On Friday night in New York, GLAAD—the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization—announced the recipients of the awards for the remaining 16 categories at the 33rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards, following its Los Angeles event on April 2nd. Community members, allies, activists and stars walked the red carpet at the Hilton Midtown, and there were appearances on stage from Laverne Cox, Karine Jean-Pierre, Anthony Rapp, Cynthia Nixon, Dyllón Burnside, Jonathan Capehart, Nyle DiMarco, Tommy Dorfman, Rafael Silva, Ivory Aquino, Stephen Dunn, Murray Hill, Sheryl Lee Ralph, GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis, and more.
The ceremony, which was hosted by celebrity Peloton instructor Cody Rigbsy and recording artist, actress, GLAAD Board Member, and drag performer Peppermint, opened with a stunning performance by Dove Cameron of her brooding epic noir pop hit Boyfriend, and later in the evening there was a stirring performance of Memory Song from Broadway’s A Strange Loop by the musical’s Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, composer, and lyricist Michael R. Jackson.
As previously announced, actor, producer, and activist Wilson Cruz was honoured with the organization’s Vito Russo Award, named after the writer, GLAAD founder, and ACT UP activist who pushed open the door for news and entertainment industries to include LGBTQ performers and stories. The award is presented to an LGBTQ media professional who has made a significant difference in accelerating LGBTQ acceptance.
On the red carpet ahead of the awards show, Wilson Cruz spoke exclusively with The Queer Review about what this recognition from GLAAD means to him. “The only word that is appropriate and captures it all is that I’m completely overwhelmed. I literally grew up with this organization; on stage, working here, and on the board. I was 20-years-old when I attended my first GLAAD Awards. I know what what goes into picking an honoree, and why they do it, and it’s very moving to me that they chose me this year.”
On the power of representation Wilson Cruz added, “Playing Rickie Vasquez on My So Called Life made me feel seen.” Talking about his fellow GLAAD honouree, Judith Light, Cruz told us, “There’s nobody more deserving. She should have been the first recipient of this award. She’s been in our corner the entire time. Whenever I went to an event, a protest, or a fundraiser in LA or New York, Judith was always there. Whenever we needed anybody to speak, or raise money, she never said ‘no’, and she’s been doing it longer than I’ve been alive. I have nothing but respect and love for her and the fact that we’ve become friends through the years and I get to share this with her tonight only magnifies the honour.”
Watch the full Interview:
Cruz was introduced to the GLAAD Awards stage by his friend, journalist Jonathan Capehart. During his acceptance speech Cruz said, “This year marks my 30th anniversary as a professional actor and in those 30 years we have accomplished so much. We really have changed the conversation. I know these last few years have been really difficult for us and I know we’re all tired, but I fear what happens if we disengage now when our kids need us the most. We cannot sit back and celebrate our victory on gay marriage and forget that our youth, our trans siblings, our immigrant families, abortion access, and our voting rights are under direct attack and if you think they’re going to stop at abortion and not come for those marriage rights next, you haven’t been paying enough attention. We can not allow them to turn the clock back to a time when they thought they could shame us into silence or inaction, using the same tired tropes, like groomer or worse, while they burn our books. Not today, because we’ve moved on. We know better. Listen to me, I’m on Star Trek! I have been to the future. In the future, we don’t just accept the diversity of humanity, we celebrate it. We can’t allow them to roll back our rights because they refuse to evolve. People love who they love and people know who they are. It’s as simple as that.”
Watch Wilson Cruz’s full acceptance speech:
Later in the evening, actress and advocate Ariana DeBose, who recently made history as the first openly queer woman of colour to win an Academy Award, took to the stage to present GLAAD’s Excellence in Media Award—which recognizes allies of the LGBTQ community who have made a significant difference in promoting LGBTQ acceptance—to actress, producer, and activist Judith Light. Before she spoke about Light, DeBose was encouraged by awards host Peppermint to sing a blast of Somewhere (There’s A Place For Us) from West Side Story.
Watch presenter Ariana DeBose and host Peppermint sing at the 33rd GLAAD Media Awards:
Speaking with The Queer Review on the GLAAD Awards red carpet, Judith Light reflected on what being honoured by GLAAD means to her, “I hold myself in deep respect and honour of this community. This community has nurtured and inspired me and taught me how to live. So it means everything.”
During her acceptance speech on stage Light sounded the alarm about the current wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in many states across the nation, “There are deeply destructive bills in Florida, Alabama and Texas. No one of any race, gender identity, sexual orientation or ability should have to face discrimination from their own government.”
Watch Ariana DeBose present Judith Light with GLAAD’s Excellence in Media Award:
In one of the evening’s most memorable moments, Karine Jean-Pierre—who was announced as the first Black and first LGBTQ White House Press Secretary earlier this week—was introduced to the GLAAD Awards stage by Peppermint to a rapturous standing ovation. Jean-Pierre acknowledged the incredibly warm reception from attendees with the words, “Thank you, family. As a member of the LGBTQ community, family, I am excited to be here with all of you to show that visibility matters. Representation matters for all marginalized communities at every intersection.” Alongside outgoing GLAAD Board Chair Pamela Stewart, Jean-Pierre introduced GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis to the stage.
“I was hoping to come to you tonight and review all of the groundbreaking work GLAAD has done since we were last together”, said Sarah Kate Ellis, “or talk about the explosive growth of our community, now that more than 20% of young people are LGBTQ. But then came the leak on Monday night. The attack on Roe vs Wade is an assault on all of us, especially those of us in marginalized communities. Roe has been the law of the land for 50 years, and it’s going to be gone in an instant. Marriage equality hasn’t even been around for a decade. There is a direct line from Roe to Casey to Obergefell to the end of Marriage Equality and Employment Protections. We’ve got nine justices standing between us and our families, our jobs, and our future. And six of them will happily walk you right back into the closet. So help us pass the Equality Act this summer and then this fall vote because your marriage, your job, your ability to control your own body, and our future depends on it.”
“It is all hands on deck”, continued Sarah Kate Ellis. “We are being censored, silenced. The parents of our LGBTQ youth are being criminalized. Our bodies, trans and cis, are being put under government control. Medical practitioners are losing their licenses for helping trans kids with life-saving care. Educators are losing their jobs for creating inclusive spaces. Turn on Fox News, OAN, at any given time and they are flooding the airwaves with baseless stories and dangerous rhetoric. Which leads to us losing our safety.”
“Since January, nearly 250 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced across the country”, added Sarah Kate Ellis. “This is a full out culture war. Luckily, GLAAD knows how to fight back. We flood airwaves, websites, social media and news outlets with our stories to humanize ourselves and our community. We work with social media companies to end misgendering and deadnaming, and combat disinformation and harassment. We consult with news organizations, producers and studios, many of whom are in this room tonight, to help create content that is accurate and representative of the queer community. And for the corporate leaders here tonight, we need you to speak out against anti-LGBTQ legislation and for the Equality Act. When CEOs tell me it’s a political issue, I tell them ‘no, it’s a human issue that impacts
your employees and your consumers. Don’t post rainbows during Pride then look away the rest of the year.’ GLAAD is determined to protect all that has been accomplished for our community while leading a new path forward for the next generation.”
During the ceremony, GLAAD announced the recipients for the following categories live on stage:
Pose received the award for Outstanding Drama Series
Power Rangers received the award for Outstanding Kids & Family Programming
Sesame Street received the award for Outstanding Children’s Programming
“HIV/AIDS: 40 Years Later” TODAY (NBC) received the award for Outstanding TV Journalism Segment
“This year’s GLAAD Media Awards come at a time where LGBTQ visibility and storytelling can be the frontline response to a dangerous rise in anti-LGBTQ legislation around the country,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “Our nominees and award recipients, including Pose, Sesame Street, Eternals, Hacks, Lil Nas X, We’re Here and so many journalists and news producers showcase the beautiful diversity of LGBTQ people. At a time when we need it most, these stories, these stories rise against hate, enlighten, entertain, and send an undeniable message: we are not going anywhere.”
Off-stage, GLAAD also announced the remaining winners of select GLAAD Media Awards categories. Here’s a full list of all categories and award recipients from the 33rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards in both New York and Los Angeles:
Outstanding New TV Series: Hacks (HBO Max)
Outstanding Comedy Series: Saved by the Bell (Peacock)
Outstanding Drama Series: POSE (FX)
Outstanding Film – Wide Release: Eternals (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Outstanding Reality Program: (TIE) RuPaul’s Drag Race (VH1) and We’re Here (HBO)
Outstanding Documentary: Changing the Game (Hulu)
Outstanding TV Movie: Single All The Way (Netflix)
Outstanding Film – Limited Release: Parallel Mothers (Sony Pictures Classics)
Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series: It’s A Sin (HBO MAX)
Outstanding Children’s Programming: “Family Day” Sesame Street (HBO Max)
Outstanding Kids & Family Programming: Power Rangers: Dino Fury (Nickelodeon/Netflix)
Outstanding Music Artist: Lil Nas X, MONTERO (Columbia Records)
Outstanding Breakthrough Music Artist: Lily Rose, Stronger Than I Am (Big Loud Records/Back Blocks Music/Republic Records)
Outstanding Broadway Production: (TIE) COMPANY and Thoughts of a Colored Man
Outstanding Video Game: Life is Strange: True Colors (Deck Nine Games/Square Enix)
Outstanding Comic Book: Crush & Lobo (DC Comics)
Outstanding Original Graphic Novel/Anthology: Cheer Up! Love and Pompoms (Oni Press)
Outstanding Magazine Overall Coverage: The Advocate
Outstanding Variety or Talk Show Episode: “Elliot Page” The Oprah Conversation (Apple TV+)
Outstanding TV Journalism Segment: “HIV/AIDS: 40 Years Later” TODAY (NBC)
Outstanding TV Journalism – Long-Form: “Pride of The White House” (MSNBC)
Outstanding Print Article: “Lawmakers Can’t Cite Local Examples of Trans Girls in Sports” by David Crary & Lindsay Whitehurst (The Associated Press)
Outstanding Online Journalism Article: “‘No Time For Intolerance:’ Dr. Rachel Levine Has A Job To Do” by Dawn Ennis (Forbes.com)
Outstanding Online Journalism – Video or Multimedia: “Transnational” [series] by Eva Reign, Alyza Enriquez, Freddy McConnell, Vivek Kemp, Courtney Brooks, Sarah Burke, Hendrik Hinzel, Alyza Enriquez, Dan Ming, Trey Strange, and Daisy Wardell (VICE News)
Outstanding Blog: Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents
Outstanding Spanish-Language Scripted Television Series: Maricón Perdido (HBO Max)
Outstanding Spanish-Language TV Journalism: “Orgullo LGBTQ: 52 Años de Lucha y Evolución” (Telemundo 47)
Outstanding Spanish-Language Online Journalism Article: (TIE) “Claudia: La Enfermera Trans que Lucha Contra el Covid en Ciudad Juárez” por Louisa Reynolds (Nexos.com) and “Somos Invisibles”: La Discriminación y los Riesgos se Multiplican para los Indígenas LGBTQ+” por Albinson Linares (Telemundo.com)
Outstanding Spanish-Language Online Journalism – Video or Multimedia: “Expulsados México: Cómo la Comunidad Transgénero se Unió para Ayudar a los Migrantes” por Patricia Clarembaux, Anna Clare Spelman, y Celemente Sánchez (Univision Noticias)
Special Recognition: All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson [filmed reading + performance]
Special Recognition: “Alok Vaid-Menon” 4D with Demi Lovato (Cadence13/OBB Sound/SB Projects)
Special Recognition: CODED: The Hidden Love of J.C. Leyendecker (Paramount+)
Special Recognition: Jeopardy! Champion Amy Schneider
Special Recognition: The Laverne Cox Show (Shondaland Audio/iHeartMedia)
Special Recognition: Life Out Loud with LZ Granderson (ABC News)
Special Recognition: Outsports’ Coverage of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics
Special Recognition (Spanish-Language): “Celebrando el Mes del Orgullo” (Telemundo)
The nominees for the 33rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards were published, released, or broadcast between January 1st 2021 and December 31st 2021. For a full list of nominees, click here.
The GLAAD Media Awards honour media for fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of LGBTQ people and issues and the money raised as the ceremonies fund GLAAD’s work to accelerate LGBTQ acceptance.
Since its inception in 1990, the GLAAD Media Awards have grown to be the most visible annual LGBTQ awards show in the world, sending powerful messages of acceptance to audiences globally.