The Vito Russo Award is presented to an openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality.
Cooper and Madonna are longtime friends who have both used their careers to raise support for LGBT people around the globe, organizers said in a news release.
“Madonna has been a passionate spokesperson and longtime supporter of gay rights. She has embraced LGBT people around the world on many occasions,” GLAAD President Herndon Graddick said in a statement.
“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.
“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,” the statement continued. “He continues to raise the bar and set a new standard for journalists everywhere, and I’m proud to call him a friend.”
CNN’s revered “Silver Fox” had declined to discuss his sexuality publicly until last July, when he granted permission to The Daily Beast’s Andrew Sullivan to publish an e-mail in which Cooper said he was gay.
Perennial pop performer Madonna has been a vocal advocate for LGBT causes. Last August, while on tour in Russia, she challenged a gay-pride ban in St Petersburg by distributing bracelets and speaking out at her show, prompting anti-gay activists to sue her for US$10.5 million. The lawsuit was subsequently thrown out.
Madonna also publicly supported New York’s Marriage Equality Act in 2011 and appeared on the “Ellen” show in 2010 to protest the bullying of gay teens. Her international initiatives have included urging Malawi to pardon a gay couple arrested in 2009 and convicted on indecency charges.
Madonna will make the March 16 presentation to Cooper at the New York Marriot Marquis. “Good Morning America” anchors Lara Spencer, Josh Elliott and Sam Champion are to be hosts of the ceremony.
Reprinted from Caribbean360