Star Trek actor George Takei had high praise for the organisation which honoured him with a top award for his gay rights activism on Saturday (03May14), insisting officials have given young homosexuals role models and hope. Takei received the Vito Russo Award at the 25th annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York and used his acceptance speech to shine the light on the work of the group.
The openly gay star said, "In the 25 years since its founding, GLAAD has dramatically changed American society for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people. I know, because as a closeted kid growing up in Los Angeles... all I saw of gays and lesbians in movies and television, or heard on radio, were caricatures of people who were mocked and laughed at, or pitied, or hated. "The media stripped us of all humanity and made us into pathetic stereotypes. The media then was a soul-crushing monster. GLAAD took on this formidable beast with its media savvy, political acumen and the power of its advocacy and transformed the media into a powerful force for change."
But he insisted the fight is not over yet - and GLAAD bosses still have a lot of work to do: "As long as LGBT people can be fired from their job for simply being who they are, our work isn’t done yet. As long as young people are kicked out of their families just for being who they are, our work is not done yet. As long as people are being bullied into feeling that their lives are so hopeless that they are driven to self-destructive acts, our work is not done."
Naomi Watts, Kylie Minogue, Emmy Rossum, Boy George, Laura Prepon, Laverne Cox, Swoosie Kurtz and country star Kacey Musgraves were among the special guests who joined Takei at the Waldorf Astoria New York for the gala. Boy George introduced Minogue, who performed Can't Get You Out of My Head, while Grammy Award winner Kacey Musgraves played her LGBT-empowerment anthem Follow Your Arrow, and became the first country act to perform at the GLAAD Media Awards.
Winners included Orange Is the New Black (Outstanding Comedy Series) and Philomena (Outstanding Film), while transgender actress Candis Cayne took the stage to accept the Outstanding Individual Episode award on behalf of U.S. TV drama Elementary. Cayne portrayed Sherlock Holmes' housekeeper Ms. Hudson in the episode, titled Snow Angels.