Academy Award-nominated actress Ellen Page will present the Stephen F. Kolzak Award to Laverne Cox. Page named Cox as one of her inspirations when she came out last month.
GLAAD previously announced that global superstar Jennifer Lopez will receive the Vanguard Award at the event. The 25th Annual GLAAD Media Awards are presented nationally by Ketel One Vodka, Wells Fargo, and Hilton Worldwide. The Los Angeles event is presented locally by Delta Air Lines and Bud Light.
Cox will receive GLAAD’s Stephen F. Kolzak Award, which is presented to an openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality. The award is named after a successful casting director, who devoted the last part of his life to raising awareness in the entertainment industry about the discrimination faced by LGBT and HIV-positive people. Previous Stephen F. Kolzak honourees include Wanda Sykes, Rufus Wainwright, Melissa Etheridge, Bill Condon, Todd Haynes, Alan Ball, Ellen DeGeneres, and Sir Ian McKellen.
Laverne Cox is a critically acclaimed actress who plays Sophia Burset, an incarcerated African American transgender woman on the hit Netflix original series Orange is the New Black, returning for its second season on June 6. Cox is the first trans woman of colour to have a leading role on a mainstream scripted television show, and her portrayal is a groundbreaking step forward in authentic depictions of transgender women.
Laverne Cox uses her platform as an actress and public figure to create dialogue, increase visibility, and draw attention to the critical issues facing the transgender community. Yesterday, Cox delivered the keynote address during the launch of the second annual Trans 100 list which celebrates positive contributions from 100 members of the transgender community. Cox appeared on last year’s inaugural list.
In 2008, Cox came to mainstream attention on the VH1 reality show I Want to Work for Diddy, an experience that touched many trans women around the country and educated others who knew nothing about transgender people. She made such an impression on the show, that MTV Networks gave her the green light to produce her own reality show called TRANSform Me. Cox has appeared on numerous news programs discussing issues of importance to the trans community and has spoken to college students on campuses across the country. She also serves as Executive Producer of the upcoming documentary Free Cece, which shares the harrowing story of a young transgender woman who was brutally attacked in an act of anti-transgender violence, and was later incarcerated in a men’s prison for defending herself.
“Laverne Cox has reshaped the way Americans see transgender people and raised the bar in diverse representations of the LGBT community in entertainment,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “She is not only a talented actress, but a truly transformational leader in the LGBT equality movement. Through her tireless commitment to building understanding and acceptance through education and advocacy, Laverne is moving equality forward both on and off the screen.”
Additional special guests for the Los Angeles event include: Kelly Osbourne; Sherri Saum, Teri Polo (The Fosters); Shane Bitney Crone, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason (Bridegroom); Katherine Fairfax Wright, Malika Zouhali-Worrall, John “Long Jones” Abdallah Wambere (Call Me Kuchu); New Orleans bounce performer Big Freedia; GLAAD National Spokespersons, Wilson Cruz and Omar Sharif, Jr., and GLAAD CEO & President Sarah Kate Ellis. Additional presenters, and LGBT advocates will be announced.
In January, GLAAD announced 93 nominees in 20 English-language categories, and 37 Spanish-language nominees in nine categories. Nominees for the 25th Annual GLAAD Media Awards can be found here: glaad.org/mediaawards/nominees. The New York GLAAD Media Awards ceremony will take place on May 3 at the Waldorf Astoria New York.
To receive the latest updates on the GLAAD Media Awards, follow @glaad on Twitter and use the hashtag #glaadawards. The GLAAD Media Awards recognise and honour media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the LGBT community and the issues that affect their lives. They also fund GLAAD’s work to amplify stories from the LGBT community that build support for equality. Each year, the GLAAD Media Awards in New York and Los Angeles bring together more than 3,000 advocates and allies to raise critical funds for the organisation’s work.
More than 100 corporate partners are showing their support, including National Presenting partners Ketel One Vodka, Wells Fargo and Hilton Worldwide; and New York and Los Angeles Presenting partners Delta Air Lines and Bud Light. GLAAD is also grateful to the 25th Annual GLAAD Media Awards Platinum Underwriter partners Sheppard Mullin and the Terry K. Watanabe Charitable Trust, Underwriter partners A&E Lifetime, Allstate Insurance Company, AT&T, Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, Comcast/NBC Universal, Prudential and PwC. Titanium Partners ABC-Disney Television Group, Fox Broadcasting Company and Time Warner. Gold partners 1800 Flowers, CBS/Showtime, ESPN, HBO, Skadden, Univision and the Wasserman Foundation, and Silver partners Citi and MLB. For a full list of corporate partners and information on how to become a corporate partner, purchase tickets, and place a tribute in the tribute book, please visit www.glaad.org/mediaawards.