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Congratulations to Anderson Cooper and Other GLAAD Media Award Recipients
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 03/17/13
Last updated on: 03/17/13
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Anderson Cooper. Photo by Nehrams2020 (GFDL 1.2).

Congratulations to Anderson Cooper and the other recipients of GLAAD Media Awards, which were presented at a gala in New York on March 16, 2013. Cooper was presented the Vito Russo Award by Madonna, who described him as "someone I admire. Someone who is brave." In accepting the award, Cooper paid homage to all those who have fought and suffered in the quest for equal rights and said, "I have had so many blessings in my life, and being gay is certainly one of the greatest of them."

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) was founded in 1985 by activists and writers Arnie Kantrowitz, Darrell Yates Rist, and Vito Russo. It is a watchdog group dedicated to promoting accurate media representations of the glbtq community.

The Vito Russo Award is named for the author of the groundbreaking book about the representation of homosexuality in film, The Celluloid Closet (1987). Russo was not only one of the founders of GLAAD, but also one of the original members of Gay Activists Alliance. The Vito Russo Award is given annually to a glbtq professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality.

The GLAAD gala on March 16 was hosted by hosts from Good Morning America, Lara Spencer, Josh Elliot, and Sam Champion.

In addition to a host of celebrities, including Thomas Roberts, Bernadette Peters, Jake Shears, and NFL players Brendon Ayanbadejo, and Chris Kluwe, a special guest was Ohio mom-turned activist Jennifer Tyrell, who was ousted as her son's cub scout den leader because she is gay. She told the audience, "We're making sure that no parent ever has to look their child in the eye, like the Boy Scouts made me do, and say that your family isn't good enough."

Hip hop mogul Russell Simmons presented GLAAD's Ally Award to film director Brett Ratner, who helped produce the "Coming Out for Equality" PSA campaign.

Other honorees include the NBC television series Smash, which was picked as Outstanding Drama Series; CBS television's The Amazing Race, selected as Outstanding Reality Program; and David France's How to Survive a Plague, which was honored as Outstanding Documentary.

Frank Bruni of The New Times was cited as Outstanding Newspaper Columnist, while Andy Mannix of Minneapolis's City Pages was honored for his article "Game Changer." The Outstanding Newspaper Overall Coverage award was presented to The Boston Globe.

In the magazine categories, The Advocate received outstanding overall coverage honors, while "School of Hate" by Sabrina Rubin Erdely, published in Rolling Stone, was cited as Outstanding Magazine Article.

The Whale by Samuel D. Hunter was selected in the Outstanding New York Theatre: Broadway & Off Broadway category, while From White Plains by Michael Perlman was honored in the Off-Off Broadway category.

Telemundo's interview with boxer Orlando Cruz was selected as Outstanding Talk Show Interview. Other Spanish-language winners included "Amor genuino" by Cristina Saralegui as Outstanding Magazine article. Digital journalism contributions by Lilia Luciano and Ramón Frisneda were also honored.

In the video below, taken by Matthew Rettenmund, Anderson Cooper accepts the Vito Russo Award, following a long speech by Madonna. Dressed as a boy scout, Madonna talked about subjects as diverse as the Boy Scouts's ban on gay scouts and leaders, the bullying and suicides of gay youth, and homophobia in Russia and Iran.

In his acceptance speech, Cooper described his homosexuality as a great blessing that "has allowed me to love and be loved; it has allowed me to open my head and open my heart in ways that I never could have predicted. The ability to love one another, the ability to love another person is one of God's greatest gifts and I thank God every day for enabling me to give and share love with people in my life, with my family, my friends, and my partner Benjamin."

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