The 2015 GLAAD Media Awards in NYC combine glitz, glamor and activism

This past Saturday, it was GLAAD Media Awards time in NYC, where celebs, activists, everyday heroes and those of us in media all gather to celebrate the triumphs of the LGBTQ community each year. It’s also a time to bring issues to light that need attention, and raise money to keep supporting GLAAD’s initiatives and work in media advocacy. So while seeing our favorite stars like Laverne Cox and Kelly Ripa dazzle on the red (well, blue) carpet, it’s also a time to take stock of how far we’ve come in television, film, and media, and how we need to keep on pushing for more.

We snagged a chat with GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis and her wife, musician Kristen Henderson of Antigone Rising to discuss GLAAD’s accomplishments and that pesky “dead lesbian” trope on TV.

The event was hosted by funny man Ross Mathews, who brought his special brand of sweet and subversive humor to the show. We were treated to out country singer Ty Herndon covering Miley Cyrus‘s “The Climb,” and speeches by truly inspiring LGBTQ heroes like Ugandan trans activist Pepe Julian Onziema and out South Carolina police chief Crystal Moore, who told us her story.

One of the most touching moments of the evening was when hate crime survivor Kristene Chapa came to the stage and delivered a speech that brought the audience to a complete silence. Her voice, barely above a whisper, told us of her struggles to recover from her injuries, the amazing support from her family, and her intention to keep her late girlfriend, Mollie Olgin‘s, memory and legacy alive. We were lucky enough to get a moment with Kristene.

TV personality Kelly Ripa was honored with the Excellence in Media Award, for her longtime support of the LGBTQ community. Ripa had her whole family in tow and received a standing ovation for her touching and very funny speech.

And of course, there was plenty of glamour on the blue carpet, so we’ve put together a slide show of some of our favorite attendees. Stay tuned for blue carpet interviews posting today and throughout the week.