The LGBTQ organization, which focuses on ensuring safe and inclusive schools for all students, is reinventing its annual Respect Awards in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Jason Sheeler
May 12, 2020 at 03:59 PM EDT
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Randy Shropshire/Getty Images; Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

GLSEN is adding a new week to the groundbreaking LGBTQ organization’s calendar, with Respect Everywhere, a week of online events. And PEOPLE can exclusively announce that a pair of LGBTQ advocates are on hand — Jennifer Beals (The L Word: Generation Q) and Charlie Carver (Boys in the Band).

“Over the past two months, GLSEN has completely reconfigured its work with educators and LGBTQ students to create vital community and connection as we faced a new world of school closures and physical isolation during the pandemic. GLSEN’s virtual Respect Everywhere event will help us celebrate heroes that make that work possible,” said Eliza Byard, Executive Director of GLSEN.

"Jennifer Beals and Charlie Carver are always there for GLSEN and the students we serve, using their platforms for positive change," added Byard.

GLSEN was founded in 1990 with the knowledge that educators play key roles in creating affirming learning environments for LGBTQ youth. The organization came to prominence with the formation of uplifting student-led movements such as Day of Silence and Ally Week.

Beals said about the honor: “It is an honor to be an ally and friend of the LGBTQ community and use my platform to showcase GLSEN.”

Added Carver (who got his start on Desperate Housewives and will star on Netflix’s Boys in the Band later this year, reprising his Broadway role), "I am very honored to be recognized at GLSEN Respect Everywhere next week. It will be a great opportunity to showcase their important work for LGBTQ students during this challenging time."

Starting May 18, log on to GLSEN to learn more about the honorees (including educator of the year Tray Robinson and school GSA of the year Hawaii’s Ilima Intermediate School’s Rainbow Royales) and watch the videos.

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