Diva honored with Vanguard Award

GLAAD Vanguard Award winner Kristin Chenoweth, who has a large Christian fan base, is steadily evolving as a spokesperson for the gay community.

“I never set out to be this girl, but I am,” the actress explains. “Saying I’m a Christian and also a gay-rights advocate is one of my purposes in this life. It’s a very big dichotomy, but that is exactly what I believe.”

Growing up in Broken Arrow, Ok., deep in the Bible Belt, the Broadway star witnessed her gay friends being persecuted. “People had to hide who they were,” she recalls. “I don’t think God wants us to do that. But I realize that not everybody believes like me.”

Of her not-so-gay-friendly Christian fans’ reaction to her beliefs and her high profile award?

“Christians, even if they disagree with a certain lifestyle, would be remiss not to look at what this is about: human rights. I don’t judge them, but I don’t want to be judged for what I believe.”

Madeline Kahn and Leonard Bernstein are among Chenoweth’s heroes. At Oklahoma State University, the Tony award-winning star did her Masters thesis on Bernstein, delving into the legendary conductor-composer’s complicated personal life.

“He was a big-time family man,” she observes. “And he struggled with his sexuality. It must have been difficult going through all that. It must have been torturous for him. One of my greatest regrets in my life is that I never got to meet the man.”

More from GLAAD Media Awards:
What is your dream project? | Greenblatt a hot commodity | Kristin Chenoweth receives honors

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