The 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards played host to several Hollywood A-Listers who showed up in support of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transexual community April 20 in Los Angeles.
The GLAAD Media Awards are an annual event hosted by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
The event was hosted by actress Drew Barrymore, who presented an honorary “Advocate for Change” award to former President Bill Clinton, and said it is time for equal rights for everyone.
“At the end of the day, there is never too much love,” Barrymore said before the award ceremony began.
Many see support from influential figures, like notable actors and politicians, as a step toward a more equal future.
Taylor Michiels, a junior finance major, said he is happy to see these figures supporting gay rights.
“It’s nice to see celebrities with influence supporting marriage equality,” Michiels said. “They can potentially change the views of others who look up to them.”
Celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence, Betty White and Leonardo DiCaprio attended to show support for the LGBT community and present awards for films like “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” which won “Outstanding Film—Wide Release,” and television shows like “The New Normal,” which won “Outstanding Comedy Series.”
Michiels, who is also the newly elected president of Tech’s gay-straight alliance organization, Prism, also said he is happy to see how gay people are being represented on television.
“New shows like ‘The New Normal’ show gay people as normal people,” he said. “Unlike other shows like ‘Will & Grace’ or ‘Queer as Folk,’ where Jack was overly flamboyant or all they talked about was sex.”
Others believe people with influence should use it to focus on issues other than marriage equality.
Shawn Trivette, an openly gay assistant professor of sociology at Tech, said though he is pleased to see influential figures come out in support of gay marriage, there is more to be done for gay rights than marriage.
“Marriage is just a single issue of a bigger picture,” Trivette said. “I would like to see them address bullying, suicide and HIV.”
Trivette said he does not watch many of the new television shows featuring gay couples, but said “The New Normal” is his guilty pleasure.
“It gives the opportunity to explore queer life not seen in the media,” he said.
Trivette said it is great that the younger generation has these role models like Lady Gaga, a prominent supporter of the LGBT community, to look up to and they need more.
Not only are gay people excited about the growing popularity of equality, but many straight people are happy at the thought of seeing their gay friends treated equally.
Mary Frances Quinn, a senior psychology student, said, as a straight woman, she is glad to see her gay friends treated equally.
“It’s great to see those who have power, like the president, influence others to support marriage equality,” Quinn said. “It’s hard to see my friends who want to get married or have a family one day be told by the government it is illegal.”
While the younger generation is more easily swayed, Michiels said the older generation is too set in their ways.
“Even if it’s just the younger generation who supports us, it means a lot to the community,” Michiels said.
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