LOS ANGELES, April 13 (UPI) -- Actress-singer Jennifer Lopez was honored with the top GLAAD award -- the Vanguard Award -- at the organization's media awards event Saturday in Los Angeles.
The Vanguard Award is presented annually to a member of the entertainment industry who has promoted equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
"I've always felt a tremendous love from the LGBT community and the LGBT community has always supported me and returned that love," Lopez said during her acceptance speech. "Marisa was my cool aunt. She was my mom's older sister and she lived in New York City. I lived in the Bronx and she lived in Manhattan, it was like worlds away! She wanted to be an actress and I always wanted to be like her. Marisa grew up gay in a time when it meant life could be very difficult and that her struggles were mostly kept to herself."
“I’m an African-American transgender woman from a working-class background raised by a single mother,” said Cox. “We are not programmed to think we should receive these kind of awards, but I’d like to think that things are changing.”
“Many of you know that I officially came out on Valentine's Day,” she said. “One of the best things about it was the way it enabled me to publicly show support for the people who inspire me and give me courage.”