A teenager campaigning to make an upcoming documentary about bullying more accessible to children was among a star-studded lineup of honourees at the GLAAD Media Awards on Sunday.
Katy Butler, 17, recieved a special award after she launched an online petition to try and convince the Motion Picture Association of America to lower its R rating for the film Bully so that kids under the age of 18 could see it without being accompanied by an adult.
"This award belongs to every student like me, who has been bullied and beaten just for being who they are," Butler said, accepting the award from the film's producer, Harvey Weinstein.
Butler's petition has garnered more than 400,000 signatures but the MPAA has so far maintained the film's rating, citing coarse language as the reason for the harsh rating. In Canada, the film has received a PG rating, which allows it to be seen by anyone over the age of 13.
Gaga, Oprah among others honoured
GLAAD also honoured the careers of producers Neil Maron and Craig Zadan, whose production credits include the musicals Chicago and Hairspray. The pair's recent project is the NBC musical show Smash, which has been a hit for the network. They received the Vito Russo Award, named in honour of GLAAD's late founder and handed out to recognize openly gay media professionals who have made an outstanding contribution to their respective field.
The awards show, now in its 23rd year, was hosted by Canadian actor Cory Monteith and his Glee co-star Naya Rivera and featured a number of big-name presenters including actors Dakota Fanning and John Stamos as well as hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons.
Other award winners included Lady Gaga, reality hit Dancing with the Stars, Oprah Winfrey, and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner for his recent work, The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures.
GLAAD will hand out more awards at ceremonies in Los Angeles in April and San Francisco in June.