ABC's Emmy-winning show "Modern Family" got a bit more respect Friday evening. That was when the popular series was presented with the Respect Award by Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).
It should have been a happy occasion, but the night held a somber note. The recent suicides of several gay teens who had been victims of bullying underscored that there is still a long way to go.
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who both plays a gay character on the series and is gay in real life, told the Associated Press, "I do have the same sort of mixed feeling, in the light of everything that's happened. However, I think an event like this echoes the sentiment that we need to change. This cannot continue happening."
Ferguson noted that he had been "very bullied" in school. In fact, the bullying had been so bad that he'd had to change schools in eighth grade.
However, Ferguson noted that vindication came in the form of doing well for himself. He said, "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."
The award comes not long before Ally Week, which is October 18-22. The week was created as a way "to build upon the unifying work GSAs do across the country by encouraging people to be allies against anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools."