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Madonna to Present Anderson Cooper With GLAAD Media Award

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Madonna (Getty Images)

Madonna’s ready to “Turn Up the Radio” on gay awareness.

The singer is set to present journalist, author and talk show host Anderson Cooper with the Vito Russo Award at the 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at the New York ceremony on Saturday, March 16, 2013 at the New York Marriot Marquis. Cooper and Madonna are longtime friends who have both used their careers to raise support for LGBT people around the globe.

"Madonna has been a passionate spokesperson and longtime supporter of gay rights. She has embraced LGBT people around the world on many occasions," said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. "From speaking out against bullying to raising support for marriage equality, Madonna has always been one of our community's strongest allies. We are honored to have her stand with GLAAD and Anderson Cooper."

The Vito Russo Award 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 for Vito Russo, a founder of GLAAD and celebrated activist with ACT UP, who chronicled the early images of LGBT people in film and in his book The Celluloid Closet. Previous Vito Russo honorees include Ricky Martin, Rosie O'Donnell, Alan Cumming, Cynthia Nixon, Nathan Lane, Cherry Jones, Elton John, k.d. lang, Brian Graden, and Tom Ford.

"By sharing his own experiences as a gay man, Anderson has reminded millions of Americans that LGBT people are part of their everyday lives and an integral part of our cultural fabric," said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. "He continues to raise the bar and set a new standard for journalists everywhere, and I'm proud to call him a friend." Anderson came out of the closet publically in July 2012 in a passionately worded letter posted by his friend Andrew Sullivan.

The anchors of “Good Morning America” -- Lara Spencer, Josh Elliott and Sam Champion are hosting the evening. Special guests include NFL players Brendon Ayanbadejo and Chris Kluwe, director Brett Ratner, Ellen Barkin, MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry and Thomas Roberts, and John Leguizamo.

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Anderson Cooper (Getty Images)

For more than 20 years, Anderson Cooper has been an instrumental figure in American journalism. Enticing audiences with his compassionate and fearless coverage, Cooper has won multiple awards for his work, including several Emmy Awards, National Headliner Awards, and Peabody Awards. In 2010, Haiti awarded Cooper the National Order of Honour and Merit, the highest honor the country offers, for his coverage of the earthquake that devastated that country.

In addition to reporting for CNN on “Anderson Cooper 360°,” Cooper is also a contributor to CBS' “60 Minutes,” where he has interviewed cultural icons and newsmakers. In 2011, he became the host of his own nationally syndicated talk show, “Anderson Live.” Dispatches from the Edge, Cooper’s memoirs about covering the South Asia tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and other news events, topped The New York Times Bestsellers List and other bestseller charts.

Never one to shy away from tough topics, Cooper has tackled multiple issues relevant to the LGBT community, including bullying of LGBT youth, families supporting their transgender children, the dangers of so-called "ex-gay conversion therapy," and soldiers forced to serve under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." For his coverage of issues relevant to the LGBT community, Anderson Cooper has received seven GLAAD Media Award nominations, and has been awarded the trophy three times.

Nominees for the 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards were announced in January. The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the LGBT community and the issues that affect their lives. They also fund GLAAD's work to amplify stories from the LGBT community that build support for equality. Each year, the GLAAD Media Awards in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco bring together more than 5,000 advocates and allies to raise critical funds for the organization's work.

There are three GLAAD Media Awards ceremonies. They will be held in New York on March 16, 2013 at the New York Marriott Marquis; in Los Angeles on April 20 at the JW Marriott; and in San Francisco on May 11 at the Hilton San Francisco - Union Square. Additional Special Honorees for each city will be announced in coming weeks.

Head here for additional information about the GLAAD Media Awards.

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