August 19, 2014

NBC Entertainment’s ROBERT GREENBLATT to receive Chairman’s Award;

Dancing with the Stars’ DEREK HOUGH to be honored with Inspiration Award

 

Los Angeles – GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network), the nation’s leading education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students, today announced honorees for its upcoming GLSEN Respect Awards - Los Angeles event to be held Friday, Oct. 17, at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

 

“We are thrilled to announce the honorees for the 2014 GLSEN Respect Awards - Los Angeles, which has become one of the city’s premier events thanks to a deep commitment from our partners in the entertainment industry to help GLSEN realize our vision of a world where every child learns to respect and accept all people," said GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard. "We are proud to recognize Danny Moder & Julia Roberts, whose inspiring work on HBO’s The Normal Heart has brought renewed attention to an important moment – and an on-going crisis – in LGBT and American history; Robert Greenblatt, who, as the only gay broadcast television chairman, is a role model for LGBT youth; and Derek Hough, who has brought the same grace he displays on Dancing with the Stars to his efforts to fight bullying.”

 

Danny Moder & Julia Roberts will receive the Humanitarian Award for their commitment to, and support of, numerous philanthropic endeavors and humanitarian causes, including GLSEN, UNICEF, Heal the Bay, Stand Up To Cancer, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, and many others. They bring a sense of stewardship, responsibility and consciousness to their humanitarian efforts and serve as wonderful role models. Both Danny and Julia are current Emmy Award nominees for their important work (he as Director of Photography, she as Supporting Actress) on the powerful HBO movie, The Normal Heart, which depicts the early days of the AIDS epidemic in New York City.

 

This year’s Chairman’s Award will be presented to Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC Entertainment. For more than two decades, Bob’s career as an award-winning producer and executive have brought us memorable and critically-acclaimed programming, including many characters and storylines that have been groundbreaking for the LGBTQ community. During his tenure at Fox Broadcasting in the 1990s, he was behind such iconic shows as The X- Files, Melrose Place, Party of Five, Ally McBeal, and King of the Hill. While there, he also developed the pilots of The Sopranos and Dawson’s Creek. As President of Entertainment at Showtime, Bob elevated that pay TV network to HBO standards by shepherding a number of popular and award-winning hits, including The L Word, Dexter, Weeds, Nurse Jackie, Californication, The Big C, Shameless and The Tudors.

 

Now at NBC, Bob has guided the venerable network back to #1 after 10 years of languishing in last place. NBC has its own important legacy of putting marginalized and under-served diverse communities on television; a tradition that continues with shows such as The Voice, The Blacklist, Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D, About A Boy, Grimm, Parenthood, Smash, The Sound of Music Live!, and many others. Bob has also executive produced over a dozen series, including one of HBO’s most popular shows of all time, Six Feet Under. That show, which featured a committed gay relationship at its core, won him a Golden Globe Award, a Peabody, The Producer’s Guild Award, and the GLAAD award. On Broadway, he is the producer of this year’s most award-winning musical A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder, for which he won the Tony, the Drama Desk, the Outer Critics Circle, and the Drama League awards for Best Musical. He also produced the Tony-nominated musical adaptation of the film 9 To 5, which starred Allison Janney and featured a score by Dolly Parton.  

 

Emmy Award-winning and New York Times Best-Selling author Derek Hough, choreographer and the only-five time dancing champion on the hit ABC series Dancing with the Stars, will receive this year’s Inspiration Award. Not afraid to use his craft to give voice to those less fortunate, Derek’s new book, Taking the Lead: Lessons From a Life in Motion, epitomizes GLSEN’s commitment to storytelling and serves as a testament to the power of a strong work ethic, dedication to one’s craft, and a spirit of perseverance. His bravery in speaking out against bullying through the lens of personal experience has positioned him as an invaluable advocate and ally for youth.

 

GLSEN will also be presenting the Student Advocate of the Year Award. The nomination process is currently underway and an honoree will be announced soon.

 

With a deep belief that all students deserve a safe and affirming school environment where they can learn and grow, GLSEN has led the way on LGBT issues in K-12 education since 1990. Through pioneering original research, innovative program development, student leadership development, community organizing, and targeted state and federal advocacy, GLSEN has seen the impact of its work through the development of educational resources, direct engagement of youth and educators, and national programs like GLSEN’s Day of Silence (the country’s largest student-led event), No Name-Calling Week, Changing the Game and Think B4 You Speak. GLSEN programs and resources have been used in tens of thousands of classrooms and educational communities across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

 

The GLSEN Respect Awards, introduced in 2004 and held annually in Los Angeles and New York, showcase the work of corporations, individuals, students and educators who have made a significant difference in the areas of diversity, inclusion and the Safe Schools movement, and who serve as exemplary role models. 

 

Previous GLSEN Respect Awards honorees have included: Jeffery and Marilyn Katzenberg; Bob and Harvey Weinstein; NBA player Jason Collins; MTV, accepted by CEO Judy McGrath; Disney-ABC Television, accepted by President Anne Sweeney; HBO, accepted by CEO Michael Lombardo; Darren Star; Shonda Rhimes; Michele and Rob Reiner; Andrew Tobias; the Honorable Richard Gephardt and his daughter, Chrissy; John Mack, CEO of Morgan Stanley; NBA executive Rick Welts; the National Education Association; Todd Spiewak and Jim Parsons; and Simon Halls and Matt Bomer, as well as student leaders and educators from around the country.

 

Honorary co-chairs for this year’s event are Marilyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Todd Spiewak and Jim Parsons. The event is co-hosted by: Greg Berlanti and Robbie Rogers; Brad Bessey and Frank Sanchez; Kevin Brockman and Dan Berendsen; Jess Cagle; Donald De Line; Simon Halls and Matt Bomer; Patrick M. Herning; Dave Karger; Deena Katz; Kathy Kloves; George Kotsiopoulos and Kevin Williamso­n; Michael Lombardo and Sonny Ward; Carlos Lopez; Julia Sorkin; and Chip Sullivan.

 

For more information about the GLSEN Respect Awards – Los Angeles, please visit our event website. To purchase tickets and to donate to the event, please visit www.glsen.org/respectlatickets.

About GLSEN
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For information on GLSEN's research, educational resources, policy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.

 

July 01, 2013

Happy (day after) Pride!

Dozens of staff, chapter leaders, student leaders, friends and even a few of our youngest supporters joined GLSEN's contingent yesterday at the New York City Pride March. We proudly chanted for safer and more affirming schools as we walked down 5th Avenue and Christopher Street with our partners It Gets Better, The Point Foundation and Wells Fargo. Thanks to all who cheered us on. Check out the slideshow to see just how fun and inspiring the trek through the heart of NYC can be. 

March 22, 2012

Later this week, I will again have the privilege of traveling with GLSEN student leaders to Washington D.C. for our annual Safe Schools Advocacy Summit (SSAS). At SSAS, students learn about the legislative process, current legislative initiatives and participate in a variety of team building exercises and leadership workshops.

But most importantly, they have the opportunity to meet with elected officials and discuss the vital need for strong safe schools legislation — like the Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA).

Join me and support these brave students today!

Daryl, Tonei, and Rep Young at SSASI have seen firsthand the powerful difference these meetings can make — how a student’s story can move a vote from the no column to the yes. Here is what I witnessed in the office of Representative Don Young (R-AK).

In 2008, I accompanied Tonei Glavinic, a student from Anchorage, Alaska, to a meeting with Rep. Young, a conservative Congressman from a conservative state. Tonei talked about what school was like, about being bullied and how most students are not fortunate enough to attend a school where LGBT youth are accepted. Tonei spoke with such intensity and conviction that you could hear a pin drop in the room.

Tonei then asked Rep. Young for his vote on SSIA. Young took a long pause, leaned back in his chair (he would later tell us he was thinking back to when he was bullied in school) and then spoke a resounding Yes!  And to this day, Rep. Young remains a proud Republican co-sponsor of SSIA.

It is because of the support of donors to GLSEN that stories like Tonei’s are even possible.

The time I spent with Tonei that day reaffirmed my belief that students can — and do — create powerful change in their own lives if given the opportunity.

With your support today, we can continue to give students the chance to make that impact and make schools safer and more secure for all students.

October 05, 2011

>The Ventura County District Attorney's Office has decided to retry Brandon McInerney for the murder of 15-year-old Lawrence "Larry" King at E.O. Green Junior High in 2008. McInterney was 14 when he killed his classmate because of Larry's sexual orientation and gender expression.

The first trial against McInerney ended in a mistrial when the jury couldn't agree on whether to convict Brandon of manslaughter, second-degree murder or first-degree murder. The defense does not dispute that Brandon pulled the trigger.

The Los Angeles Times quoted GLSEN Executive Director this morning in a story written before the retrial decision was announced.

GLSEN had hoped to the two sides could agree on a plea deal to avoid another painful trial.

July 29, 2011

>

Nearly 100 supporters attended an event last weekend on Fire Island to support Changing the Game: The GLSEN Sports Project, a new GLSEN initiative to make K-12 sports and physical education safe and inclusive for all regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Luckily, the pool kept most of those in attendance cool amid 100-degree temperatures.

Changing the Game: The GLSEN Sports Project is an education and advocacy initiative focused on addressing LGBT issues in K-12 school-based athletic and physical education programs. The GLSEN Sport Project’s mission is to assist K-12 schools in creating and maintaining an athletic and physical education climate that is based on the core principles of respect, safety and equal access for all students, teachers and coaches regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression and integrating these efforts into overall school plans to ensure a safe, respectful school climate and culture. With your help, we are making team sports and locker rooms safer places for students.

We are extremely grateful to Changing the Game Advisory Group members Hudson Taylor and Wade Davis for sharing their personal stories at the event. We would also like to thank Cliff Richner for opening his beautiful home to all of us, and to all of the GLSEN volunteer leadership who lent their insight and time to pulling off this amazing event.

March 28, 2011

> A message from GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard (left, in photo) on the eve of lobby day at our Safe Schools Advocacy Summit in DC. For more on #SSAS, follow @glsen on Twitter. For more insight and commentary on the Safe Schools Movement, follow Eliza on Twitter @EByard.

I've just spent the day in DC with GLSEN staff, country music singer and author Chely Wright and a terrific delegation that will have more than *90* meetings on the Hill tomorrow to tell their stories and garner support for critical legislative progress in the form of the Safe Schools Improvement Act and Student Non-Discrimination Act.

As has become an annual tradition, Mara Keisling, founding Exective Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality (hugging Eliza in photo), addressed the group at dinner, bringing humorous perspective to the work ahead. (For those who have never heard Mara speak, ask someone to tell you the "chifferobe story." Classic legislative lobbying humor.) By the end of a long day of training, the delegation is well-prepared and generally needs a little laughter to help them remember that their most important task - to speak honestly from their own experience - is well within their grasp.

Our work is to bring individuals with stories to tell into contact with the people who need to hear them, and to prepare those folks to make the most of the moment. And with a delegation trained and a record number of meetings secured - most with key committee members - I'm very proud of the work that the team has done and of the remarkable people who have chosen to work with us this year.

March 10, 2011

Dear GLSEN Friends,

This morning I am headed to the White House Conference on Bullying Prevention with a remarkable GLSEN delegation and alongside allies and friends from around the country.

Last night our delegation had dinner with Joel Burns, City Councilman from Fort Worth, Texas, whose story, shared at a City Council meeting and in an It Gets Better video, has now reached three million people worldwide. Today we will see representatives of all of our most important organizational allies at the White House - the unions, the professional associations, organizations advocating for all of the communities so deeply affected by bullying.

We have all been summoned to discuss how best to respond to the public health crisis of bullying. GLSEN's job, and that of our allies and friends, is to ensure that the coordinated response that emerges truly helps all those who suffer because of anti-LGBT bias and behavior in our schools. We want to be sure that the anti-bullying "moment" of the past nine months results in action that benefits all students, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity or gender expression.

I hope to be able to send updates out at some points during the day from my Twitter account and GLSEN's, and will report back to you all afterwards. For the moment, thank you for all of the hard work and critical support that brought GLSEN to the gates of the White House this morning.

Warmest regards,

Eliza Byard,
GLSEN Executive Director
@EByard

March 01, 2011

>Crossposted at blog.dayofsilence.org.

The Rev. Peter Gomes, an openly gay American Baptist minister and theologian at Harvard University’s Divinity School, passed away Monday at the age of 68. Gomes, whom GLSEN honored as a Black History Month hero last month, was a strong advocate for wider acceptance of LGBT people in America.

Said GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard, who met Rev. Gomes while working on the award-winning documentary Out of the Past, which Dr. Byard co-produced:

"I am deeply saddened to hear of Reverend Gomes' passing. Reverend Gomes is featured in Out of the Past, discussing Michael Wigglesworth, a 17th century minister, author and Harvard professor whose Day of Doom was a bestseller of the time. Reverend Gomes brought his trademark mix of thoughtful gravitas and wry humor to the interview, and his dramatic reading of selections from the Day of Doom has always been one of my favorite parts of the film. I was also privileged to hear him preach on several occasions.

"His death is a loss for all of us who value respect and have an appreciation for difference."

March 01, 2011

>Cross-posted at blog.glsen.org.

The Rev. Peter Gomes, an openly gay American Baptist minister and theologian at Harvard University’s Divinity School, passed away Monday at the age of 68. Gomes, whom GLSEN honored as a Black History Month hero last month, was a strong advocate for wider acceptance of LGBT people in America.

Said GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard, who met Rev. Gomes while working on the award-winning documentary Out of the Past, which Dr. Byard co-produced:

"I am deeply saddened to hear of Reverend Gomes' passing. Reverend Gomes is featured in Out of the Past, discussing Michael Wigglesworth, a 17th century minister, author and Harvard professor whose Day of Doom was a bestseller of the time. Reverend Gomes brought his trademark mix of thoughtful gravitas and wry humor to the interview, and his dramatic reading of selections from the Day of Doom has always been one of my favorite parts of the film.

"I was also privileged to hear him preach on several occasions. His death is a loss for all of us who value respect and have an appreciation for difference."

February 01, 2011

>When I got the news this morning, I wasn’t sure if I was still dreaming: it appears that GLSEN has finished in second place in the Pepsi Refresh voting, winning $250,000 in support of our Safe Space Campaign. The official announcement of the results won’t take place until Feb. 23, but it looks as if we’ve done it.

Whatever the final results, I feel like GLSEN has already received something priceless – the outpouring of support from individuals and organizations standing with us in the last few days of the contest, generating a flood of votes that put us over the top. Our friends at The Progressive Slate, the coalition we joined as the voting started, were amazed by the GLSEN groundswell in the final days. It is really humbling, and my colleagues and I are so grateful.

This funding is going to a truly critical effort to make schools more welcoming places for LGBT students and any student dealing with anti-LGBT bias. The Safe Space Kits at the heart of our campaign make it possible for school staff to be visible as a source of support by putting up a Safe Space sticker or poster, and active as an agent of change by reaching out to their colleagues to discuss how the school community can come together to be truly safe and supportive for all students. Research has consistently demonstrated that supportive adults in a school community are crucial for a student’s well-being and success, and this funding will help promote adult support for LGBT students in 10,000 schools across the country.

I have to thank a lot of people and organizations in particular for their help: Chely Wright, spokesperson for the campaign and GLSEN’s great friend; Scott Zumwalt, Brian Pines, Thomas Gensemer and all our friends at It Gets Better; Gregory Lewis at True Colors Fund/Give a Damn Campaign, and Cyndi Lauper for her individual support as well; Cathy Nelson and Lindsey Twombly at HRC for getting the word out far and wide; The Trevor Project; American Foundation for Suicide Prevention; the ACLU LGBT & AIDS Project; GLAAD; America’s Promise Alliance; the Ad Council; Anti-Violence Project; Joe Wilson and Out in the Silence; Eva Kolodner and the staff of the IRC; Eidolon Communications; Andrew Oldershaw and Fifteen Minutes; Fab.com; Hilary Duff; Perez Hilton; Kristin Chenoweth; Wilson Cruz; Jeri Ryan; Ben Cohen; Krisily Kennedy; Sara Rue; Del Shores; Larry Flick from Sirius Out Q The Morning Jolt; John Aravosis and Joe Sudbay at Americablog and Americablog Gay; Joe Jervis from Joe.My.God; DiversityInc; The Advocate; Out Magazine; Employee Resource Groups at all of our corporate partners but in particular FOX and Sodexo; our volunteer leadership bodies; GLSEN Chapters and student leaders; and Pepsi for the opportunity. And, of course, all of the thousands of individuals who actually turned out to vote and shared and tweeted with all their friends. I cannot thank you all – and all of the people and organizations I’m forgetting – enough.

I congratulate all our friends on The Progressive Slate – GLAD, Equality PA, PROMO Fund, Beth Meyer, Energy Action Coalition, JustGive.org, Netroots Nation, New Leaders Council, and Uncommon Good – and the Center for Progressive Leadership for organizing the coalition. A lot of critical support is going to very important causes from this round of funding. And we seem to have won one of the top prizes – fingers crossed. We could not have done this without the incredible support of so many, from so many different communities. My heart is full, and I thank you all so much.
Eliza Byard, GLSEN Executive Director

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