March 19 kicked off the first of three awards ceremonies held to honor positive and accurate images of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people: the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s 22nd annual GLAAD Media Awards. Held at the Marriott Marquis in New York City, Saturday’s gala included honors for True Blood (Outstanding Drama Series), a bridal package by Bobbi Misick of Essence.com (Outstanding Digital Journalism Award — Multimedia) and singer Ricky Martin (Vito Russo Award).
When presented with an Excellence in Media Award by the Rev. Al Sharpton, entrepreneur Russell Simmons remarked, “I’m humbled by having one of my mentors and heros, Rev. Sharpton, giving me this award. It’s no secret that faith-based communities, in some cases, have been difficult, and I think that for all of us who step outside of our comfort zone and fight for the rights of others, we are blessed. And Rev. Sharpton [has] stood up in so many ways and has been very special.”
30 Rock‘s Tina Fey accepted an award on behalf of her series, for Outstanding Individual Episode in a Series Without a Regular LGBT Character. Announced, but not presented at the event, were an Outstanding Talk Show Episode Award for the segment on The Oprah Winfrey Show titled, “Ricky Martin Coming Out as a Gay Man and a New Dad,” as well as an Outstanding Los Angeles Theater Award for L. Trey Wilson’s Something Happened.
Lynette Holloway’s article on The Root, ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Hurts African-American Women the Most, had been nominated for an Outstanding Digital Journalism Article Award, but the honor went to the View From Washington column by Kerry Eleveld on Advocate.com. A full list of the awards announced so far is on GLAAD’s site. More will be announced at the two remaining galas in Los Angeles on April 10 and San Francisco on May 14.
In the video below, Ricky Martin accepts the Vito Russo Award, which was created to honor an openly gay person in the public eye who is working to combat homophobia. He thanks GLAAD for having his back recently when he felt under attack by some in the Puerto Rican media.