Actress receives Vanguard award

Drew Barrymore has a long record of championing LGBT equality. Professionally and personally, the actress has embraced the gay and lesbien community both on and offscreen.

In her film “Boys on the Side,” directed by Don Roos, the central themes were lesbianism and AIDS. “That film was 15 years ago, and it was not common for a high-profile actress to be in a wide-release movie about lesbians,” says Jarrett Barrios. “To be part of that, particularly on the real upswing of her early career, says something about Barrymore’s commitment and how fearless she is in her support of the gay and lesbian community.”

In 2009, Barrymore essayed the role of a straight reporter at an LGBT newspaper in the film “He’s Just Not That Into You,” and in “Everybody’s Fine” she played the lesbian daughter of widower Robert De Niro.

Barrymore is this year’s recipient of the Vanguard Award, which is given to people who have increased the visibility of the LGBT community. The actress says it is no big deal.

“I was born, bred and raised amongst diversity,” Barrymore said. “It has defined me and made me the person I am today.”

When California’s Prop. 8 came up for a vote in 2008, Barrymore took it personally as she joined the thousands of protesters in the streets of West Hollywood and Silverlake. “I am who I am because of the people who influenced me growing up, and many of them were gay,” Barrymore said. “No one has the right to tell anyone what makes a family … this is something that means everything to me.”

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