Google is a Game Changer, says GLAAD

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GLAAD will host the Game Changers Gala at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, during which they will present Google with the first Ric Weiland Award for the support and assistance the company has given the LGBT community.

With this award, GLAAD recognizes Google’s history of expanding rights to same-sex partners independent of the legal recognition of their relationship, covering medical transition costs for transgender employees, and creating the #ProudToPlay campaign for equal rights for LGBT athletes.

GLAAD President and CEO Kate Ellis explained that Google has a unique “power to reach billions,” which she believes the company has tapped into while “ushering in a new era of acceptance and understanding for users across the world.”

The accolade is named after Ric Weiland, one of the founders of Microsoft who was also gay. He gave to HIV/AIDS charities and LGBT causes extensively, and stipulated that the bulk of his estate be given to those philanthropic causes after his death (he died in 2006). His key role in the tech industry reflects the long history of LGBT pioneers in the development and improvement of computers, which most famously includes Alan Turing, who created the model for today’s general purpose computers. In recent years, many companies have sought to recognize and give back to the LGBT community, as August 17’s Silicon Valley Pride Festival shows.

Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, a couple and two of the plaintiffs in the federal case that struck down California’s Proposition 8, will also receive an award. Ellis spoke with praise of their “courage and leadership” in the fight for marriage equality in the United States.

The event’s host will be Taryn Manning, who stars in Orange Is The New Black as conservative Christian “Pennsatucky. The event will also feature a musical performance by the openly gay Glee star Alex Newell. Peter Paige, who played “Emmett” on Queer As Folk and was an executive producer of The Fosters is also slated to make an appearance.

The event’s sponsors include Ketel One Vodka and Southwest Airlines, both of which regularly engage in LGBT outreach. Tickets can be purchased here.

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