Comedy show “Schitt’s Creek”, late night host Lilly Singh, drama series “Star Trek: Discovery” and music artist Sam Smith were among the recipients of this year’s GLAAD Media Awards.
Streaming giant Netflix came out on top with three wins: Ryan Murphy’s film adaptation of “The Boys in the Band” won the film’s Outstanding Release Award; “Disclosure,” on Hollywood’s portrayal of transgender people, won the Outstanding Documentary Award; and “She-Ra & The Princesses of Power” tied Hulu’s “First Day” in the Outstanding Programming for Kids and Family category.
LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD has organized this annual event for more than three decades to honor a fair, accurate and inclusive portrayal of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people in the media.
This year’s virtual event, hosted by actor Niecy Nash, aired on YouTube Thursday evening. There were nearly 200 nominees in 28 categories, including Outstanding Music Artist, Outstanding Video Game and Outstanding Drama Series.
“Movies and TV shows are like empathy machines,” Sarah Kate Ellis, CEO of GLAAD, said at the ceremony. “What people see and hear in the media impacts the decisions we make in schools, offices, living rooms, courtrooms and at the polls. It’s not about shame or cancel anyone. It’s about using a moment to educate and create accountability. “
In addition to celebrating the winners, the ceremony highlighted pressing issues affecting the LGBTQ community, such as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, HIV awareness, and the epidemic of violence against transgender women of color.
Disclosure executive producer Laverne Cox sent a message of hope to the trans community in her acceptance speech.
“We’re looking for people to move beyond radical acceptance to radical acceptance, to radical self-love,” said Cox, best known for playing in “Orange Is the New Black”. “To the trans young people watching right now, we want you to know that you are anointed, that despite all the attacks that could happen against you, you are divine. You deserve to be. You are here for a reason. You must survive to accomplish this divine purpose. “
Teenage YouTube sensation JoJo Siwa, who made headlines this year after revealing she was gay, sent a special message to LGBTQ youth before presenting ‘Sesame Street’ puppet Elmo with the lineup award for exceptional children.
“It’s pretty important that people my age can look at me and say, ‘Hey, I know someone who’s LGBTQ, and she’s really, really happy,’ ‘said Siwa, 17. safe or welcoming environments. … I just feel very honored to have a platform to tell everyone, ‘Be who you are, love who you love and do it with pride.’ “
In its annual “Where We Are on TV” report for this year, GLAAD found that LGBTQ visibility fell 33 percent on cable, 13 percent on streaming services and just over 1 percent on network television in the current television season. The organization attributed the declines to production stoppages due to the pandemic.
“We hope this is just a failure and not the start of a trend,” Ellis said at the time, suggesting that the overall drop was largely due to fewer shows. “Content is more important than ever and it’s having a bigger impact than ever. So, for us, we’re delighted that the drop wasn’t as big as it could have been. But, if all things are are otherwise equal, so even if the amount of programs decreases, the performance should not. “
Even though overall LGBTQ representation was on the decline, the racial diversity of queer characters was on the rise: For the first time in the history of the report, there were more LGBTQ people of color than white LGBTQ characters on screen, people of color representing 53% of regular people. and recurring LGBTQ characters in aired series, 52% on cable shows and 47% on streaming platform originals.
Thursday’s GLAAD Media Awards included appearances by Dan Levy, Katy Perry and Wilson Cruz, as well as performances by Grammy-nominated rapper Chika, YouTube star Rebecca Black and singer-songwriter Jessica Betts ( who married Niecy Nash last year). The cast of “Glee” also virtually reunited for a special tribute to late actor Naya Rivera, who played lesbian cheerleader Santana Lopez on the hit show Fox.
The full list of GLAAD Media Award winners is available on the organization’s website, and the ceremony can be viewed on demand on Hulu through June.
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