GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, has announced that it will honor award-winning actor, producer, and activist Wilson Cruz with the Vito Russo Award during the 33rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards at the Hilton Midtown in New York on Friday, May 6, 2022.
The GLAAD Media Awards honor media for fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of LGBTQ people and issues.
The Vito Russo Award is presented to a LGBTQ media professional who has made a significant difference in accelerating LGBTQ acceptance. The Award is named after Vito Russo, a founder of GLAAD and celebrated ACT UP activist, who pushed open the door for news and entertainment industries to include LGBTQ performers and stories. Previous Vito Russo honorees include Billy Porter, Anderson Cooper, Ricky Martin, Rosie O’Donnell, Andy Cohen, RuPaul, Cynthia Nixon, Samira Wiley, Tom Ford, George Takei, Thomas Roberts, Alan Cumming, and Suze Orman, among others.
“When books are written about actors coming out, Wilson Cruz belongs on the front cover,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “Wilson has dedicated his life and career to breaking down walls for LGBTQ and Latinx actors and has not only entertained audiences as a triple threat, but educated the world about LGBTQ people and issues. He raises the bar for how actors can and should play roles in social justice by always using his voice loudly to demand acceptance of LGBTQ people and Black and Latinx communities.”
About Wilson Cruz
Wilson Cruz currently stars as Dr. Hugh Culber on the CBS All Access series “Star Trek: Discovery,” which received the GLAAD Media Award in 2021 for Outstanding Drama Series. In 1994, he made history by becoming the first openly gay actor to play an openly gay role on network television when he starred as Rickie Vasquez on ABC’s My So-Called Life. Wilson’s critically acclaimed performance of the beloved character became a cornerstone for LGBTQ representation for years to come. His long career spans television, film, and theatre, with appearances on ER, Grey’s Anatomy, He’s Just Not That Into You, Noah’s Arc, Party of Five, Party Monster, Red Band Society, Shameless, Thirteen Reasons Why, The West Wing, as well as the first national tour of “Tick, Tick, Boom!” and as Angel in the west coast premiere of “RENT,” for which he earned a Los Angeles Ovation Award and then became the first replacement for Angel on Broadway. He voiced Prince Andrew on Hulu’s The Bravest Knight, which won the GLAAD Media Award for Kids & Family Programming in 2020. He is also the Executive Producer of the acclaimed 2019 Apple+ docuseries Visible: Out on Television, which chronicles the history of LGBTQ images on television.
Cruz has simultaneously been on the frontlines of LGBTQ advocacy during his entertainment career. He has served as Director of Entertainment Industry Advocacy and National Spokesperson for GLAAD and currently serves on the Board of Directors of GLSEN. He was a leading voice in remembering the victims and survivors of the Pulse nightclub shooting, after losing his relative Brenda Lee Marquez McCool in the national tragedy. Forever proud of his Puerto Rican heritage, Cruz has advocated for LGBTQ and Latinx actors throughout his long career via frequent media appearances and speeches during events such as the TV Critics Association Press Tour, the Sundance Film Festival, and the Millennium March for Equality. For his activism, he has served as the Grand Marshal of NYC Pride, appeared on the cover of Entertainment Weekly’s 50 Years of Pride Issue, and received awards including: the OUT 100, the Los Angeles LGBTQ Center’s Rand Schrader Distinguished Achievement Award, Outfest’s Fusion Achievement Award, the California Legislative Caucus’ Latino Spirit Award for Achievement in Entertainment and Advocacy, and ADCOLOR’s Advocate Award.
The GLAAD Media Awards in New York will be hosted by celebrity Peloton Instructor Cody Rigsby and transgender recording artist, actress, GLAAD Board Member, and RuPaul’s Drag Race alumPeppermint. Special guests include Ivory Aquino (Batgirl, When We Rise), Dyllón Burnside (Pose), Laverne Cox, Tommy Dorfman, Murray Hill (Somebody Somewhere, Life & Beth), as well as creator and stars of Peacock’s upcoming reboot of “Queer As Folk,” Jesse James Keitel, Devin Way, and Stephen Dunn, cast members of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 7 and Rafael Silva (911:Lone Star). They join previously announced special guests Nyle DiMarco, Cynthia Nixon, Anthony Rapp, Lily Rose, Amber Tamblyn, and GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.
The 33rd annual event will also feature singer/songwriter and Emmy-Award winning actress Dove Cameron performing her new single ‘Boyfriend.’ Playwright and composer Michael R. Jackson will appear in a special performance from his Pulitzer Prize-winning musical “A Strange Loop,” which opens on Broadway this week. GLAAD previously announced that Academy Award-winning actress Ariana DeBose will present Judith Light with GLAAD’s Excellence in Media Award, which is presented to allies of the LGBTQ community who have made a significant difference in promoting LGBTQ acceptance. GLAAD previously honored Kacey Musgraves and Michaela Jaé Rodriguez earlier this year during the GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles.