Elton was honoured by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) at the 11th Annual GLAAD Media Awards. He was presented with the Vito Russo Award at a ceremony in New York City April 2, 2000.
Named after founding member of GLAAD and author of The Celluloid Closet, the Vito Russo Award is presented to an openly lesbian or gay entertainment or media community member for outstanding contributions in combating homophobia.
Elton, wearing a leather blazer and pants and red eyeglasses, accepted his award from Judy Shepard, the mother of murdered gay student Mathew Shepard. He said he keeps a photo of Shepard in his kitchen. "It breaks my heart to look at that photograph,'' he told the audience of some 1,500 at a Manhattan hotel. "That he had to die -- but he didn't have to die in vain,'' he said.