GLAAD Media Awards 2010

Last Saturday I participated in my second San Francisco GLAAD Media Awards, volunteering as a talent escort.  It’s such a privilege to spend a day with the GLAAD staff, who are all so capable and competent and hardworking.  The volunteers are also great, and I’ve been on facebook with several of the folks I met last year, so this year was like a big, happy reunion.  Of course, there were many new faces, and I really enjoy meeting new people, especially the young volunteers who are so full of energy.

 I volunteer for organizations like GLAAD because of my favorite uncle.  He died ten years ago from HIV-related complications.  I also have someone close to me who’s gay and in the military. Besides, I majored in theatre production, so I’ve always been fascinated with the entertainment industry and the media.  How lucky am I to live in San Francisco where the GLAAD Media Awards are held?  Of course, I’d love to participate in the Los Angeles and New York Awards as well, and who knows what the future will bring!

 This year’s Awards were held in a big hotel, and after we first gathered in the volunteer room, we were taken on a tour of all the places we would be escorting our assigned talent.  The GLAAD Awards consist of a pre-ceremony reception, a silent auction, a banquet, the Awards program itself, and then an after-party.  It’s a long, exhausting day, but for a few hours you get to feel a part of something bigger and better than yourself.

As a talent escort, you are assigned one of the guest presenters, or one of the award recipients, or one of the performers.  You take them where they need to go, making sure they make it onstage when needed, so they can relax and enjoy themselves.  It’s exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. All of us have radios with headsets, and that is the secret to knowing where to be and when.  In between escorting, volunteers get to watch the Awards show, and it’s always very moving and inspiring.

 The GLAAD people really treat their volunteers well.  We get lots of great food, free T-shirts, books and badges, but the best part is being appreciated and treated as a member of the team.  The hardest part is leaving the hotel and standing outside waiting for the bus to go home.   Both years, I’ve felt like Cinderella after the ball, my coach turned back into a pumpkin, or should I say, a MUNI bus.  Going back to regular life, after being a part of something so special, is a shock to the system.   But at least there’s always next year!

GLAAD talent escorts on the red carpet

GLAAD talent escorts on the red carpet



Filed under Volunteer Work

4 responses to “GLAAD Media Awards 2010

  1. Megan

    Hi! I’m thinking about applying to volunteer with the GLAAD Media Awards too and I was wondering, do the volunteers always get to stick around and watch the show from the audience?


    • Hi, Megan,
      Different years have had different arrangements, depending on the set up. The GLAAD folks always try to allow the volunteers to see as much of the Awards as they can, as long as it doesn’t interfere with their duties. Some years we’ve had rows of seats set up at the back of the banquet room. Sometimes we watch on TV monitors in the volunteer room. It just depends on the space. Sadly, this year GLAAD is not having the Awards in San Francisco. I hope you enjoy yourself!

      • Meg

        Thanks for the quick reply. I’m thinking of going to the LA one next year. I’ve been to the NYC one before, but I don’t want to go all the way to LA to volunteer for it if I can’t also watch the show. How many times have you volunteered and for what position? I’m just afraid to fly all the way there, volunteer, and then be told that I won’t get to watch the show. In NYC, the last time I went, only some of us got to watch the show. I worked as auction set-up that time, the time before that I was a talent greeter and escort. What position so you usually do and how do you ensure you get to watch the show?

        • I have been a talent escort for five years, always in San Francisco. I know the NYC and LA shows are bigger and more intense. Frankly, the only way to ensure that you’ll get to watch the show is to buy a ticket. Volunteers are treated very well, given lots of food and made to feel appreciated, but the GLAAD folks can’t guarantee that you’ll see the show. I’ve always been able to watch some of the show, but never all of it. One of the folks I escorted came on last, and he wanted to spend the awards practicing his speech backstage. It was my job to stay nearby in case he needed anything. I love being backstage and seeing what goes on behind the scenes. One year I got to be in the green room when the Cirque du Soleil acrobats were warming up. It was amazing, at least as interesting than what they did onstage. My point is, being a volunteer gives you some unique experiences, but you need to be flexible and enjoy what comes your way.

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