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Taylor Swift, Janet Mock Are GLAAD's 2020 Celeb Honorees

GLAAD

Pop superstar Taylor Swift and writer/producer/director Janet Mock were named recipients of GLAAD's highest-profile awards, the media watchdog organization told The Advocate exclusively.

Swift will receive GLAAD's 2020 Vanguard Award and Mock the organization's Stephen F. Kolzak Award at a Los Angeles ceremony on April 16. The Vanguard Award honors celebrities who have made a "significant difference in promoting acceptance of LGBTQ people" and has been previously awarded to Beyoncé and JAY-Z, Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, Kerry Washington, Cher, Janet Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, Antonio Banderas, Demi Lovato, Whoopi Goldberg, and Patricia Arquette.

Mock's award is given to an LGBTQ media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting LGBTQ acceptance and is named after a Hollywood casting director who fought against homophobia and AIDS stigma before succumbing to the disease in 1990. Past recipients of the Kolzak Award include Sean Hayes, Laverne Cox, Melissa Etheridge, and Pedro Zamora.

In honoring Swift, GLAAD highlighted her activism, which includes donations to the Tennessee Equality Project, her advocacy for the LGBTQ-inclusive Equality Act, her pro-gay anthem and video, "You Need to Calm Down," and her endorsement of pro-LGBTQ politicians in her native Tennessee.

(RELATED: Fox & Friends Shreds Taylor Swift for Supporting LGBTQ People at VMAs) 

"I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG," Swift wrote in 2018 about anti-LGBTQ Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn (who was ultimately elected). "I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent. I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love."

"From boldly standing up against anti-LGBTQ elected officials to shining attention on the urgent need to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination through the Equality Act, Taylor Swift proudly uses her unique ability to influence pop culture to promote LGBTQ acceptance," GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement. "In a time of political and cultural division, Taylor creates music that unites and calls on her massive fan following to speak up and call for change."

Meanwhile, Mock has long pushed for more accurate representation of transgender people in the media, a major goal of GLAAD's. Now acclaimed for her work writing, producing, and directing FX's critically-acclaimed Pose series, Mock got her start in journalism, working as an editor at People.com and publishing two books about her experiences as a trans woman. Mock recently signed a three-year deal at Netflix, where she will develop programs that center queer people of color.

"Janet Mock is a trailblazing force for diverse and inclusive storytelling who has raised the bar for LGBTQ representation in Hollywood," Ellis said. "She tells stories that need to be told, including those of transgender people and people of color, in revolutionary and eye-opening ways that inspire and enrich. Her passion for inclusive storytelling, combined with her undeniable talents in writing, directing, and producing, will continue to create a Hollywood where voices and stories that have been left out of the conversation are placed front and center where they belong."

GLAAD will announce the remainder of its nominees for the 31st GLAAD Media Awards on Wednesday.

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