Matthew Morrison, Jon Stryker, Johnson & Johnson, Desiree Raught and Nixa High School Gay-Straight Alliance Honored at 2015 GLSEN Respect Awards New York

Media Contact:

Kari Hudnell

Media Relations Manager


NEW YORK (June 3, 2015) GLSEN, the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe and affirming schools for all students, honored Matthew Morrison, Jon Stryker, Johnson & Johnson, teacher Desiree Raught and the Nixa High School Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) at the 12th Annual GLSEN Respect Awards New York on Monday, June 1 at Cipriani 42nd Street.

Photographs of the GLSEN Respect Awards New York reception and program are available immediately. Video clips of the ceremonies will soon be available at

In honor of its 25th anniversary, GLSEN partnered with Target to produce a mini-documentary highlighting the work of students, educators and volunteers who have improved school climate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth across the country. The video debuted at the event, was directed by award-winning filmmaker and member of GLSEN’s Board of Directors Kimberly Reed, in partnership with Erin Judd and Mikko Timonen of NO FRAMES production company.

The 2015 GLSEN Respect Awards New York continues through June 4 with an online auction via Charitybuzz that features items such as a tour of the set of The Young and the Restless with Greg Rikaart; attendance at the Tony Awards rehearsal; a Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Shopping Spree; and tickets and cast experiences for multiple Broadway shows.

Honored for his Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated portrayal of Will Schuester, the ideal supportive educator for LGBT students, on Fox TV’s “Glee,” Matthew Morrison was honored with the Inspiration Award.

“I remember a reporter once asked me how I felt about people thinking I’m ‘gay’ because I’m into musical theater,” Morrison said. “My response, ‘I love gay people…so I’m not going to be insulted or angry by being called gay.’ As a straight man standing up for the LGBT community, I feel a sense of responsibility to make sure that people know that being ‘gay’ is NOT a negative.”

The program also featured GLSEN Student Ambassadors from California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan New Jersey, New York, Tennessee and Virginia, who shared their own stories of why GLSEN’s work is important and how it has helped each of them in creating more positive school climates in their own communities.

Other speakers included GLSEN founder Kevin Jennings; GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard; Visionary Award honoree and founder of the Arcus Foundation Jon Stryker; Jeff Smith, President of U.S. Skincare at Johnson & Johnson, accepting the Diversity & Inclusion Award; Jeremy Charneco-Sullivan, Jackie Swindell, Awreon Riley and Parker Davidson of the Nixa High School GSA the GSA of the Year; Educator of the Year and Washington, D.C.’s McKinley Tech High School teacher Desiree Raught; Target’s Executive Vice President and Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer Laysha Ward; and Gill Foundation founder and co-chair Tim Gill.

The GLSEN Respect Awards, introduced in 2004 and held annually in Los Angeles and New York, showcase the work of students, educators, individuals and corporations who serve as exemplary role models and have made a significant impact on the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth.

GLSEN has led the way on LGBT issues in K-12 education since 1990. Through ground-breaking original research, innovative program development, student leadership and educator training, community organizing, and targeted state and federal advocacy, GLSEN has seen the impact of its work through the development of educational resources, direct engagement of youth and educators, and national programs like GLSEN’s Day of Silence, GLSEN’s No Name-Calling Week, GLSEN’s Ally Week.

Senior Class Sponsors of the GLSEN Respect Awards New York are JPMorgan Chase & Co., Ryan Pedlow and Wells Fargo. Gay-Straight Alliance of the Year Sponsor is First Data Corporation. Junior Class Sponsors are David Dechman and Michel Mercure, Gill Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, CLEAN AND CLEAR, Slobodan Randjelovic and Target. Sophomore Class Sponsors are AT&T, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, James C. Hormel and Michael P. Nguyen, Jim Johnson and Paul Hokemeyer, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., The Ludwig Family Foundation, NBA/WNBA, Pfizer, Stryker, Summit Rock Advisors and Two Creeks Capital. Freshman Class Sponsors are Akamai Technologies; Colgate-Palmolive Company; Credit Suisse; Cary Davis and John McGinn; Duggal; Goldman Sachs; HBO; Holland & Knight; Kellogg; Knoll, Inc.; Morgan Stanley; New Jersey Education Association; Optimedia; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP; Stribling & Associates, Ltd.; and Wyndham Worldwide. Media Sponsors are DiversityInc and Out.

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