Ricky Martin was awarded the Vito Russo Award which is presented to an openly LGBT media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality for the LGBT community. GLAAD cited Martin’s decision to come out as having tremendous impact for Latino youth and their parents.
In his acceptance speech Martin thanked his boyfriend Carlos, who’s name he had never mentioned publicly.
I definitely need to thank my parents for being so supportive, my mother and my dad for their unconditional love, and my friends, my family, my fans. And my partner in crime and my boyfriend Carlos.
Then he made a special call to GLAAD:
GLAAD let’s go to Latin America, let’s share the love! Let’s go to Mexico! Let’s go to Columbia! Let’s go to Argentina! Let’s go to Chile! Let’s go to Brazil! We need you GLAAD – we need you down there, we need to spread the love in Latin America. Let’s do it in Spanish. I can help, I can do it! I’ll be part of it. I want to be part of it.
Also on hand was Rev. Al Sharpton, who presented the Excellence in Media Award to hip-hop producer and entrepreneur Russell Simmons, who has repeatedly spoken out on issues of concern to the LGBT communitty. Russell said in his speech:
“I’m humbled by having one of my mentors and heroes Rev. Sharpton giving me this award. It’s no secret that faith-based communities, in some cases, have been difficult, and I think that for all of us who step outside of our comfort zone and fight for the rights of others, we are blessed. And Rev. Sharpton [has] stood up in so many ways and has been very special. And to the gay and lesbian community he’s a true blessing.”
Russell has been very vocal about his support for marriage equality. On the GLAAD red carpet yesterday a reporter asked Rusell what he would tell people like Donald Trump, who oppose same-sex marriage and same-sex partner benefits. Russell put it simply:
“Whatever rights you take for granted you should give to others.”
But watch the video because Simmons continues and talks homophobia, saying that sometimes that fear stems from insecurities about sexuality.