Kathy Griffin, Bishop Gene Robinson to be honored by GLAAD

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) announced Wednesday that Kathy Griffin will receive the Vanguard Award and the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson will receive the Stephen F. Kolzak Award at the 20th Annual GLAAD Media Awards.

The awards honor media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. The Los Angeles ceremony will be held at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Saturday, April 18, 2009. In recognition of its final season on Showtime, The L Word will receive a Special Recognition Award.

A long time ally of the LGBT community, Kathy Griffin consistently includes LGBT people on the two-time Emmy-winning reality program Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List,as well as in her comedy specials, her Grammy-nominated comedy CD For Your Consideration, and in her stand-up routines around the world.

This year Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List received its second consecutive GLAAD Media Awards nomination for Outstanding Reality Program. When not making audiences around the world laugh on television or stage, she is a vocal supporter of marriage equality in interviews with media outlets including Larry King Live.

In 2008, she appeared in a public service announcement produced by human rights group Causecast urging viewers to vote against Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that eliminated the right to marry for gay and lesbian couples in California. The Vanguard Award is presented to media professionals who, through their work, have increased the visibility and understanding of the LGBT community. Past recipients of the Vanguard Award include Janet Jackson, Charlize Theron, Antonio Banderas, Eric McCormack, Elizabeth Taylor, Liza Minnelli, and Whoopi Goldberg.

Bishop Robinson became the first openly gay Bishop of the Episcopal Church after he was elected Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire in 2004. He most recently delivered the invocation at the opening celebration of the Presidential Inauguration at the Lincoln Memorial.
Robinson will be honored with the Stephen F. Kolzak Award for his work to raise visibility of LGBT-inclusive voices of faith. His ongoing work as a LGBT advocate has been featured in international news outlets including The New York Times, Reuters and NPR. His personal story is featured in the documentary For the Bible Tells Me So and in his 2008 book In the Eye of the Storm. For the Bible Tells Me So profiles several LGBT families discussing their Christian faith and received the award for Outstanding Documentary at the 19th Annual GLAAD Media Awards. Robinson joins Rufus Wainwright, Melissa Etheridge, Bill Condon, Todd Haynes, Alan Ball, Ellen DeGeneres and Sir Ian McKellen as a recipient of the award, which is presented to an openly LGBT media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equal rights for our community.

Showtime drama The L Word will receive a Special Recognition Award as the show concludes its sixth and final season. The L Word broke new ground for LGBT visibility on television with its focus of exploring the lives and loves of a group of lesbian and bisexual women in Los Angeles.

Created by Executive Producer Ilene Chaiken and featuring a talented ensemble cast, the show is unique for prominently featuring women – many of them lesbian or bisexual – both in front of and behind the camera. The show has gained worldwide popularity, airing in 39 countries, and received nominations and trophies from the Emmy Awards, the NAACP Image Awards, the Leo Awards, the Satellite Awards, and the GLAAD Media Awards. Chaiken, along with cast members Jennifer Beals, Leisha Hailey, Kate Moennig, and Pam Grier will accept the award.

Additional guests scheduled to appear include: T.R. Knight, Eric Dane; Rebecca Gayheart; Balthazar Getty; John Stamos; Megan Mullally; Alan Cumming; Gus Van Sant; George Takei; Bruno Tonioli; Robert Gant, Peter Paige, Thea Gill, Michelle Clunie; Wilson Cruz; Chad Allen; GLAAD President Neil G. Giuliano. More names to be announced.

In January, GLAAD announced 125 nominees in 26 English-language categories, and 60 Spanish-language nominees in 15 categories. A full list of nominees for the 20th Annual GLAAD Media Awards is available here. This year, more than 5,000 people will attend the GLAAD Media Awards in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, raising more than $3.5 million for the organization's work.

Kathy Griffin and Bishop Robinson join previously announced honorees Suze Orman and Tyra Banks, recipients of the Vito Russo Award and the Excellence in Media Award respectively, at the March 28 ceremony held at the Marriott Marquis in New York, and Chad Allen as the Davidson/Valentini honoree at the San Francisco ceremony on May 9 at the Hilton San Francisco.

Theatre tickets for the Los Angeles event are $50. General tickets for the Los Angeles event are $100 and VIP tickets begin at $450. Tickets are available at www.glaad.org/mediaawards.

More than 100 corporate sponsors are showing their support, including National Presenting Partner IBM and Local Presenting Partners ABSOLUT® VODKA and Prudential. GLAAD is also grateful to the event's Platinum Underwriters Bud Light, Comcast, TimeWarner and the University of Phoenix. AT&T, Allstate Insurance Company, American Airlines, Barefoot Wines, Disney/ABC, HMS Media, the Herb Ritts Foundation, Marriott New York Marquis, Renaissance New York Hotel, MillerCoors, NBC Universal, PriceWaterHouseCoopers, Southwest Airlines, The Terry K. Watanabe Charitable Trust and Wyndham Worldwide support the 20th Annual GLAAD Media Awards as Underwriter Sponsors.

For a full list of corporate sponsors or information on how to become a corporate sponsor, purchase tickets or a tribute journal ad, please visit www.glaad.org/mediaawards or contact glaad@stampeventco.com.

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