Actress Cybill Shepherd
(Pic: Araya Diaz / WireImage)

Actress Cybill Shepherd, director Lee Daniels and singer Lady Gaga have been honoured at the 21st Annual GLAAD Media Awards in San Francisco.

The GLAAD Media Awards celebrates “fair, accurate and inclusive stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues, people and allies that have increased awareness, understanding and respect for the lives of LGBT people”.

At the ceremony on Sunday, Cybill Shepherd, who has been outspoken in her support for equality for LGBT people, was presented with the Golden Gate Award; given to individuals who, through their work, have increased the visibility and understanding of the LGBT community in the media.

“We stand on the shoulders of our elders and I want to thank everyone who’s worked so hard to make this possible,” Shepherd said in her acceptance speech. “I’m very humbled and I don’t know that I could be more dedicated to this cause, but I could never thank you enough, GLAAD, for your education of me.”

Also at the event, actor Jensen Atwood presented the Davidson/Valentini Award to director Lee Daniels, who received an Academy Award nomination for his 2009 film Precious. The Award is presented to an openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person who has made a significant difference in promoting equal rights for the LGBT community in the media.

“I come from a world where I was beaten daily by my dad because of my gayness. I had bullies and I wanted to kill myself,” Daniels said while accepting the Award, noting how these experiences had strengthened his determination to succeed.

Lady Gaga, who was not able to attend, was honoured as Outstanding Music Artist for her album, The Fame Monster. This award is presented to an openly LGBT music artist who has increased visibility of the LGBT community and spoken out for equality via their music or media appearances.

Gaga has identified as bisexual in a number of interviews, spoke at last year’s National Equality March in Washington, D.C. and has included LGBT images in her music videos.

Robert Hanson, president of Levi Strauss Americas, received the San Francisco Local Hero Award for championing the company’s involvement in supporting LGBT equality.

The event was attended by numerous celebrities and featured performances by recently out country star Chely Wright and openly gay singer Sam Sparro.

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