Filipina Celina Le Neindre is all set to take out the competition on 'The Apprentice Asia'
MANILA, Philippines - CNN news anchor Anderson Cooper was awarded top honors at the 24th Annual Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Awards last March 17.
No less than gay rights supporter and pop superstar Madonna presented the newsman with the Vito Russo Award, an accolade named after a GLAAD founding member.
The award recognizes Cooper’s courage, success and stature as an openly gay journalist.
“Being gay is certainly one of the greatest blessings” said Cooper in his acceptance speech.
"It opened my head and heart in ways that I never could have predicted.”
He added, "I am only here tonight because I've benefited from what they and so many others have done,” referring to activists like Russo and author and playwright Larry Kramer.
Watch Madonna's speech before presenting the Vito Russo Award to Anderson Cooper:
Watch the video of Anderson Cooper accepting the Vito Russo Award:
The 45-year-old came out last July 2012 when he emailed a Daily Beast blogger and friend that “The fact is, I'm gay. Always have been, always will be, and I couldn't be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud."
He joins the ranks of other Vito Russo Awardees like Rosie O’Donnell, Elton John and Tom Ford.
GLAAD is a media watch-dog organization that works with news, entertainment and social media to improve attitudes towards the LGBT movement.
Cooper delighted audiences after kissing Madonna onstage as she was presenting him with the award.
Before that, the singer spoke to the audience about the bullying of gays, "Love thy neighbor as thyself...It's an atrocity to me, and I don't accept it.”
Another awardee that night was NBC’s Emmy-winning show “Smash” named Outstanding Television Drama. “How to Survive a Plague,”a film about AIDS activists in the 1980s, won Outstanding Documentary.
“The Amazing Race,” which has been won by gay couples many times, received the award for Outstanding Reality Program. Winning in the print journalism categories were Rolling Stone magazine, Boston Globe, Times writer Frank Bruni and more. - With reports by Pia Ranada/Rappler.com
Who will inherit the throne?
Rappler takes you through the Miss Philippines Earth 2013 competition with these specials: