Kathy Griffin (pic by Vince Bucci)

Ellen DeGeneres, Jessica Alba, T.R. Knight, Teri Hatcher, Megan Mullally, Jennifer Beals and Gus Van Sant were among the celebrities who turned out for the second leg of this year’s 20th Annual Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)Media Awards.

They were joined by Portia de Rossi, Kate Walsh, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, George Takei, Bill Paxton and Alan Cumming in honouring Kathy Griffin, the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, and the best in gay and lesbian-friendly film, television and journalism in Los Angeles on Sunday.

At the ceremony, T.R. Knight presented the Vanguard Award to Kathy Griffin, a strong ally of the LGBT community, who regularly includes LGBT people in her Bravo reality program Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List and in her live comedy shows.

Griffin is a vocal advocate for marriage equality for same-sex couples, and regularly supports LGBT community organisations.

“This is a thrill and an honour and an awesome night,” Griffin said in her acceptance speech. “You guys have been so good to me. I appreciate you, I get you, I love you, and I’ll keep making you laugh as long as you’ll let me! Thank you!”

Also at the event, Milk’s Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black and Cleve Jones, creator of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, presented the Stephen F. Kolzak Award to Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Bishop in the history of the Episcopal Church.

“It is such an honour to be here, and to be honoured by the Board of GLAAD… To have you say thanks in this way just means the world to me,” Robinson said accepting his award.

Speaking of the LGBT movement, Robinson continued, “We need to be in this for the long haul… Just because we achieved civil rights in the sixties for African Americans, it doesn’t mean racism is gone. Because we achieved rights for women in the seventies, it doesn’t mean sexism is gone….But we can stay in this fight because we know how it’s is going to end. This is going to end with full equality for LGBT people in our churches and in society. I have no doubt of it.”

Actor Alan Cumming presented a Special Recognition Award to The L Word which completed its sixth and final season in March in the US. Show creator Ilene Chaiken accepted the award with cast members Jennifer Beals, Leisha Hailey and Katherine Moenning.

In her remarks, Chaiken commented on the continuing need to advocate for the inclusion of LGBT characters in the media. “At this moment in history, when marriage equality is virtually inevitable and maybe even imminent, when we’ve welcomed new LGBT civil rights legislation in Iowa, Colorado, Washington D.C., New Hampshire and soon New York… how can it be that LGBT people – after years of slow but promising momentum – have careened backwards in terms of representation in mainstream popular entertainment media?” Chaiken said.

GLAAD also recognised Prop 8: The Musical, a video created for in response to the passage of Proposition 8, a California ballot initiative which eliminated the right to marry for same-sex couples. Directed by Adam Shankman and written by Marc Shaiman, the video received over one million hits on its first day online. During the show, Miss Coco Peru and the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles performed the song live onstage.

Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi
(Pic by Jeff Vespa)

Milk received the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Film – Wide Release. The award was accepted by director Gus Van Sant, screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, and producers Bruce Cohen and Dan Jinks.

Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi accepted a GLAAD Media Award for the episode “Ellen & Portia’s Wedding Day” from The Ellen DeGeneres Show nominated for Outstanding Talk Show Episode.

Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry, along with Teri Hatcher, Dana Delaney, Kyle MacLachlan, Tuc Watkins, Kevin Rahm, Andrea Bowen and Brenda Strong accepted the award for Outstanding Comedy Series.

The episode “Unidentified Funk” from The New Adventures of Old Christine received the award for Outstanding Individual Episode (in a series without an LGBT character), and show creator Kari Lizer, cast members Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Clark Gregg accepted with award with episode guest star Megan Mullally.

GLAAD, an LGBT media advocacy and anti-defamation organisation, presents the awards in a number of cities in the US to recognise and honour media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the LGBT community. Additional awards will be presented in San Francisco on May 9. Previously awards were presented in New York on March 28.

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