On Oct. 15, television chef, cooking entrepreneur and gay rights activist Sandra Lee was honored by Elton John and the Elton John AIDS Foundation with the Enduring Vision Award for her contributions towards LGBTQ advocacy and awareness.
The 47-year-old TV host received her honor at the Elton John AIDs Foundation’s An Enduring Vision Gala, which was held in New York and hosted by Anderson Cooper.
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In a stunning off the shoulder 1959 Dior dress, Sandra was commended as “a long-term supporter of EJAF and other HIV/AIDS and LGBT civil rights organizations.”
Sandra has been a loyal ally to the gay community, since her youngest brother, Johnny—who is she particularly close with—came out in 1998 to her when he was 18.
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When speaking to Out magazine in 2009, Sandra explained that Johnny's coming out helped shape her attitude towards equality.
"I think that's why I have a thoughtful sensitivity and openness and an accepting quality," she explained.
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According to an article in the New York Times, Johnny's experience also motivated Sandra to push her boyfriend, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, into legalizing same-sex marriage--which he ultimately did, when he signed NY's Marriage Equality Act into law in July 2011.
At the 2011 GLAAD Media Awards, the Food Network star said she was "so proud" of her beau's efforts for marriage equality.
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At the end of the day, "I like to make life easier," she told Out.
Which shouldn't be surprising to hear from Sandra, who—after all—made an entire career from making people's lives easier. Since introducing her semi-homemade line, her brand has expanded to an empire—which includes multiple cooking shows, a magazine, several cookbook and more!
In addition to Sandra, former Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton, business mogul Ronald Perelman and founding EJAF Board member Howard Rose were honored as well.