GLAAD Award Nominees Announced

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) announced its special honorees for the 10th Anniversary GLAAD Media Awards Feb. 2, which include RuPaul, Armistead Maupin, and Melissa Etheridge & Julie Cypher. The Media Awards will take place in three ceremonies to be held in New York City on Sunday, March 28 at the New York Hilton Towers, in Los Angeles on Saturday, April 17 at the Century Plaza Hotel and Towers, and in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, May 8 at the JW Marriott.

At the March 28 New York City ceremony, GLAAD will honor drag diva RuPaul with the Vito Russo Award. The award is presented to an openly lesbian or gay individual who has achieved excellence in a specific area of media and has furthered the visibility and understanding of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community through his/her work. It is named in honor of one of GLAAD's New York founders Vito Russo, author of The Celluloid Closet. RuPaul is an internationally recognized recording star, former talk show host, author and actor. For the past four years, RuPaul has acted as Co-Chair of the M*A*C AIDS Fund, which has raised over $15 million for AIDS charities to date.

On April 17, in Los Angeles, Melissa Etheridge and Julie Cypher will accept GLAAD's Stephen F. Kolzak Award, which is presented to openly lesbian or gay individuals in the media for outstanding contribution in combating homophobia. Stephen F. Kolzak was a highly successful Los Angeles casting director who devoted the last part of his life to fighting AIDS-phobia and homophobia within the entertainment industry. A couple for more than ten years, rock musician Etheridge and director/producer Cypher have been one of the entertainment industry's most visible lesbian couples and parents, recently featured on 20/20.

At the Washington, D.C. ceremony on May 8, GLAAD will honor author Armistead Maupin with the Capital Award. The award is given to an openly lesbian or gay individual who has achieved excellence in a specific area of media and furthered the visibility and inclusion of the community through his/her work. The openly gay author is best known for his lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender inclusive, best-selling Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City series, which has been made into two mini-series by PBS and Showtime.

"These incredible honorees exemplify the powerful impact lesbians and gay men have on society through their talent," said Joan M. Garry, GLAAD Executive Director. "RuPaul, Armistead, Melissa and Julie are living their lives openly and honestly-setting an example for others. Their refreshing candor about who they are reflects brightly and positively on the lesbian and gay community as a whole."

Celebrating their 10th Anniversary, the GLAAD Media Awards were created to honor individuals and projects in the media and entertainment industries for their balanced and accurate representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and the issues that affect their lives. Over 100 corporate sponsors are expected, with Absolut Vodka the Platinum Underwriter of the events. Anheuser Busch, AT, David Bohnett, Coors Brewing Company, Phil Donahue & Marlo Thomas, The Gill Foundation, Mediapolis, The Michael Palm Foundation, Pacific Bell and Wells Fargo are also major sponsors of the events. American Airlines is participating as GLAAD's official airline.

Founded in 1985, GLAAD effectively mobilizes public response to media coverage and educates media professionals on the community's issues and concerns. GLAAD has offices in Atlanta, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C..

For further information and to purchase tickets please contact Levy, Pazanti & Associates at (888) 655-6529 or (310) 201-5033. General event and ticket information can also be found at http://www.glaad.org. The Media Awards CyberAuction can also be accessed through GLAAD Online. A signed Melissa Etheridge guitar and walk-on roles for both Frasier and Will & Grace are available.

GLAAD is the nation's lesbian and gay media advocacy organization, promoting fair, accurate and inclusive representation of individuals and events in all media as a means of combating homophobia and all forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity.

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