The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) honoured Brokeback Mountain, David LaChapelle, and the best in journalism, film, television and theatre on Monday at the 17th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at New York’s Marriott Marquis.

At the ceremony, Oscar-winning actor and producer Michael Douglas presented the award for Outstanding Wide Release Film to director Ang Lee for Brokeback Mountain. Lee received a standing ovation as he joined Douglas on the stage.

“To end our Brokeback journey here tonight is like coming home,” Lee said in his acceptance speech. “The fact is this: that Brokeback Mountain has helped to change the world. And it is such a privilege and honour to have joined you, and all the people all over the world, who struggle for compassion and for equality. We should just say together, ‘We can change the world.’ We really can. We really are. When the world is made better for one gay or lesbian person, it’s made better for everyone.”

Also at the event, Czech supermodel Petra Nemcova presented the Vito Russo Award to openly gay photographer and director, David LaChapelle. The Vito Russo Award is presented to an openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equal rights for our community. Fashion designers Richie Rich and Trevor Raines accepted on his behalf, reading a statement from LaChapelle, who was unable to attend.

Morgan Spurlock and executive producer R.J. Cutler were on hand to accept the Outstanding Reality Program award for the “Gay/Straight” episode of 30 Days. Producer Greg Garber and openly gay All-American lacrosse goalie Andrew Goldstein accepted the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding TV Journalism – News Segment for the story about Goldstein which aired on ESPN SportsCenter. Marcus Mabry, chief of correspondents and senior editor at Newsweek, accepted the award for Outstanding Magazine Overall Coverage on behalf of Newsweek.

In remarks at the event, GLAAD President Neil G. Giuliano emphasised the work of GLAAD. “The unprecedented visibility that we honour and celebrate tonight does not mean we can rest. It means there’s greater need for our work than ever before,” Giuliano said. “We must strengthen and enhance our work – defining ourselves by telling the stories of LGBT Americans. Because in our quest for full equality, how our lives are portrayed in the media doesn’t make a bit of difference; it makes all the difference.”

Other winners included The Oprah Winfrey Show (“When I Knew I Was Gay”) for Outstanding Talk Show, and Melissa Etheridge’s Greatest Hits: The Road Less Traveled for Outstanding Music Artist.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate, and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

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