The 24th Annual GLAAD Awards was held at the Marriott Marquis in New York City this past Saturday. This year, considerable buzz led up to the event, as the Queen of Pop herself, Madonna, was scheduled to make an appearance. She greeted the crowd with her trademark brashness and saucy humor.
Taking the stage in a Boy Scout uniform, pop icon Madonna called for the Boy Scouts to lift its ban on gays. “I think [the Boy Scouts] should change their stupid rules,” she said. She also called for an end to LGBT bullying, spoke out in defense of imprisoned band Pussy Riot, and called for open dialogue between ideological opposites to end discrimination. Finally, she presented the Vito Russo award to Anderson Cooper. Calling him a “freedom fighter” and “a bad ass motherfucker,” she invited Cooper onstage so she could “grab [his] ass.”
Earlier in the night GLAAD president Herndon Graddick pledged to make trans issues a priority, calling it the next battle in the fight for equality. Graddick cheekily asked whether the New York Post photographer was in the house before saying, “Yeah, we denied their press pass.” GLAAD turned down the Post’s request for media entry because of the tabloid’s history of using transphobic slurs.
Transgender first grader Coy Mathis, who is fighting for the right to be recognized as a girl, stood onstage with Graddick, as did Jazz, an 11-year-old transgender girl who was recently interviewed by Barbara Walters and appeared in a documentary on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network. Mathis was especially excited to be onstage and even lingered onstage for a few moments afterwards, taking in the moment and smiling at the crowd.
Another highlight of the evening was when June Shannon, mother of Honey Boo Boo Child Alana Thompson, was asked to stand; she was greeted with raucous applause. Shannon’s gay brother, known as Uncle Poodle, is featured prominently in Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, and one of Alana’s signature lines is, “Ain’t nothing wrong with being a little gay. Everybody’s a little gay.” Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi also addressed the crowd, saying, “I think you are all fucking awesome.” Jennifer “J-Woww” Farley, who recently appeared in a No H8 shoot with her breasts duct taped, was also in attendance.
The GLAAD Media awards are held in three parts each year – first in New York City, then in Los Angeles, and closing out in San Francisco. The first crop of winners included Smash for Best Drama Series, which beat out Grey’s Anatomy and Degrassi. How to Survive a Plague won for Best Documentary, beating out Hit So Hard with Wish Me Away. The Amazing Race won for Best Reality Series, beating out The Real L Word and even the night’s darling Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. More winners will be announced in Los Angeles on April 20 and in San Francisco May 11.
Here are some of the celebs who walked the red carpet.
Red carpet photos by Julie Morris