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NEW YORK, NY - MAY 15: Former Second Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden speaks onstage during the 2017 GLSEN Respect Awards on May 15, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for GLSEN)

The 2017 GLSEN Respect Awards took place this past Monday night at Cipriani’s on 42nd street.  GLSEN is the leading education organization creating safe and inclusive schools for all students. GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.  This is an incredibly important organization for me and so many others who identify as LGBTQ, and I was absolutely honored to cover it.

GLSEN
NEW YORK, NY – MAY 15: Nicholas D’Ambrosio, Dr. Eliza Byard, Kimberly Mooney and the 2017 GLSEN GSA of the Year Students attend the 2017 GLSEN Respect Awards on May 15, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for GLSEN)

GLSEN has gone above and beyond what they have done to ensure that each and every student has a safe space from kindergarten all the way to senior year.  Their marked improvements over the years include the increased numbers of GSA’s (Gay-Straight Alliances) in thousands of schools across the nation, and so many other valuable things to ensure the safety of these children.  This played a big part in the night’s ceremonies.

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 15: Former Second Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden attend the 2017 GLSEN Respect Awards on May 15, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for GLSEN)

One of the honorees was Dr. Jill Biden, who made an incredibly passionate speech about her support for this cause and was happy to preserve the Biden legacy within this.

GLSEN
NEW YORK, NY – MAY 15: Actress Carla Gugino speaks onstage during the 2017 GLSEN Respect Awards on May 15, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for GLSEN)

One of the other honorees was actress Carla Gugino, who fellow actor Zachary Quinto presented her with the GLSEN Inspiration Award.  I spoke to Carla on the red carpet about this recognition, to which she said “I feel so humbled by it, and I don’t know that I feel worthy of it other than to say that, in any way that I can help bring attention to it will helps others in the process.  I think the key in life is to be as true to ourselves as possible.  And by doing that, we give way for other people to do so, and the more people who do that, the better world we will live in.”

GLSEN’s Executive Director Dr. Eliza Byard had a surprising moment when she was honored for her 15 years of work within the organization.  This included a touching video tribute from her wife, friends and colleagues that stood out as one of the best moments of the night.  

For more information about GLSEN, check out their official site.