Father Tony

GLAAD Announces Nominees, Special Honorees for 21st Annual GLAAD Media Awards

Filed By Father Tony | January 14, 2010 2:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: Adam Lambert, Glee, Jarrett Barrios, media, Media Awards, online media

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has announced its latest batch of English language and Spanish language award nominees.

Yesterday, GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios called me to make his regularly scheduled confession. When it became obvious that he had committed no particularly savory sins, I turned the conversation to the business of these annual awards, asking him about the process for selecting the nominees. He told me that GLAAD enjoys the help of a team of industry professionals who devise the list as volunteers.

It seems to me that making these kinds of awards is more of an art than a science, but Jarrett told me that there are four basic criteria governing the selection process.

"The first is fair, accurate and inclusive representations. That means rather than portraying the LGBT community in broad stereotypes, the project deals with the characters or themes in a fair, accurate, and multi-dimensional manner. Second, we look for boldness and originality and that means that the project should break new ground by exploring LGBT subject matter in non-traditional ways and handling the LGBT content in a fresh and original manner. Third is impact. The project should have significant cultural impact and it should dramatically increase the cultural dialogue about LGBT issues, or reach an audience that is not regularly exposed to LGBT images and issues. Fourth and finally, we look at overall quality. A project of extremely high quality adds significance to the images and issues portrayed and draws more viewers or readers to the material. OK?"

"Yup," I said, "That's pretty much what I figured, but I am not seeing Bilerico anywhere in the nominations so I guess that leads me to a question about how GLAAD views the ascendency of electronic media."

"Electronic media is getting more and more attention from GLAAD." Jarrett answered. "Look for an increase in our focus on electronic media in 2010 and some really significant GLAAD focus on it in 2011. GLAAD has provided significant training in electronic messaging on the local level in states like Iowa."

"OK, well if Bilerico isn't going to get honored this year, can you at least fix it so that Adam Lambert and the cast of Glee are winners because if I'm going to cover the awards ceremonies, those are the people I want to meet."


"Jarrett? Jarrett? Are you still there?"

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I'm shocked the movie Outrage with Mike Rogers in it wasn't awarded a prize.

The most noticeable trans-related nomination is for a Good Morning America interview of Chaz Bono, which was neither groundbreaking nor especially informative. By contrast, truTV did a national broadcast of the murderer of Angie Zapata, the first case in the US being tried as a hate crime against a trans person, was NOT nominated. Maybe they just wanted to make certain Chaz came to the LA awards ceremony, after all, Angie Zapata is just another murdered trans Latina. There is also the Puff Daddy Show about creating a band which had one trans contestant. Logo had zero trans-related programming last year apart from the RuPaul's Drag Race (and RuPaul does not identify as transgender, has said as such many times, along with making many offensive remarks towards the trans community).

Moreover, people who frequently disseminate transphobia get nominated because they're supposedly positive towards "the LGBT community", like Joy Behar (who has made a number of nasty cracks on The View about men wearing dresses, saying "it's just wrong"). Last year, Tyra Banks won an award, partly for her work as a trans ally, yet Tyra has a highly exploitive relationship towards trans people, often sensationalizing them and objectifying them. At one point on Top Model, she told a cisgender contestant "you look very masculine... even Isis (the trans contestant from the previous cycle) who is transgender looks more feminine than you and she was born a man."

Moreover, in their media guide surrounding the awards, they gave 1 entire sentence to a discussion of trans media inclusion (there isn't much). The number of trans depictions in media in the last 4 years has gone down both numerically and even in terms of quality and accuracy yet GLAAD says nothing. Nor do they say anything when LGB people make transphobic statements as Michael Musto recently did on Keith Olbermann's show. No doubt they will point to their reaction to the Letterman skit about Amanda Simpson to show what trans allies they are and will invite Chaz Bono, Candice Cayne or Calpernia Addams to one of their awards shows and that's trans inclusion. They'll get Danielle Sea up on the podium to talk about the trans community (which she isn't a part of) and how wonderful the L Word is (no matter how offensive and unrealistic their portrayal of transmen is). And we're supposed to ignore the fact that GLAAD has no trans employees and how poor a media advocate they really are for our community.