GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, honored the Emmy Award-winning ABC comedy Modern Family at the Respect Awards in Los Angeles on Friday, October 8. The event was hosted by Rob Reiner.
The series, which recently began its second season, focuses on a diverse suburban family, including a gay couple with an adopted Asian daughter. It won the 2010 Emmy Award for Best Comedy Series. Many of the series stars attended the event.
"I do have the same sort of mixed feeling, in the light of everything that's happened," noted Jesse Tyler Ferguson of Modern Family, who is openly gay. "However, I think an event like this echoes the sentiment that we need to change. This cannot continue happening."
The Emmy-nominated Ferguson, 34, said he was "very bullied" in school.
"I actually had to leave eighth grade and go to another school because it got so bad, so I certainly sympathize with these kids," Fergueson noted, adding that bullied students should keep reminding themselves that school won't last forever. "Honestly, back at my 10-year reunion, I didn't even remember any of those bullies' names. Frankly, they weren't doing nearly as good as me. So, it was very vindicating."
Sofia Vergara, said acceptance of gays and lesbians in the Latin community "is very hard, because it's very taboo," she explained.
"The Latin community is a very Catholic community," continued Vergara, 38. "So, it's always a problem for people to accept it, and they live in denial for many years, the parents, and prefer not to address the problem. And that's when tragedies and things happen. And, you know, it's hard. You're not going to change things in one day."