Breakout star actress, producer and writer Laverne Cox will be honored at the 25th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles on April 12 where she will receive GLAAD's Stephen F. Kolzak Award, it was announced today. Academy Award-nominated actress Ellen Page will present the Award. Page named Cox as one of her inspirations when she recently came out publicly.
GLAAD previously announced global superstar Jennifer Lopez will receive the Vanguard Award at the event. Sign up now to watch the red carpet live Saturday, April 12 at glaad.org/mediaawards.
Cox will receive GLAAD's Stephen F. Kolzak Award, which is presented to an openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality. The award is named after a successful casting director, who devoted the last part of his life to raising awareness in the entertainment industry about the discrimination faced by LGBT and HIV-positive people. Previous Stephen F. Kolzak honorees include Wanda Sykes, Rufus Wainwright, Melissa Etheridge, Bill Condon, Todd Haynes, Alan Ball, Ellen DeGeneres, and Sir Ian McKellen.
Her portrayal of incarcerated trans woman Sophia Burset on the hit Netflix original series Orange is the New Black ( returning for a second season June 6 ) has won Cox critical acclaim. She is the first trans woman of color to have a leading role on a mainstream scripted show and consistently uses her platform as a public figure to create dialogue, increase visibility and draw attention to critical issues facing the trans community. She came to mainstream attention in 2008 on the VH1 reality series I Want to Work for Diddy and made such an impression that MTV Networks allowed her to produce her own reality show TRANSform Me. She also serves as Executive Producer of the upcoming documentary Free Cece, which shares the harrowing story of a young transgender woman who was brutally attacked in an act of anti-transgender violence, and was later incarcerated in a men's prison for defending herself.
"Laverne Cox has reshaped the way Americans see transgender people and raised the bar in diverse representations of the LGBT community in entertainment," said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. "She is not only a talented actress, but a truly transformational leader in the LGBT equality movement. Through her tireless commitment to building understanding and acceptance through education and advocacy, Laverne is moving equality forward both on and off the screen."
Additional special guests for the Los Angeles event include: Kelly Osbourne; Sherri Saum, Teri Polo ( The Fosters ); Shane Bitney Crone, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason ( Bridegroom ); Katherine Fairfax Wright, Malika Zouhali-Worrall, John "Long Jones" Abdallah Wambere ( Call Me Kuchu ); New Orleans bounce performer Big Freedia; GLAAD National Spokespersons, Wilson Cruz and Omar Sharif, Jr., and GLAAD CEO & President Sarah Kate Ellis. Additional presenters, and LGBT advocates will be announced.
The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender ( LGBT ) community and the issues that affect their lives. The GLAAD Media Awards also fund GLAAD's work to amplify stories of LGBT people and issues that build support for equality.