“Let me just say that no one of any race, gender identity, sexual orientation or abilities should have to face discrimination from their own government,” Light proclaimed after being presented GLAAD’s excellence in media award on Friday night at the Hilton Midtown.
More from Variety
Light appeared alongside Andrew Garfield in Netflix’s “Tick, Tick … Boom!” which was nominated for outstanding film. Garfield depicted “Rent” playwright Johnathan Larson, and a key figure in his journey was his best friend Michael, who feared he couldn’t pursue his acting career as a gay man during the AIDS crisis.
“[The film] shows what those early days of HIV were like in a really powerful, moving and poignant light,” Light continued. “People were dying, and yet it’s couched in this beautiful friendship and relationship. We need more of that.”
Light supported the LGBTQ+ community during the height of the AIDS epidemic in the early ‘90s. At one of GLAAD’s first award ceremonies, she honored casting director and AIDS activist Stephen Kolzak shortly after he passed away from the disease.
“My deep and emotional connection to this organization runs over three decades, literally from one pandemic to another,” Light said during her acceptance speech. “I look to this community to see if I’m being grateful enough, kind enough, aware enough, conscious enough, sensitive enough and speaking truth to power enough. You are my guidepost and my inspiration.”
“Star Trek: Discovery” actor Wilson Cruz was also granted the Vito Russo award, which is presented to a media figure who has made a significant difference by advocating for LGBTQ+ equality.
“I think we finally understand that our superpower has always been our visibility,” Cruz told Variety. “That’s what Vito Russo was talking about 40 years ago. He was telling us that our superpower was coming out of the closet and using our voices to tell our stories.”
Another star who walked the carpet to emphasize the importance of authentic representation was “Good Trouble” star Sherry Cola. In the show, which was nominated for outstanding drama series, she plays a lesbian first-generation Asian American character named Alice.
“You can really change the narrative in someone’s mind by showing a perspective,” Cola told Variety. “A lot of these people lack access and don’t understand these worlds, so they reject it. That’s why representation is important.”
Politico published a leaked draft opinion on Monday night that revealed the Supreme Court may strike down Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed a woman’s right to get an abortion. Cruz highlighted how LGBTQ+ rights could be endangered as the draft decision argues that privacy laws aren’t mentioned in the Constitution.
“If Roe v. Wade can be undone by these privacy laws being stripped, then they can use that same reasoning to take away gay marriage or interracial marriage,” Cruz said. “We could go back 100 years in terms of our laws and our rights. It’s the first time we’re talking about removing a right. It’s absurd. These people are insane.”
Cruz said that he believes the main way to fight back against discriminatory laws like Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education” bill is to vote in this year’s midterm elections.
“There are all these laws that are affecting our young people, and there’s only so much that they can do on their own behalf,” Cruz said. “We have to be their voice and vote in these midterms.”
He concluded, “I don’t know what happens if they get back in power.”
Now in its 33rd year, the annual GLAAD Media Awards celebrates television, film, music, comic books and journalism that have represented breakthroughs and advancements in LGBTQ+ representation. The New York ceremony announced the rest of the 30 recipients, after the April 2 ceremony in Los Angeles announced the initial group of honorees.
The ceremony featured performances by Dove Cameron, who performed her viral queer love song “Boyfriend,” while Pulitzer-Prize playwright Michael R. Jackson performed songs from his Broadway musical “A Strange Loop.” Other celebrities at the ceremony included Laverne Cox, Karine Jean-Pierre, Anthony Rapp, Cynthia Nixon, Dyllón Burnside, Jonathan Capehart, Nyle DiMarco, Tommy Dorfman, Rafael Silva, Ivory Aquino, Murray Hill, Sheryl Lee Ralph and GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.
During the ceremony, select award recipients were announced live, including “Power Rangers: Dino Fury,” which received an award for kids and family programming; “Sesame Street,” which was awarded for children’s programming; “HIV/AIDS: 40 Years Later,” a “Today” package which received a nod for best TV journalism segment; and “Pose,” which won outstanding drama series. Remaining awards were announced on social media, which included Lil Nas X for his 2021 debut album “Montero,” ongoing Broadway productions of “Company” and “Thoughts of a Colored Man” and “The Oprah Conversation” episode with Elliot Page.
View a full list of the GLAAD award winners below.
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, “Monetero” (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)
Best of Variety