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GLAAD honoring Ricky Martin and Kristin Chenoweth

By Greg Hernandez

HollywoodNews.com: If you forget about the year when Jennifer Aniston was inexplicably honored, the GLAAD Media Awards usually get it right when it comes time to celebrating the LGBT community and its allies.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) today announced it will honor Grammy Award-winning singer Ricky Martin and Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth at the 22nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards.

Martin will receive the Vito Russo Award at the New York award ceremony on Saturday, March, 19 at the Marriott Marquis Times Square. Chenoweth will receive the Vanguard Award at the Los Angeles event on Sunday, April 10, 2011 at the Westin Bonaventure.

GLAAD also announced that Andy Cohen, Bravo’s Executive Vice President of Original Programming and host of ‘Watch What Happens: Live’ will host the New York event. Additional honorees and special guests will be announced soon.

Nominees for the 22nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards were announced last month and are available here. The awards recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and the issues that affect their lives.

Martin will receive the Vito Russo Award, which is named after one of GLAAD’s founders, and is presented to an openly LGBT media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equal rights for our community.

Previous Vito Russo Award honorees include Cynthia Nixon, Suze Orman, Rosie O’Donnell, Alan Cumming, Nathan Lane, Elton John, Liz Smith, k.d. lang, David LaChapelle, Brian Graden, and Tom Ford.

“Ricky coming out was a game changer for many gay and transgender Latino children, who for too long, did not have many out gay people to look up to,” said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. “Through his music, videos and interviews, Ricky has sent an important message that our community wants the same things all people do: an equal chance to raise our families and take care of our loved ones.”

Chenoweth will receive the Vanguard Award which is presented to media professionals who have increased the visibility and understanding of the LGBT community.

In May 2010, Chenoweth responded to a controversial ‘Newsweek’ article which incorrectly asserted that gay actors ‘cannot play straight roles.’ She defended gay actors including Sean Hayes, her co-star in ‘Promises, Promises,’ and called on ‘Newsweek’ to “embrace stories which promote acceptance, love and unity.”

Chenoweth has demonstrated her devotion to LGBT equality by participating in the National Equality March in October 2009, speaking at the LGBT Community Center of New York as well as supporting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and GLSEN. She has also been honored with the Point Courage Award by the Point Foundation.

Past recipients of the Vanguard Award include Drew Barrymore, Charlize Theron, Antonio Banderas, Sharon Stone, Eric McCormack, Elizabeth Taylor, Liza Minnelli, Kathy Griffin and Whoopi Goldberg.

“When allies like Kristin take such powerful stands against anti-gay sentiments in the media, it sends an important message of equality,” said Barrios. “It is a privilege to honor such a talented and conscientious advocate for fairness towards the LGBT community.”

To read more from this article go to Greg In Hollywood.

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