Jennifer Lopez paid emotional tribute to her ‘way cool’ lesbian aunt as she accepted the Vanguard Award on Saturday at the star-studded GLAAD Media Awards in Beverly Hills.
‘Her struggles were mostly kept to herself,’ Lopez said of her late aunt. ‘Tonight, I know she’s proud of me and everybody here.’
The Vanguard Award is presented to a media professional, who – through their work – has made a significant difference in support of LGBT equality.
Lopez said it was her aunt’s memory and influence on her that helped her decide to produce ABC Family’s The Fosters which won the Outstanding Drama Series award just before Lopez was presented hers by Rita Moreno.
Moreno said of Lopez: ‘Jennifer knew she’d get shit from anti-gay haters and she did. But she didn’t care. Everything this woman touches is golden.’
The show centers on a lesbian couple and their brood of biological and foster children.
‘We are so proud of this show, because our biggest hope is that it’s outstanding because it is doing the same for young people – helping them feel loved, understood, included – as Rita did for me, and as GLAAD does today,’ Lopez said.
‘I knew the show would be controversial,’ she added. ‘I decided to listen to my heart and my gut and said yes. I’ve always felt a tremendous love for the LGBT community.’
She concluded her well-received speech by saying: ‘The world is changing and that’s because love is stronger than hate … Love is love. That’s what I tell my children every day.’
The Fosters beat out Grey’s Anatomy, Orphan Black, Pretty Little Liars and Shameless for the drama series prize.
Co-producer Peter Paige told the crowd: ‘This award means so much to all of us because we really believe entertainment can change the world.’