A representative of gay advocacy group GLAAD confirms that Madonna has been chosen to present CNN's host Anderson Cooper with the Vito Russo Award at the 24th annual GLAAD Media Awards. This award, named after the legendary HIV/AIDS activist and author of the book "The Celluloid Closet" Vito Russo, is annually given to openly gay, lesbian, or transgender media figure who has great contribution in promoting equality, and Cooper is deemed qualified to receive the prize this year.
The specific pick of Madonna to deliver the award does not go without reason. GLAAD President Herndon Graddick says that Madonna is perfect to take the duty because she and Cooper are longtime friends who have actively shown their support for lesbian, gay and transgender people in their careers. "Madonna has been a passionate spokesperson and longtime supporter of gay rights. She has embraced LGBT people around the world on many occasions," says Graddick. "From speaking out against bullying to raising support for marriage equality, Madonna has always been one of our community's strongest allies. We are honored to have her stand with GLAAD and Anderson Cooper."
This event will mark the first appearance of Cooper, 45, in an LGBT event since he confessed about his sexual orientation last July 2012. He revealed to The Daily Beast's Andrew Sullivan that he was a gay for the first time through an e-mail. He wrote, "The fact is, I'm gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn't be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud."
This honest and brave statement of Cooper seems to be the best reason why he deserves to win the Vito Russo Award this year. Graddick says, "By sharing his own experiences as a gay man, Anderson has reminded millions of Americans that LGBT people are part of their everyday lives and an integral part of our cultural fabric. He continues to raise the bar and set a new standard for journalists everywhere, and I'm proud to call him a friend."
The award ceremony, to be hosted by the anchors of "Good Morning America", Lara Spencer, Josh Elliott and Sam Champion, will take place on March 16 in New York City.