Entertainment TV Jennifer Coolidge Jokes She's 'Surrounded by Gays' Before Receiving GLAAD Award from Jane Lynch "We all have a right to be who we are and to love the people that we love and tell our stories and celebrate that in every way that we can," Coolidge said while kicking off Thursday's GLAAD Media Awards By Janine Rubenstein Janine Rubenstein Instagram Twitter Janine Rubenstein is Editor-at-Large at PEOPLE and host of PEOPLE Every Day podcast, a daily dose of breaking news, pop culture and heartwarming human interest stories. Formerly Senior Editor of music content, she's also covered crime, human interest and television news throughout her many years with the brand. Prior to PEOPLE she's written for Essence, The Cape Times newspaper and Los Angeles Magazine among others. On-screen Rubenstein can be found featured on shows like Good Morning America and Entertainment Tonight and she routinely hosts PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly's star-studded Red Carpet Live specials. Follow the San Francisco native, Black Barbie collector and proud mom of two on Instagram and Twitter @janinerube People Editorial Guidelines Published on March 31, 2023 08:28 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Jennifer Coolidge. Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for GLAAD Unlike her beloved White Lotus character, Jennifer Coolidge had nothing to fear among friends at the 34th annual GLAAD Media Awards, held Thursday at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles. The Emmy-winning star, 61, got a standing ovation as she stepped on stage to open this year's show. And she was quick to remind the audience of the last time they saw her in such fabulous company. "Here I am again, surrounded by gays," she said, as a nod to her White Lotus character's infamous line (and ill-fated friendships) on the second season of the acclaimed HBO series. "Story of my life." Jennifer Coolidge on Life as a Surprise Superstar: 'People Like That I'm the Underdog' But the star quickly got serious. "We're here to honor media that helps the world understand and respect the LGBTQ+ community," said Coolidge. "You know, I have so much respect for the LGBTQ community and I just want you all to know that I love you and I thank you for always being there for me." "That's why I'm here, because I wanna give back," she continued. "That's really what the GLAAD Media Awards are all about and I just want to tank you all for being you and for inspiring me." For Coolidge, supporting the LGBTQ community is supporting humanity. "We all have a right to be who we are and to love the people that we love and tell our stories and celebrate that in every way that we can," she said. She was then celebrated herself, with GLAAD's Special Recognition Award. The honor was presented by Jane Lynch, Coolidge's longtime friend and collaborator (among their many projects together, the two famously played a lesbian couple in Christopher Guest's 2000 mocumentary Best in Show). "I love you, sweetie," Lynch told a surprised Coolidge, as the two embraced and Lynch handed Coolidge the trophy. Jane Lynch Says 'Party Down' Producers 'Will Find a Way' to Get Jennifer Coolidge to Return "This wonderful woman here was pro-gay before it was cool to be pro-gay," Lynch shared with the audience. "She is one of us, ladies and gentle. And I have always said that the world has to catch up to Jennifer Coolidge. And the world has caught up to Jennifer Coolidge! One of the best, ladies and gentleman!" Jennifer Coolidge and Jane Lynch. Michael Kovac/Getty Images for GLAAD Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. Thursday's GLAAD Media Awards also saw accolades go to Christina Aguilera, Bad Bunny, Jeremy Pope, and Guillermo de la Cruz (among others). Billy Eichner's Bros, the Amazon series A League of Their Own, Disney+'s Dancing with the Stars and Fox's 9-1-1: Lone Star were a few of the night's big winners too. Stars in attendance included Margaret Cho, Orville Peck, Angelica Ross, Betty Who, Gabrielle Union, Geena Davis, Joel Kim Booster, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Frankie Grande, Shangela, Gleb Savchenko, Abby Jacobson, Ts Madison, Brian Michael Smith, Rafael L. Silva, Abbott Elementary's Lisa Ann Walter and Vanessa Williams As for Coolidge, she will be hard to catch up with soon. Later in the night, she had the highest bid in the event's auction, shelling out $39,000 a luxury trip for two to Paris. The GLAAD Media Awards streams on Hulu April 12.