announced for 17th annual GLAAD Media Awards

The Gay and
Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation announced Wednesday the
principal honorees for the 17th annual GLAAD Media Awards:
photographer David LaChapelle, actress Charlize
Theron, musician Melissa Etheridge, and People en
editor Richard Pérez-Feria.

The awards will
be handed out in four ceremonies: New York City on
March 27, Los Angeles on April 8, Miami on May 25, and San
Francisco on June 10.

At the New York
ceremony, photographer and director David LaChapelle will
receive the Vito Russo Award, presented to an openly LGBT
media professional who has helped promote queer
rights. According to a statement from GLAAD,
LaChapelle is being recognized for donating his works
to raise money for LGBT organizations and AIDS research.

In Los Angeles,
actress Charlize Theron will receive the Vanguard Award
for “increasing the visibility and understanding of
the [LGBT] community.” Besides being singled
out for her Academy Award–winning portrayal of
serial killer Aileen Wuornos in the 2003 film
Monster, Theron apparently became a shoo-in for
the award after telling Extra that she and
partner Stuart Townsend would not get married until gays and
lesbians had equal marriage rights.

Also in Los
Angeles, Grammy-winning rocker Melissa Etheridge, who
credited partner Tammy Lynn Michaels for helping her
overcome breast cancer, will receive the Stephen F.
Kolzak Award. Named after a successful casting
director who fought against homophobia in Hollywood,
the award is “presented to an openly [LGBT] media
professional who has made a significant difference in
promoting equal rights for our community.”

And in New York,
People en Español editor Richard
Pérez-Feria will receive the Visibilidad Award for his
work as an openly gay Spanish-language media
professional. GLAAD noted his “positive
coverage of LGBT issues in the Latino community,”
including the addition of gay celebrities in the
magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People”

“In their
work, in their visibility, and in their unrelenting
commitment to fairness, Charlize, Melissa, David, and
Richard have made a powerful impact on our
culture’s understanding and acceptance of gay,
lesbian, bisexual, and transgender lives,” said
GLAAD president Neil G. Giuliano in the statement.
Additional honorees for New York, Miami, and San
Francisco have yet to be announced.

The GLAAD Media
Awards will be televised April 15 on Logo and April
16 on VH1. For a complete list of nominees, visit www.glaad.org/mediaawards.

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