By Trudy Ring
Originally published on Advocate.com September 04 2012 5:56 PM ET
Out actor and activist Wilson Cruz has joined the staff of GLAAD as chief giving officer, helping to raise funds for the media watchdog group’s work.
“For more than two decades GLAAD has combated anti-LGBT images in the media and changed the national conversation about LGBT people,” Cruz said in a press release announcing his appointment. “Today, GLAAD is also using its media expertise to create a culture that is accepting and safe for all young people. From Spanish-language media to sports, Hollywood to the newsroom, GLAAD shares the stories and sparks the discussions that make the world a better place for LGBT people everywhere. I am proud and excited to grow this culture-changing work. ”
GLAAD president Herndon Graddick added, “Throughout his career, Wilson Cruz has been a strong advocate for LGBT Americans. His work in film and television, as well as his commitment to supporting local and national LGBT organizations exemplifies GLAAD’s mission to move LGBT equality forward.”
Cruz has long been involved with GLAAD (formerly the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) and other LGBT organizations. The actor, who played gay teen Rickie Vasquez on the 1990s series My So-called Life, accepted a GLAAD Media Award on behalf of the show in 1995. He joined GLAAD’s board of directors in 1997 and received the group’s Visibilidad Award in 2008. He has served as a host of the GLAAD Awards and on panels that finalize the recipients.
He also has been a board member for the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, and for the past two years he cochaired its annual Respect Awards. In addition, he has been a field organizer for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and a volunteer with the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center.
Cruz will continue his acting career as well. Besides My So-called Life, his credits include the TV series Party of Five, Noah’s Arc, ER, Ally McBeal, The West Wing, Grey’s Anatomy, and NCIS; the films Nixon, Party Monster, and He’s Just Not That Into You; and the Broadway musical Rent.