Jennifer Lopez has spoken about her gay fans and her lesbian aunt at Saturday’s 25th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles.
The actress, dancer, producer, singer and American Idol judge received the Vanguard Award for having “increased the visibility and understanding of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.”
“I’ve always felt a tremendous love from the LGBT community and the LGBT community has always supported me and returned that love,” said Lopez in her acceptance speech.
She spoke about her late lesbian aunt, who she’s previously said inspired her to produce the lesbian television family drama, The Fosters.
“Marisa was my cool aunt. She was my mom’s older sister and she lived in New York City. I lived in the Bronx and she lived in Manhattan, it was like worlds away! She wanted to be an actress and I always wanted to be like her. Marisa grew up gay in a time when it meant life could be very difficult and that her struggles were mostly kept to herself.”
The 44-year-old star also addressed the growing acceptance of same-sex marriage in the US.
“The world is changing and that’s because love is stronger than hate, as we’ve heard many times tonight. There’s never been a truer statement made,” said Lopez.
“Love is love and that’s what I tell my children every day. It’s what we have to make everyone understand, so our world can be a better, safer, more diverse, more inclusive and more loving place – and we are on our way.”
Transgender actress, reality television star and television producer Laverne Cox was presented with the Stephen F. Kolzak Award; given to an openly LGBT member of the entertainment or media community for his or her work toward eliminating homophobia.
“I’m still not used to getting awards. I’m an African American, transgender woman from a working class background raised by a single mother. We are not programmed to think we should receive these kinds of awards – but I like to think that things are changing,” said Cox.
Legendary television producer Norman Lear received the Pioneer Award for LGBT inclusion in his iconic shows including All in the Family, Sanford and Son, The Jeffersons, Good Times, Who’s the Boss, and Maude.
Ugandan LGBT advocate John “Longjones” Abdallah Wambere accepted the award for Call Me Kuchu, a documentary about the struggles of LGBT people in Uganda, along with co-directors Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall.
The film tied in the category with Bridegroom, a documentary about Shane Bitney Crone and the challenges he faced when his partner of six years, Thomas Lee Bridegroom, died in a tragic accident.
Behind the Candelabra won the Outstanding TV Movie or Mini-Series, soapie Days of Our Lives was awarded Outstanding Daily Drama, while Tegan and Sara scored the Outstanding Music Artist award for their album Heartthrob.
The GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Media Awards recognise and honour media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the LGBT community and the issues that affect their lives. Additional awards will be presented in New York on May 3.