The GLAAD Awards turn 30: See the most important moments in the show’s history

The GLAAD Awards turn 30: See the most important moments in the show’s history

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Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage

1990: Phil Donahue is honored at the inaugural GLAAD Awards

The first-ever ceremony took place on April 29, 1990, at the Time-Life building in New York City. Donahue was honored with the Media Person of the Year Award for his continued coverage of the LGBT community, and was joined onstage by GLAAD co-founder Vito Russo.


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ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images

1995: The year of My So-Called Life

Wilson Cruz, who played Rickie Vasquez on the cult teen show, was honored for his portrayal of a Catholic, biracial, gay teen. The actor told EW last year that he was in the closet during filming of the pilot, but came out to his parents after the series was picked up. 

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Gregory Pace/FilmMagic; Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

2000: Judy Shepard honors Sir Elton John

The mother of Matthew Shepard, the 21-year-old University of Wyoming student who was murdered in 1998, became an advocate for LGBTQ rights. Shepard and John have worked together as part of the Matthew Shepard Foundation for years. 


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Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

2000: Elizabeth Taylor receives the Vanguard Award

Carrie Fisher presented the award to the late Taylor, whose contributions to the community are too numerous to list. 


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Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage

2003: Rosie O’Donnell gives a speech after coming out

“I should have been here a long time ago,” the television host and actress told the crowd. 


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Stephen Lovekin/WireImage for GLAAD

2006: Michael Douglas presents to Ang Lee

It was the year after Brokeback Mountain hit theaters and helped to normalize same-sex relationships on the big screen (and won three Academy Awards). 


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Peter Kramer/Getty Images

2007: Jennifer Hudson honors Patti Labelle

It was only one month after Hudson won the Oscar for Dreamgirls


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Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage for GLAAD

2011: Ricky Martin is moved to tears

It was one of the singer’s first apperances since coming out, and he received the Vito Russo Award to a standing ovation. 


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Kevin Winter/Getty Images for GLAAD

2012: Cher surprises her son Chaz

The singer made a surprise appearance to present Chad with the Stephen F. Kolzak Award, in their first moments together since his transition. 


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Larry Busacca/Getty Images for GLAAD

2013: Madonna protests the Boy Scout ban

And she did it, in perfect Madge fashion, by dressing as a Boy Scout. 


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Kevin Tachman/Getty Images for GLAAD

2013: Betty White comes out for marriage equality

Over two years before the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states, the then-91-year-old made a powerful statement. 


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2017: Debra Messing addresses the women of the Trump administration

The Will & Grace star accepted an award presented by Andrew Rannells, taking the opportunity to urge Americans to resist — and even through in a Smash joke. 

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