Kelly Ripa, Thomas Roberts honored at GLAAD awards in New York
When MSNBC news anchor Thomas Roberts was 15, he said, he attempted to kill himself.
“Because of the way film, media, TV shows talked about people like me, I knew I had to keep my sexuality a secret,” the anchor, who came out as gay in 2006, said in an emotional speech Saturday at the 26th annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York. “That’s sadly the way my mind worked then.”
The journalist, who received the Vito Russo Award, was among the 15 people honored at the LGBT media advocacy organization’s show, held at the Waldorf Astoria. Recipients were praised for the fair and accurate inclusion of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and the issues affecting their lives.
Roberts added that, eventually, “Deep-seated frustration converted itself into pride. I thought stereotypes should and can be broken.”
Kelly Ripa, who was given the Excellence in Media Award, said she was humbled by the honor.
“Quite frankly, I should be giving this award to all of you,” she said in her acceptance speech.
CNN reporter Anderson Cooper, who presented the award to Ripa, called the “Live With Kelly and Michael” host “smart, funny, honest and true.”
“She accelerates acceptance, she promotes equality by sharing inclusive stories with her audience and by loudly voicing support for her LGBT friends and fans,” Cooper said. “How many morning talk-show hosts have you heard gleefully recounting the Saturday night they spent dancing in a gay club? I cannot tell you how many times Kelly has talked about that on the air.”
GLAAD’s outstanding TV journalism segment went to MSNBC Live’s “Fired for Being Gay,” which followed the story of fired Latta, S.C., Police Chief Crystal Moore.
“It’s important to shine a light on the issues that need to be illuminated,” said Jeffrey Tambor, star of Amazon Instant Video’s “Transparent,” who presented Moore’s award. “And finally have people say things like, ‘You know, I know a little bit more and I can relate to this and this family is a lot like mine.’”
Moore accepted the award alongside MSNBC reporter Craig Melvin.
“I want to thank the people of my town,” Moore said in her speech. “They stood through thick and thin and backed me the whole time, so the town of Latta has created a new normal: Southerners that are proud to love and respect all people.”
Outstanding magazine overall coverage went to Sports Illustrated. The award was accepted by Jason Collins, the first openly gay male athlete in the four major pro sports; Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted to the NFL; and Chris Stone, the magazine’s managing editor.
“This honor is owed entirely to their courage, eloquence and their willingness to be voices and faces for an issue that the sports world has only begun to face and still not always well,” Stone said of Collins and Sam. “The honor, really, for Sports Illustrated, is to stand up here alongside the two of you and share our admiration and our gratitude.”
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