The 2009 GLAAD Awards New York City – Robin & Carlytron Ask, “Is it the Year of the Gays?”

Hi, it’s me, Robin, the photoblogger! Yesterday was my birthday so Carlytron and I celebrated by catching Monsters and Aliens in 3-D, enjoying some wacky improv theater on the Lower East and attending the gay-loving celeb red carpet walk at the 20th Annual GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Media Awards.

Although we weren’t invited into the actual awards (which is silly because: 1. It was my birthday, and 2. Carly was actually not wearing sneakers for once), I was excited to take photos of stars including Vanessa Williams, Judith Light, that guy who played Mr. Big on Sex in the City [editor’s note: Chris Noth], Clay Aiken, and this year’s Honorees, Suze Orman and Tyra Banks.

The last GLAAD awards I attended was in 2007, and this year — when we meandered in about 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start of the red carpet walk — I was totally surprised by how significantly the awards’ media buzz has increased since ’07. As we looked around at the gaggle of photographers and long lineup of camera people, from  Extra to the TV Guide Channel, the message was clear: being gay in 2009 is Super Cool.lo

The media is excited about being gay; or at the very least, gay-friendly. I muscled my way to the front of the photo line between Getty Images and Broadway World (dot com) and waited for the parade of smiling, fashionably-dressed gays to come.  They did not disappoint.

Carly was along to interview these fabulous attendees and will share some exclusive red-carpet-side gossip.

Red Carpet Report from Carly:

I would say that this event was a success, since we got to talk to almost everyone we wanted to (notable omissions: TR Knight, who didn’t talk to anyone, Phil Donahue, who arrived before our crew did, and Tim Gunn, who apparently — and tragically — didn’t walk the red carpet at all??) and everyone was really nice and had lots of good stuff to say. Our buddy Jack Mackenroth (Project Runway) was there with Brad Boles from the Real Housewives of NYC, my FAVORITE SHOW!! The always adorable Simon Doonan and Jonathan Adler were there (don’t miss Beautiful People, the HI-larious British series based on Simon’s memoirs, when it premieres on Logo in the near future), and Cherry Jones talked about why being on TV is sexier than being on stage. Kate Clinton was hilarious and talked some smack about Ant and we talked fashion with Jay Manuel. We also chatted with Jenny Shimizu, Suze Orman, Christian Siriano, and a bunch of other fab people.

Clay Aiken



Queer As Folk's Michelle Clunie and New York State Senator Eric Schneiderman


Suze Orman and Kathy Travis


Jenny Shimizu and a girl who is not Angelina Jolie


Heather Matarazzo and Caroline Murphy


TR Knight

Ari Gold and ... friend?


Jack Mackenroth and Brad Boles


Jane Velez Mitchell


Fringe's Jasika Nicole


Mr. Jay Manuel


Jonathan Adler and Simon Doonan


Judith Light and Kate Clinton


Stockard Channing

Hannah Storm looked hot, and was doing the famed “skinny arm trick.” We know your secret, Hannah!

As we waited for each new face to step out into their respective sea of flashes, we heard a group of photographers behind us talking about RuPaul’s Drag Race, Queer As Folk, and The L Word. Here I was in the midst of what seemed to be a crowd of straight media professionals and they were all gabbing about these hot gay shows, even though the latter two shows aren’t even on the air anymore (Maybe one must be heterosexual to enjoy The L Word?).


Fierce tranny mess Christian Siriano



Baya and Devyn, the straight girls from The Real World: Brooklyn (where are the queers?)


The one and only Hedda Lattuce

Red Carpet Report from Carly:

Like, half of the cast of Ugly Betty was there, which is awesome because that’s a wonderful, queer little show. Sadly, the show is on hiatus for a few months while ABC tries out the super-hetero In the Motherhood in its place. We didn’t get to talk to Judith Light, but we did speak with Michael Urie, Ana Ortiz, and Wilhelmina Slater herself, Vanessa Williams. I learned that Vanessa is a HUGE fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Ana — who is very pregnant — doesn’t mind people touching her belly, and Michael’s eyes are “aquamazel” (that’s a cross between aquamarine and hazel, naturally). Everyone was super sweet and pretty and I love them all.


The adorable Ana Ortiz.


Michael Urie


The amazing Vanessa Williams


Wilhelmina Slater and Marc St. James

Red Carpet Report from Carly:

Tyra knows how to make an entrance, and she did so by showing up over 30 minutes after the red carpet arrivals had ended. I was totally ok with that, because I refused to leave without seeing her. Let me just say… bitch is TALL. She was there accepting the FIERCENESS Award (just kidding, it’s the Excellence in Media Award) from Clay Aiken, who gave only 1 or 2 interviews and looks a lot like k.d. lang in person. She told us that she was thinking of doing a piece on her talk show where she goes undercover as a drag queen, to see if anyone could tell that she was actually her. This is genius, I really hope she does it. Anyway, Tyra was fun and we totally got her smiling with her eyes on camera.


Tyra, seen here smiling with her eyes.



Tyra might want to take her own merciless unrealistic advice: always be aware of your face.

Later on in the evening, waiting in line for the improv theater downtown, we overheard a group of straight women in their twenties philosophizing about how ridiculous labels are — a topic that had been raised in their “human sexuality” class (did everyone but me take that course in college?). Everyone is “like, a little gay,” one of them pointed out. “Yeah, who cares,” another remarked. They laughed and talked about how being gay was not only totally normal, but nearly inevitable. I thought about my red carpet experience and the girls in front of us and wondered if it’s just this gay bubble we call New York City or if 2009 is really The Year of the Gays?

Well — no. Not yet at least. We’ve got so much further to go before we become more than just an [apparently] disposable element of popular culture and start sharing the same rights as everyone else. We queers — and now, with the cancellation of The L Word and South of Nowhere, lesbians in particular — still lack significant media visibility, and as Ellen & Portia showed us last week, a little bit of visibility can go a long way. So here’s to hoping that by 2010’s ceremony we won’t be just “popular” in the correct context, and we won’t self-destruct when given the chance to step up (why did we kill Jenny?! Who killed Jenny?!) but rather will be correctly declaring 2010 The Year of the Gays. When accepting the Special Recognition Award at last night’s ceremony, Phil Donahue said:

“And now, we look up in 2009, and [the LGBT community] is popular. The majority of the people in the nation agree with us. Our job now is to summon these people to stand up and say so out loud. To tell them to join us. To march the lavender line with us down Fifth Avenue, and to remind them, when they do join us, they’re going to meet a lot of nice people.”

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Robin specializes in entertainment, lifestyle and portrait photography. She's also a Creative Producer, Director of Photography and co-owner of Scheme Machine Studios LLC, her production company based in Los Angeles. Robin loves shooting for TV and film and has worked with media companies like Legendary Pictures and Viacom. She shot and directed the Pride campaign for Google called #ThisIsFamily. Robin has had the pleasure of working on national campaigns for companies like Dove and Levis, and had the unique opportunity to shoot for non-profits and initiatives such as The Black List, Save the Children, Move to End Violence, Have a Hart Day, and The Clinton Global Initiative. She is most proud of the work she has done with organizations such as The Ad Council and RAINN working on national impact campaigns. Her celebrity roster includes Cyndi Lauper, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, The B-52s, Keri Hilson, JB Smoove, Tegan and Sara, Margaret Cho, The B-52’s, Andreja Pejic, and many more. She was there for Autostraddle’s birth and proudly served as A-Camp co-director for many years.

Robin has written 82 articles for us.


    • Thank you! HELLO!!! Tyra is totally gross to women and lesbians even if she does sport such an allegedly “gay-friendly” show teeming with gay men who have strange hair. Her talk show about girls going gay for other girls when they were really straight literally made me want to barf. and ANTM, though I enjoy and appreciate it for its campiness, is predicated on a “fairy tale” concept that functions and gathers antagonistic steam by forcing women to change to fit a physical ideal imposed upon them by arbitrary Professional Fashion People. Girls are not allowed to have their own opinions but essentially learn to submit to the warlord, who simultaneously cuts them down while constantly reinforcing the idea that she truly cares deeply for them and wants what’s “best” for them. Though it’s like the best gayest camp ever, I can’t imagine wanting to give a freaking award to someone who runs such a misogyny factory but tells everyone it’s an empowerment center. bla di bla.

      Anyhow — regardless of Tyra’s attitude or deserving of the award or not, this post is AWESOME. Carlytron & Robin rocked the red carpet and will probs win an award next year. I think we have the best photos of anywhere on the interwebs and Carly’s commentary is hilar. Yay big gay yay!

      • Thank you! Tyra puts on this whole facade of being totally “gay-friendly,” but she’s really kind of an embarrassing mess.

        I basically stopped watching ANTM after *swoon* Kim Stolz was kicked off and mocked on the show. It drove me crazy when the judges made these ridiculously derogatory statements about her gender and sexuality. Tyra seems to be fine wth drag queens, but she let Nigel call Kim “Tim” repeatedly on the show and only complimented the shoots where Kim looked “girly.”

        I’m not even going to go into her show on women going gay with the “lesbian pick-up artist.” I’d rather watch Everybody Loves Raymond than that episode.

        • I actually literally stopped watching ANTM after Kim was kicked off the show, I was like, super bitter and couldn’t get off the couch for a while. I just read fourfour’s recaps now, and sometimes watch it at the gym if it’s on.

          Admittedly I read a lot of feminist criticism of pop culture so I probs am angrier than most teevee watchers.

          I think she does really celebrate gay men on her show, but in a way that’s not particularly revolutionary. I do appreciate that homosexuality is not an ISSUE on her show, I love that. It’s totally inconsequential, so props for that.

          Howevs, she’s not so good to women. Having women pose as dead people? Having women pose in children’s clothing to promote virginity? Like, sometimes I just want to hit her over the head with a big glass of WTF.

          It’s totally entertaining, and her show is certainly no better or worse to women than any other show on teevee — at least they aren’t all competing over a man, hallelujah for that — but I don’t think she deserves an honor, not by a long shot.

    • Don’t you love when people like Tyra and Katy Perry win these champion for the gays awards? Makes us look really silly.

      • I know right? Are we that desperate? If I was in charge I’d give a big award to Rosie, that would be way more interesting.

  1. um, this is so great, i’m going to have to read it 4 times before i can comment appropriately. that pic of Christian makes me want to cry/kiss him.
    awesome job, ladies.

  2. Best, most truthful ANTM/Tyra rant ever. Well said, lady.

    The only reason that show is entertaining is because of the camp.. And Tyra’s insanely huge ego and narcissitic idea that everything is related to her and her life/experiences.

    • It was really amazing how everyone just stood around for a half hour and waited for the Tyra Bank unveiling. She’s not very photogenic for a supermodel. ;)

      • she should always be prepared, a real supermodel is always prepared to have a photo taken of them at any moment. ALWAYS. For example, Jay Manuel’s face is frozen that way FOREVS! No one can catch a bad face on that … face.

  3. amazing work, team!

    what the fuck, real world kids? where’s sara? i bet she wants to teach arts and crafts to everybody on that red carpet right now!

    • dude totally, i was like “where are all the real world queers?” maybe JD was at anger mgmt.

  4. I love these pictures.

    I was recently on stage in Florida (land of Amendment 2). When I came out to the 100% straight audience they cheered. I was afraid they’d throw things, boo, or worse – silence. But they freakin’ CHEERED. Also I was NOT bashed in the parking lot after the show, which was also a concern.

    My faith in humanity was partially restored.

    2010 could definitely be the Year of the Gays.

  5. great work ladies! Loves it! (and carly, yes, ugly betty is super gay, but you should give in the motherhood a chance! for reals! :) karen! will and grace!

  6. so much cuteness! gays are the BEST.

    i’ll spare you my tyra rant, i think. but word to riese’s. word. the way tyra smiles with her eyes is kinda hypnotizing, though. sometimes i almost believe she is a nice person. i feel fear knowing that so many people succomb to her wiles.

    • i think the thing is with tyra that before she was tyra banks the superwarlord of ANTM, she was just this totally smokin’ hot girl in magazines. Didn’t she do like milk ads and shit?
      I mean, she is really, really, ridiculously good looking.

  7. “Tyra might want to take her own merciless unrealistic advice: always be aware of your face.”

    Nice. This whole article is full of awesomeness.

  8. Riese I have totally fallen in love with you for that comment; what you said is so true! I watched that episode of ‘The Tyra Banks Show’ and haven’t cringed so much since, well, um, Season 6 of The L word! She only does these token gay features so that she can add another award to her cabinet and she basically said that herself!

    It would appear I’m not the only Emily around here! Perhaps I should consider changing my name! If only I could be bothered!

    Ps. Great pictures and commentary! Thanks!

  9. DAMN.. if Carly and I had only known we would have just made a quick post about how Tyra sucks and called it a day. Would have saved us some time. ;)

    • Wow, yeah, I didn’t realize everyone had so many feelings about Tyra. I think she’s campy fun but maybe I’m biased as I am a huge ANTM fan and think she’s an exciting hot mess. I think that it’s not necessarily Tyra’s fault, it’s the gay community’s fault for honoring her constantly. But I always tend to think that any visibility is better than none (within reason, naturally), and while she’s completely self-serving she is also doing some good out there for the LGBT community.

      So yeah… I see the problems, the errors, maybe GLAAD could pick better people to honor (Maddow maybe?) but until then … I’m just excited that my day job allowed Robin and I the opportunity to cover a fun event like this and that we got to write a post with photos and stories about shiny happy famous people celebrating the gays.

      • I am excited that your day job allows Robin and you the opportunity to cover a fun event like this and that you get to write a post with photos and stories about shinny happy famous people celebrating the gays. You can be the cheerful balance to my feminazi adding of “merciless” and etc. GO TEAM!

        • Like the LA to your NY. Even though we’re all in NY. I’m gonna go drink a smoothie and go tanning. Byeeeee.

  10. Love Tyra…Love Clay Aiken!
    Clay has always been about inclusion. Use your voice Clay. I think you are so cool!!!

  11. Omg awesome article! So spot on with Tyra, she just way too fake.

    Re: gay rights and visibility – my friends and I are always talking about how our generation doesn’t care about gayness, and how most have at least tried it (note: I’m 20 and live in Australia). As bad as this may sound, we’ve come to the conclusion that there is an older generation that has to ‘die off’ before much can progress. Because like I said, no-one in our generation seems to care, almost everyone has a few gay friends.

    Just my thoughts

    • Totally hear ya. Although we don’t wish death upon any of my fellow gays!!! But yes, its sort of up to us, huh? :)

      • yes it is, and i think if this post is any indication, we’re totally on the right track. :-)

  12. OMG Maddow would have been an amazing choice!

    I say we take all of these angry comments and put them in an email to GLAAD. That might be good, yea?

  13. “She’s not very photogenic for a supermodel.”

    Robin, that just made my fucking life.

    for the longest time i bought tyra as a lez. She and oprah for some reason. in my mind they are gay ladies.

    maybe even together. who knows?

    • LOL She has virtually no control over her face. Carly and I were dying. I think if autostraddle is any indication… lesbians do NOT want Tyra playing for the same team. ;)

  14. Tyra may or may not be nasty, but she doesn’t hold a candle to the these anonymous people who live to throw barbs at people. I do think Tyra has done what glaad claims she has. Kudos to her.

  15. Great flicks…i was able to attend the show and tyra is drop dead gorgeous(and crazy tall) up close and personal…like her or not she is a great business woman and being another woman of color, i admire what she has accomplished outside of modeling. Suze Orman was also honored; what a funny, animated woman – i wish i could have recorded her acceptance speeech. I have some pics from the awards show on my blog, Gay Girls Guide as well check them out…KrisH

  16. I can officially state that these photos of the GLAAD awards are the best ones anywhere on the entire internet. yay!

  17. Awesome post ladies, I second Riese’s comment. I love it that the Ugly Betty cast were in attendance, Vanessa Williams has my heart.
    Thank you for demonstrating the skinny arm trick, I will be adopting this immediately.

  18. Jenny Shimizu “and a girl who’s not Angelina Jolie”… LMAO… At least that’s better than “and guest…”

    She does look kinda like Angelina though – if you squint really hard… LOL

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