gold performed for the capacity audience of 1,600. Other guests and presenters at the event included: John Waters; Billie Jean King; Phil Donahue; Kelli Carpenter O’Donnell; Urvashi Vaid; Stephanie March; Ted Allen, Kyan Douglas, Thom Filicia, Carson Kressley (“Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”); Heather Matarazzo; Hilary Duff; Dana Delany; Eden Riegel, Jeffrey Carlson (“All My Children”); Van Hansis, Jennifer Landon, Jake Silbermann (“As the World Turns”); B.D. Wong; Paul Dawson, PJ DeBoy (“Shortbus”); Sarah Wynter; Tony Goldwyn; the Rev. Jay Bakker; Jackie Warner, Rebecca Cardon; Lee Rose; Melrose Bickerstaff; Malan Breton; Grant James Varjas; writer, activist Keith Boykin; Nathan Hale Williams; musician Willie Colon; comedian Jim David; singer Christine Martucci; and former NBA player John Amaechi. Guests at the after-party enjoyed the music of renowned DJ Junior Vasquez.

For the third consecutive year, the GLAAD Media Awards will be televised on Logo, MTV Networks’ cable channel for LGBT viewers and their allies. The Logo airdate for the 18th Annual GLAAD Media Awards is April 21 with subsequent airings.

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