On the Scene at the 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards

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Zoe Saldana and Kerry Washington
Zoe Saldana and Kerry Washington

Photo Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images for GLAAD

Kerry Washington and Roland Emmerich were among the big winners at the 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards on Saturday night, a lavish ceremony recognizing and honoring media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the LGBT community and the issues that affect their lives.

At the ceremony, held at The Beverly Hilton, Ellen DeGeneres presented Washington with GLAAD’s Vanguard Award, which is presented to media professionals who, through their work, have increased the visibility and understanding of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi
Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi

Photo Credit: Getty Images for GLAAD In an acceptance speech that had the audience on their feet, the Scandal star said, “I don’t decide to play the characters I play as a political choice. Yet the characters I play often do become political statements. Because having your story told as a woman, as a person of color, as a lesbian, as a trans person, or as any member of any disenfranchised community, is sadly often still a radical idea. There is so much power in storytelling, and there is enormous power in inclusive storytelling, in inclusive representations. That is why the work of GLAAD is so important. We need more LGBT representation in the media. We need more LGBT characters and more LGBT storytelling. We need more diverse LGBT representation. And by that, I mean lots of different kinds of LGBT people living all different kinds of lives. And this is big—we need more employment of LGBT people in front of and behind the camera.” Washington continued, “We can’t say that we believe in each other’s fundamental humanity, and then turn a blind eye to the reality of each other’s existence, and the truth of each others’ hearts. We must be allies and we must be allies in this business, because to be represented is to be humanized, and as long as anyone anywhere is being made to feel less human, our very definition of humanity is at stake, and we are all vulnerable. We must see each other, all of us. And we must see ourselves, all of us. And we have to continue to be bold and break new ground until that is just how it is, until we are no longer ‘firsts’ and ‘exceptions’ and ‘rare’ and ‘unique.’ In the real world, being an ‘other’ is the norm. In the real world, the only norm is uniqueness, and our media must reflect that. Thank you GLAAD, for fighting the good fight.”

Also at the event, Channing Tatum presented director Emmerich with the Stephen F. Kolzak Award. In accepting the award Emmerich said, “I’m very honored and thankful to be here tonight to accept the Stephen F. Kolzak Award from GLAAD. GLAAD does so much to change our society by sharing stories about LGBT people, and to make everyone understand the value of our stories. So what is my story? I’m a director, I’m German, and I’m gay.”

Roland Emmerich and Channing Tatum
Roland Emmerich and Channing Tatum

Photo Credit: Getty Images for GLAADZoe Saldana presented the award for Outstanding Film – Wide Release to The Imitation Game. Academy Award-winning screenwriter Graham Moore and producer Ido Ostrowsky accepted the award on behalf of the film, and producer Harvey Weinstein recorded a video acceptance urging attendees in the ballroom to sign a Change.org petition calling on the British government to pardon the other 49,000 people convicted under the same unjust law as Alan Turing.

Laura Jane Grace, front woman for the punk band Against Me! and this year’s GLAAD Media Award recipient for Outstanding Music Artist, co-presented with Andrew Rannells the award for Outstanding Comedy Series to Amazon’s Transparent. Accepting for Transparent were show creator Jill Soloway, co-producer Rhys Ernst, and stars Amy Landecker, Jay Duplass, Alexandra Billings, Kiersey Clemons, Michaela Watkins, Alison Sudol, Clementine Creevy, and Brett Parasol. Murray Bartlett and Daniel Franzese from HBO’s Looking presented the award for Outstanding Drama Series to ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder. Show creator Peter Nowalk, executive producer Shonda Rhimes, and cast members Viola Davis, Jack Falahee, Matt McGorry, and Aja Naomi King accepted on behalf of the show.

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