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Legendary TV Personality and Actress Betty White, Ellen DeGeneres, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Joshua Jackson, Kim Wayans, Sara Gilbert and Jason Mraz joined the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) as it honored advocate and author Chaz Bono, actor Josh Hutcherson and the best in television and film last night at the 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles held on Saturday, April 21, 2012 from 4:30 pm at Westin Bonaventure located at 404 S. Figueroa Street in Los Angeles, CA 90071.

Cher and Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (R-CA) presented the Stephen F. Kolzak Award to Chaz Bono, and Benicio Del Toro presented the Vanguard Award to Josh Hutcherson.

Also at the event, Jennifer Tyrrell, a mother from Ohio who was ousted last week as a scout leader from the Boy Scouts of America, spoke onstage with her partner, Alicia, and their four children.  Celebrities and special guests signed Tyrrell’s Change.org petition calling on the Boy Scouts of America to end its ban on LGBT scouts and scout leaders. In only five days, the petition has received over 110,000 signatures.

Cher surprised her son, Chaz Bono, by joining Bono’s stepmother, Rep. Mary Bono Mack, in presenting him with the Stephen F. Kolzak Award.  The Stephen F. Kolzak Award is presented to an openly LGBT media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality.

In her remarks, Cher praised her son, “I’m here because Chaz has the most courage of almost anyone I know.  The other day I was having a big meltdown (like you do) and Chaz said, ‘Are you going to come to the [GLAAD event],’ and I went ‘Chaz, you know, I’m not doing well right now’ and…he texted me and said ‘I turned into a very understanding, smart man and you can call on me.’  And it made me feel so good, like I could lean on someone.  It touched my heart.”  Addressing Bono directly, Cher said, “You are the most courageous person I know and you really deserve this award, so come up and get this award!”

In his acceptance speech, Bono discussed the role GLAAD has played in his life.  “This truly means so much to me, because not only did I work at GLAAD, I think I learned everything that I value and that I do now as an activist from the time I spent at GLAAD.  I learned here to use the greatest activist tool that we have at our disposal, and that is the media.”  Bono continued, “For my personal journey since I transitioned, GLAAD has been there for me every step of the way.  From when it first came out that I was transitioning, GLAAD was right there, out front in the media.  And really everything that I’ve done since then, they have been a partner for me to be able to go to when Million Moms is coming out against me or Keith Ablow is telling people that me being on Dancing with the Stars is somehow going to be damaging to children.  They have really been a partner for me all the way.”

Also at the event, actor and director Benicio del Toro presented the Vanguard Award to actor Josh Hutcherson.  Del Toro directed Hutcherson in the short film 7 Days in Havana.  The Vanguard Award is presented to media professionals who, through their work, have increased the visibility and understanding of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Accepting his award, Hutcherson thanked his friends from the Straight But Not Narrow campaign with which Hutcherson is actively involved, “I want to thank my best friends Avan Jogia, Andre Pochon and Heather Wilk for starting Straight but not Narrow.  It’s an amazing organization.  We wanted to create a place where straight people felt safe coming out and saying ‘It’s okay to be gay.’  And I didn’t know one, so we decided we were going to make one and we have.  It’s gaining momentum and it means the world to me.”  Hutcherson continued, “I want to thank GLAAD and everybody tonight who shared their story with us, and really showed us that the work that we’re doing makes a difference.  That’s why I’m up here.  I’ll make hopefully a million more movies but this is what I want to do with my life, just changing the world and hopefully changing what people think.  So, this is to everybody who’s ever had a struggle in life being yourself.  I think that the most beautiful thing a human being can do is just be who you are inside.  So please, everybody, just be yourselves and encourage everyone else to do the same.  Thank you.”

Tim and Tracy Rodemeyer, along with their daughter Alyssa, spoke onstage to the over 400 young adults in attendance, in memory of their 14-year-old son Jamey who died by suicide in the fall of 2011 after posting an It Gets Better video on YouTube.

Other special guests include: Wendie MalickJane Leeves (Hot in Cleveland); Ellen DeGeneres (The Ellen DeGeneres Show); Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family); Max AdlerGrant Gustin (Glee); Joshua Jackson (Fringe); Mark DeklinMiriam Shor (GCB); Sara Gilbert (The Talk) and musician Linda PerryKim Wayans (Pariah); Kat Graham (The Vampire Diaries); singer Jason Mraz;Molly Shannon (Casa de mi Padre); Trevor Donovan (90210); LGBT advocate and writer Perez Hilton;Brooke ElliottJosh Berman (Drop Dead Diva); Gilles Marini (Switched at Birth); Guillermo Diaz (Scandal);Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter (Resident Evil); Kyle Richards, Lisa Vanderpump (The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills); Marissa Jaret Winokur (Retired at 35); Tabatha Coffey (Tabatha Takes Over); Laura San Giacomo (Saving Grace); Travis Wall (So You Think You Can Dance); Peter Marc Jacobson (Happily Divorced); writer LZ Granderson; Fenton BaileyRandy Barbato (Becoming ChazGirls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys); Freddie Smith (Days of Our Lives); Michelle ParadiseAngela Featherstone (Exes & Ohs); Lady BunnyRaven (RuPaul’s Drag U); Reza Farahan (Shahs of Sunset); Jamie Clayton (Hung);Madison Hildebrand (Million Dollar Listing); Washington State Rep. Maureen Walsh; decorated Air Force veteran Lt. Col Victor Fehrenbach; and GLAAD President Herndon Graddick.

Following is a complete list of GLAAD Media Award recipients announced Saturday in Los Angeles.

  • Stephen F. Kolzak Award:  Chaz Bono (presented by Cher and Rep. Mary Bono Mack)
  • Vanguard Award:  Josh Hutcherson (presented by Benicio Del Toro)
  • Outstanding Film – Wide Release:  Beginners (Focus Features)
  • Outstanding Documentary:  Becoming Chaz (OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network) [accepted by: directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, and Chaz Bono]
  • Outstanding Comedy Series:  Modern Family (ABC) [accepted by: Jesse Tyler Ferguson]
  • Outstanding Individual Episode:  TIE: “Prom” Drop Dead Diva (Lifetime) [accepted by: producer Josh Berman and Brooke Elliott] and “Beards” Hot in Cleveland (TV Land) [accepted by: Jane Leeves, Wendie Malick, Betty White and episode guest stars Gilles Marini and Laura San Giacomo]

This year, over 500 youth from Southern California were able to attend the event at no cost through GLAAD’s Young Adults @ the GLAAD Media Awards initiative.

Additional awards were presented in New York on March 24, and the final awards will be presented in San Francisco on June 2 at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis.  Glee‘s Dianna Agron will host the June event, and it will feature a special performance by Cirque du Soleil’s Mystère.  A complete list of award recipients announced at the New York event may be found here: www.glaad.org/mediaawards/recipients

About The GLAAD Media Awards:
The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and the issues that affect their lives.  The GLAAD Media Awards also fund GLAAD’s work to amplify stories of LGBT people and issues that build support for equality.

About GLAAD:
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) amplifies the voice of the LGBT community by empowering real people to share their stories, holding the media accountable for the words and images they present, and helping grassroots organizations communicate effectively. By ensuring that the stories of LGBT people are heard through the media, GLAAD promotes understanding, increases acceptance, and advances equality. For more information, please visit http://glaad.org or connect with GLAAD athttp://glaad.org/connect.

Sources: BWR Public Relations & GLAAD.
Videos credit to: http://www.glaad.org/mediaawards
Photos credit to: Rodrigo Vaz for Diversity News Magazine and Diversity News Publications. For photos licensing contact: Steven Escobar at editor@diversitynewsmagazine.com or editor@diversitynewspublications.com (C) 2012 Rodrigo Vaz and Diversity News Publications. All Rights Are Reserved.

Editor’s Note: Even thought we only received media credentials to cover the red carpet arrivals, we still providing you some information courtesy of GLAAD and BWR Public Relations of what happen during Dinner and Show.

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