Celebrities

Television’s Past Meets Its Present at GLSEN Respect Awards

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Some of the biggest names in television’s past and present were among the celebrities to turn out for the GLSEN Respect Awards at the Beverly Wilshire, from 18-year-old honoree Yara Shahidi (“Black-ish,” “Grown-ish”) to Ellen Pompeo (“Grey’s Anatomy”) and the entire cast and creators of “Will & Grace,” to legendary actress Joan Collins (“Dynasty”) and writer-producer Norman Lear (“All in the Family,” “The Jeffersons,” “One Day at a Time”).

Yara Shahidi with legendary show creator Norman Lear.

Yara Shahidi with legendary show creator Norman Lear.

In accepting the award for her efforts to empower young people through education, Shahidi said that she wants all children to have the opportunity to learn. Among the work she’s done was the creation of Yara’s Club, in conjunction with the Young Women’s Leadership Network, to provide online mentorships in the hope of ending poverty through education, and for her work with the Let Girls Learn initiative, started by Michelle Obama (since discontinued under the current administration).

Joan Collins at GLSEN

Joan Collins at GLSEN

Other honorees included “Will & Grace” creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan (click the video above to hear their interview with Goweho.com), along with Ellen Pompeo and Twentieth Century Fox Film.

The GLSEN Respect Awards “showcase the work of students, educators, individuals and corporations who have made a significant impact” on the lives of LGBTQ youth.

At the start of the ceremony, GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard announced that the organization had “already broken all fundraising records,” and credited event co-chairs Greg Berlanti and Robbie Rogers with a $1 million donation.

Marilyn & Jeffrey Katzenberg

Marilyn & Jeffrey Katzenberg

But that statement was followed by a warning about the increasing vulnerability of LGBTQ students in today’s environment, which honorees Mutchnick and Kohan also referred to in the interview with goweho.com (click the video above), stating that the world is even more challenging than during the initial run of “Will & Grace.”

Since 2004, the GLSEN Respect Awards have been held annually in Los Angeles and New York to recognize the work of students, educators, individuals and corporations who serve as role models and make a difference in the lives of LGBTQ youth.

For more about the work of GLSEN click here.

Journalist Laurie Schenden covers the entertainment industry, with many of her notable celebrity interviews appearing in the Los Angeles Times and other national and international publications. As a longtime columnist and feature writer for the LA Times, she also covered events and California destinations for the lifestyle, Outdoors and Travel sections. Laurie Schenden's international pieces include the long-running Where Are They Now celebrity feature for Spotlight Magazine, published in five languages. Laurie has also contributed to numerous documentary films, and is currently producing a documentary for her own company, Saving Grace Films.

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