Author-activist Chaz Bono and Phoenix
Suns CEO Rick Welts will be honored by the Gay, Lesbian &
Straight Education Network (GLSEN) for their gay advocacy.
works to create a safe space in schools for children who are or may
be perceived to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
The group's seventh annual Respect
Awards will take place on Friday, October 21 at the Beverly Hills
Hotel in California.
Bono will receive the group's Hero
Award, while Welts will be honored with its Inspiration Award.
Bono's upcoming appearance on ABC's
Dancing with the Stars has
been criticized by social conservatives because the child of gay
icon Cher and the late entertainer-politician Sonny Bono is a
“It's a group that really fights
bullying in school and so it means a lot to me actually to be honored
by them,” Bono told Entertainment Tonight. “It makes me
think a lot, for the most part, and I wonder what is the mentality of
a person who spends their time saying mean things about people they
don't even know. It's kind of crazy.”
Welts, who came out gay roughly four
months ago and stepped
down from his Phoenix Suns post last week, told the weeknight
program that anti-gay bullying has no place in the classroom.
“How to deal with the use of anti-gay
language in the locker room and on sports teams as well as bullying
behavior,” Welts said. “That has no place in our schools. (The
video is embedded in the right panel of this page.)
Actor-director Rob Reiner and his wife
Michele will receive the group's Lifetime Achievement Award. The
couple are founding board members of the American Foundation for
Equal Rights (AFER), the group formed specifically to challenge
California's gay marriage ban, Proposition 8.