VH1 Trailblazer Honors

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The VH1 Trailblazer Honors, also known as the Logo Trailblazer Honors, is the only televised LGBT awards ceremony in the United States. It is an annual awards event founded in 2014 to recognize persons and entities who have made significant contributions towards minority empowerment and civil activism. It has been described as a combined "queer State of the Union, Hall of Fame, and Oscars." The event is aired on Logo TV and VH1.


The VH1 Trailblazer Honors, also known as Logo Trailblazer Honors, is an annually televised awards event, founded in 2014, that recognizes persons and entities who have made significant contributions towards minority empowerment and civil activism.[1][2] The event is the only LGBT awards ceremony televised in the United States.[3] It has been described as a combined "queer State of the Union, Hall of Fame, and Oscars."[4] In 2018, the event was aired on Logo TV and VH1.[2]

In the 2014 inaugural event, Bill Clinton recognized Edith Windsor and Roberta A. Kaplan for their role in the Defense of Marriage Act. Jason Collins was presented the honor by Lance Bass. Demi Lovato honored cast members of Orange Is the New Black, including Danielle Brooks, Laverne Cox, Lea DeLaria, Taryn Manning, and Samira Wiley. Singer Michael Stipe honored John Abdallah Wambere. Young community leaders were introduced by Daniel Radcliffe. The event included musical performances by Sia, New York City Gay Men's Chorus, A Great Big World, and the band Exousia. The event was attended by celebrities including Joe Manganiello, Ed Sheeran, Jared Leto, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Kylie Minogue, Pete Wentz, Ariana Grande, Iggy Azaela, Tegan and Sara, and Laura Jane Grace.[5]

In 2015, Miley Cyrus gave the opening address through a recorded message voicing support for marriage equality and the queer community. Barack Obama gave an address through a video message on the progress of LGBT people.[6] Raven-Symoné and Martin Luther King III were speakers at the event. Musical performances included Adam Lambert and the Bleachers. Other speakers were Laura Jane Grace, Samira Wiley, Tituss Burgess, Tyler Posey, Kelly Osbourne, Betty DeGeneres, Violet Chachki, and Frankie Grande.[6][7] Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Judith Light, and Ian McKellen were also on stage.[8] This was the first year that the honor "Social Trailblazer" was added. Logo fans voted between four nominees that used social media to advocate for the LGBT community. Nominees included Connor Franta, Joey Graceffa, Jackson Bird, and Gaby Dunn[8] with Franta eventually being named the winner. On behalf of his deceased partner, Bayard Rustin, Walter Naegle accepted the honor.[9] Judy and Dennis Shepard were recognized as "Trailblazing Parents" for co-founding the Matthew Shepard Foundation.[3]

At the 2017 event, musicians, Hayley Kiyoko, Alex Newell, and Wrabel honored Cyndi Lauper with a performance of "True Colors."[10]

The awards given in 2016 took time to remember the 49 victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting.[11]

In 2018, the fifth annual Trailblazer Honors event took place at Cathedral of St. John the Divine, which is one of the first religious institutions in New York City supporting LGBTQ causes.[12] The event was attended by activists and celebrities including Janet Mock, Bebe Rexha, the cast of Pose, and finalist from RuPaul's Drag Race.[13]


Year Name Area of achievement Ref(s)
2015 Connor Franta YouTuber named Logo Social Trailblazer
Marsha Aizumi Ally for trans community, founder of first PFLAG in California for Asian Americans, and author [14]
Sheila Lopez LGBT advocate and founder of PFLAG chapter for Native Americans in Phoenix, Arizona
Arsham Parsi LGBT rights activist and founder of Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees [15]
Judy Shepard and Dennis Shepard Parents of Matthew Shepard, advocates for LGBT rights, and co-founders of Matthew Shepard Foundation
Bayard Rustin Leader in social movements for civil rights, socialism, nonviolence, and gay rights
2016 The Advocate The oldest and largest LGBT publication in the United States [16]
2014 Orange Is the New Black cast For raising awareness on the lives of largely unseen characters in society. Honorees included Danielle Brooks, Laverne Cox, Lea DeLaria, Taryn Manning, and Samira Wiley. [17]
John Abdallah Wambere Ugandan gay rights activist and co-founder of Spectrum Uganda Initiatives
2017 Jason Collins First publicly gay athlete to play in any of the four major North American pro sports leagues
2014 Roberta A. Kaplan Lawyer for Edith Windsor in United States v. Windsor
Edith Windsor LGBT rights activist and a technology manager at IBM [18]
2017 David Kohan and Max Mutchnick Co-creators of sitcom Will & Grace
Alvin Ailey Choreographer and activist who founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Cleve Jones AIDS and LGBT rights activist [19]
2016 Billie Jean King Tennis champion who was forced to come out in 1981.
Harvey Fierstein Playwright and actor
Subhi Nahas Syrian refugee who is gay and survived torture at the hands of ISIS
Sylvia Rivera Activist in the LGBT rights movement
Marsha P. Johnson Activist in the LGBT rights movement
2017 Cyndi Lauper Singer-songwriter, actress, and LGBT rights activist [20]
2018 James Baldwin Novelist and social critic who explored racial, sexual, and class distinctions
American Civil Liberties Union Nonprofit organization aimed at the defense and preservation of constitutional rights and liberties
Ryan Murphy Screenwriter, director, producer, and LGBTQ activist
Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin Parents of Trayvon Martin
2019 Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the United States House of Representatives [21]
Ava DuVernay Filmmaker, director, and film distributor [22]
Tarana Burke Activist and founder of the Me Too movement [23]
Margaret Atwood poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, inventor, teacher, and environmental activist [24]


  1. ^ "Logo Trailblazer Honors". The Shorty Awards. Retrieved 2018-06-22.
  2. ^ a b "VH1's Trailblazer Honors to highlight TV pioneer Ryan Murphy". WTOP. 2018-06-07. Retrieved 2018-06-22.
  3. ^ a b Nichols, JamesMichael (2015-06-23). "Judy And Dennis Shepard To Be Honored As 'Trailblazing Parents' At Logo 'Trailblazer Honors'". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2018-06-23.
  4. ^ Kornhaber, Spencer (2016-06-26). "Logo's 'Trailblazer Honors' Highlights the Urgency of LGBT Pride After Orlando". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2018-06-22.
  5. ^ Bolles, Alexandra (2014-06-23). "Bill Clinton to honor Edie Windsor on Logo as LGBT trailblazer". GLAAD. Retrieved 2018-06-23.
  6. ^ a b Nichols, JamesMichael (2015-06-27). "Miley Cyrus Opens Logo's 2015 'Trailblazer Honors,' Obama Addresses Crowd". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2018-06-22.
  7. ^ Friedlander, Whitney (2015-06-25). "Raven Symone, Martin Luther King III Among Speakers at Logo's Trailblazer Honors". Variety. Retrieved 2018-06-23.
  8. ^ a b Steinbach, Jesse (2015-06-11). "Adam Lambert to Perform at Logo's Trailblazer Honors". OUT. Retrieved 2018-06-23.
  9. ^ Tharrett, Matthew (2015-06-29). "Equality Pioneers Speak At Logo's Trailblazer Honors". LOGO News. Retrieved 2018-06-23.
  10. ^ Crowley, Patrick (2017-06-23). "Logo's Trailblazer Honors: Hayley Kiyoko, Alex Newell & Wrabel Tribute Cyndi Lauper With 'True Colors' Performance". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-06-23.
  11. ^ Latimer, Brian (24 June 2016). "Logo Honors Orlando Victims, LGBTQ Icons at Trailblazer Ceremony". NBC News. Retrieved 2018-06-22.
  12. ^ Corinthios, Aurelie (2018-06-19). "Lea Michele, Sterling K. Brown and More Celebrate 'Visionary' Ryan Murphy's VH1 Trailblazer Honor". People. Retrieved 2018-06-22.
  13. ^ Youtt, Henry (2018-06-22). "5 Standout Moments From VH1's 2018 Trailblazer Honors". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-06-22.
  14. ^ "Equality Pioneers Speak At Logo's Trailblazer Honors". NewNowNext. LOGO News. 2015-06-23. Retrieved 2018-06-23.
  15. ^ Friedlander, Whitney (2015-06-25). "Raven Symone, Martin Luther King III Among Speakers at Logo's Trailblazer Honors". Variety. Retrieved 2018-06-23.
  16. ^ Stack, Tim (2016-06-21). "Emma Stone to honor Billie Jean King at Logo's 'Trailblazer Honors'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2018-06-22.
  17. ^ Nudd, Tim (2014-06-26). "Orange Is the New Black's Laverne Cox Honors the Legacy of Stonewall at Logo's Trailblazer Awards". People. Retrieved 2018-06-22.
  18. ^ Avery, Dan (2015-06-01). "Logo TV Announces 2015 Trailblazer Honors". NewNowNext. LOGO News. Retrieved 2018-06-22.
  19. ^ Cooper, Matt (2017-06-22). "Friday's TV highlights: 'Trailblazer Honors' on Logo and VH1". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2018-06-22.
  20. ^ "Cyndi Lauper to Receive Logo's Trailblazer Honor". Valley Morning Star. 2017-06-02. Retrieved 2018-06-22 – via Newspapers.com.
  21. ^ Blistein, Jon (2019-03-07). "Watch Nancy Pelosi Celebrate Women in Congress at VH1 'Trailblazer Honors'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2020-05-29.
  22. ^ "Ava DuVernay to be Celebrated on 'VH1 Trailblazer Honors'". Billboard. 2019-01-29. Retrieved 2020-05-29.
  23. ^ Borge, Jonathan (2019-03-06). "Exclusive: Watch #MeToo Founder Tarana Burke's Uplifting Speech from VH1 Trailblazer Honors". Oprah Magazine. Retrieved 2020-05-29.
  24. ^ Kreps, Daniel (2019-02-13). "Margaret Atwood, Tarana Burke Added to VH1's Trailblazer Honors". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2020-05-29.

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