Donna Rose

GLAAD Media Awards in LA - Wow

Filed By Donna Rose | April 29, 2008 9:13 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Media
Tags: Cindy Crawford, Donna Rose, Ellen DeGeneres, GLAAD, Kathy Griffin, Los Angeles, Media Awards

I have believed for a long time that the Gay GLAADLA_2008_1.jpgand Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is one of the most important yet unsung cogs in the overall GLBT advocacy wheel. So much of our overall community effort, passion, money, and frankly, frustration, seems to target local and national political goals. And although those efforts are certainly important, the fact is that politics rarely leads the way in changing culture. If anything, it lags a safe distance behind. What is out front? The media is.

The role that GLAAD plays is unique, necessary, and much of it passes unnoticed. Some would call them a media "watchdog" group but to narrowly niche them like that minimizes both their much broader scope and the importance of their work. Unlike other organizations who constantly need to take credit much of GLAAD's work passes unnoticed, and they're fine with that. That doesn't make it any less critical, or effective.

If there's a question about the level of respect that GLAAD's efforts garner in their industry all one needs to do is to look at last Saturday's GLAAD Media Awards event in Los Angeles for proof. I've been to my fair share of GLBT galas and ceremonies but I've never been part of something like this before. From front to back and top to bottom, it was an amazing event.

The A-List guests who graced the red-carpet included Kathy Griffin, Janet Jackson, Ellen DeGeneres, Billy Baldwin, Candis Cayne, Sally Field, Cindy Crawford, Jennifer Beals, T.R. Knight, Rufus Wainwright, and a host of others I can't name off the top of my head. And although the first thing that comes to mind for anyone looking at all of this is glitz and glamor (and there was certainly lots of that - photos available at from my vantage point the star-power was just the draw. The real star of the evening was the power of the message.

GLAAD President Neil Guliano says "Telling our stories doesn't make a bit of difference - it makes all the difference." GLAAD's mission is to make sure our stories get told fairly and accurately - whether it's in the news, in movies, on the internet, on television, on stage, or in any number of other venues where stories get told. These awards are our opportunity to thank those who show the leadership and courage to be extraordinary in that regard, and the good news is that it is becoming more and more difficult to choose winners.

I am currently the only Transgender board member at GLAAD and I couldn't be more proud of the fully inclusive nature of everything that transpired throughout the night. From the celebrities, to people attending the VIP pre-event, to the messaging all night long, to the impressive slate of nominees, to the broad diversity of the crowd - it was wonderful. It was a success by every measure of the word and I can't thank Neil and his staff enough for their tireless efforts in this regard.

These things can be transofrming for those attending for the first time. I've been to GLAAD events at smaller venues and it was reassuring to realize that the power of the message still reaches out and touches your heart even at a venue this large. Neil was magnificent during his portion of the event, and more than one person sitting near me dabbed tears from their eyes before he was done. A highlight for me was the amazing musical performance by Joss Stone. It was an inspired choice that more than made up for the mildly disappointing brevity of Janet Jackson's appearance, who accepted the Vanguard Award, at the end.

The good news is that the proceedings will not be limited to the 3,000 of us who packed the Kodak Theater in Hollywood on Saturday. GLAAD accounced today that the show is scheduled to be broadcast on Bravo on Friday June 27 at 7pm ET. This means that these awards will reach into 84 million homes across the country and in doing so will share the message of courage and authenticity that this event celebrates.

Politics is important but media shapes culture. I, for one, am happy that GLAAD is there to do what they do and I'll do what I can to help them do it. Knowing what I know about plans we're currently discussing, I'm filled with optimism. And although I expect the energy of the evening will last for quite a while, I'm already looking forward to next year.

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Considering how horrible the media can be (very often not in front of people in general), it's good to have advocates working in that field.

Politics is important but media shapes culture.

Agreed. 110%.

Thanks for serving on the board, Donna R.

knzzgk - these antispam "words" all sound like bodily noises, in this case, me trying to clear mucus from post-cold airways. TMI, I'm sure.