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NEW YORK (Reuters) - MSNBC news anchor Thomas Roberts and talk show host Kelly Ripa were among honorees at GLAAD's annual media awards on Saturday, which recognize representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
Roberts, 42, who came out as gay in 2006, accepted the group's Vito Russo Award for promoting equality in the gay community.
The award, named after the activist and film historian who was one of the founding member of media advocacy group GLAAD, was presented to him by Lynda Carter, best known as television's "Wonder Woman" in the 1970s.
"It was liberating, and frightening as hell," Roberts said, recalling the period when he became open about being gay.
"People like me were considered immoral at best, a joke," Roberts said, noting that while things had improved for gay people, "we have a long way to go."
Past winners of the award include Suze Orman, Rosie O'Donnell, Elton John, Tom Ford and CNN newsman Anderson Cooper.
Accepting the Excellence in Media Award from Cooper in recognition of her advocacy for gay issues, Ripa, co-host of the daily "Live With Kelly and Michael" reflected that she thought it a bit odd that "I should be celebrated for treating people like people."
In other awards handed out at the 26th annual ceremony, Sports Illustrated was cited for outstanding overall magazine coverage, with the honor accepted by groundbreaking gay athletes Jason Collins and Michael Sam.
"Lilting," about the relationship of a mother and her son's lover following the son's death, was named outstanding limited release film, while Showtime's "L Word Mississippi: Hate the Sin," about gay women living in the southern United States, won the documentary prize.
TV One's "R&B Divas: Atlanta" was named outstanding reality television show.
HBO's "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" won for outstanding talk show episode while MSNBC Live took the honor for best TV journalism segment, about anti-gay discrimination in the workplace.
Nickelodeon's "Nick News" with Linda Ellerbee, the Salt Lake City Tribune, Time magazine and Fusion.net were among winners for broadcast, print and digital journalism.
GLAAD presented other awards in Los Angeles last month, honoring "The Imitation Game," "The Normal Heart" and filmmkaer Roland Emmerich among others.
Editing by Kim Coghill