The East Coast edition of the awards unveiled Pose as the winner of Outstanding Drama Series; The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story as Outstanding TV Movie or Limited Series; and Boy Erased as Outstanding Film-Limited Release.
Madonna was presented with the Advocacy for Change Award. She is is the second person and first woman to ever receive this honor, awarded to a person who, through their work, changed the game for LGBTQ people around the world.
“Growing up I always felt like an outsider, like I didn’t fit in. It wasn’t because I didn’t shave under my armpits, I just didn’t fit in,” Madonna, 60, said in her acceptance speech, after being introduced by A League of Their Own costar Rosie O’Donnell.
In her speech, the singer also paid tribute to her first dance teacher and mentor.
“The first gay man I ever met was named Christopher Flynn,” she said. “He was my ballet teacher in high school and he was the first person that believed in me. That made me feel special as a dancer, as an artist and as a human being. I know this sounds trivial and superficial but he was the first man to tell me that I was beautiful.”
Madonna added, “He took me to my first gay club in downtown Detroit. I told my dad I was having a sleepover at a girlfriend’s house — that got me grounded for the rest of the summer.”
And later the star honored her other close friends who died.
“After I lost my best friend and roommate Martin Burgoyne and then Keith Haring, happy birthday Keith, I decided to take up the bull horn and really fight back,” Madonna said.
Andy Cohen was honored with the Vito Russo Award, which is presented to an openly LGBTQ media professional who has made a significant difference in accelerating LGBTQ acceptance.
The complete list of winners from the New York ceremony below:
Advocate for Change Award: Madonna [presented by Anderson Cooper, Rosie O’Donnell & Mykki Blanco]
Vito Russo Award: Andy Cohen [presented by Sarah Jessica Parker]
Outstanding Drama Series: Pose (FX) [accepted by: creators Ryan Murphy and Steven Canals, and cast members including Billy Porter, Janet Mock, Mj Rodriguez, Indya Moore, Dominique Jackson, Angelica Ross, Our Lady J, Dyllon Burnside, Hailie Sahar, and Ryan Jamal Swain; presented by Rachel Brosnahan]
Outstanding Variety or Talk Show Episode: “Trans Rights Under Attack” Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (TBS) [accepted by: Samantha Bee; presented by Adam Rippon and Lilly Singh]
Outstanding TV Journalism Segment: “Same Sex Couple Reacts to Supreme Court Ruling” CNN Tonight with Don Lemon (CNN) [accepted by: Don Lemon; presented by Mj Rodriguez, Indya Moore, and Dominique Jackson]
Outstanding Film – Limited Release: Boy Erased (Focus Features)
Outstanding TV Movie or Limited Series: The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (FX)
Outstanding Music Artist: Janelle Monáe, Dirty Computer (Bad Boy Records)
Outstanding TV Journalism – Newsmagazine: “Conversion Therapy: God Only Knows” CBS Sunday Morning (CBS)
Outstanding Newspaper Article: “He Took a Drug to Prevent AIDS. Then He Couldn’t Get Disability Insurance.” by Donald G. McNeil Jr. (The New York Times)
Outstanding Digital Journalism Article: “Bermuda Same-sex Marriage Ban Means Trouble for Tourism and Cruise Ships” by Ryan Ruggiero (CNBC.com)
Outstanding Digital Journalism – Video or Multimedia: “March for Our Lives and LGBT activism. ‘They’re definitely linked for me,’ says Emma González” by Beth Greenfield (Yahoo! Lifestyle)