here! Networks, a national gay television network the features gay and lesbian programming 24/7 and which has in the past been a major sponsor of GLAAD’s Media Awards, sent out a notice via e-mail to their actors, writers, directors and producers stating that the network will no longer support the GLAAD Media Awards or GLAAD until their policy of excluding gay media is changed to be “fair and inclusive.”
The mission of the GLAAD Media Awards is to “recognize and honor mainstream media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.”
But this year (thank God!), their exclusion of gay media is being challenged.
Good for them!
While the GLAAD Media Awards has made several upgrades over the past couple of years, including adding a Spanish Language media category, it still continues to ignore the Black media and Black gay works, including “Noah’s Arc,” which as groundbreaking as it was, was never eligible for a nomination because it aired on a gay network, and the gay media can’t submit for consideration. The same went for Debra Wilson’s “Jumping the Broom” and “Butch Mystique.".
At least the NAACP Image Awards will take your submission money, let you submit your works, and send you on your way with the feeling of you might really have a chance to win a nomination even though you know like they know that a gay television series or film getting a NAACP nomination is about as likely as the closeted Black actor that did… coming out.
So why exclude gay media from the gay media awards?
That’s sort of like the NAACP Image Awards excluding BET and TV One from submitting their shows for an Image Award.
Apparently, the GLAAD board of directors feels that the mission of GLAAD is to acknowledge and support mainstream media for the efforts at telling our stories and making our lives visible. Let me rephrase that, the GLAAD board of directors feels that the mission of GLAAD is to acknowledge and support white and Spanish language mainstream media for the efforts at telling our stories and making our lives visible, because as I already mentioned Black mainstream media is almost always excluded.
So is mainstream media straight?
That’s what the executives at here! want to know. To quote one of their executives, “It is a defining moment when a LGBT civil rights organization equates mainstream and straight as synonymous implying that fringe and LGBT are also synonymous.”
Another interesting point made by the folks at here! was that while you can legislate equal protection under the law, it is television that has the ability to change the hearts and minds of all people, including gays and lesbians.
I would have to agree. While “Noah’s Arc” had a large gay following, it also had a large heterosexual Black female following as well. By that show airing on Logo, Black women, who for the most part would be considered a part of “mainstream America” and who would have had no other reason to watch Logo, tuned in weekly to watch a show that helped to change the mindset of many of them about the lives of Black gay men. The same could probably be said of Showtime’s “L Word” series which also attracts a huge following of heterosexual men.
Just like with the Image Awards and Blacks, the GLAAD Media Awards is pretty much the venue for gay media to be acknowledged and honored in the industry. Excluding gay media from the equation doesn’t make sense, especially when we’ve arrived at point in time where gay programming isn’t only being watch by gays.
The DL Chronicles, another groundbreaking series, will be premiering this Spring on here!. There are several other Black lesbian and gay film and television projects in the works that will probably be acquired by the gay media and beamed into the homes of millions. Sadly, their chances of being acknowledged by Black America with an Image Award are just as dismal as their chances of being nominated for a Media Award.
If GLAAD can come out of pocket and design an entire section of its Media Awards to honor Spanish language media then it should be able to incorporate both the Black media and the gay media into the mix, thus making it truly fair and inclusive.
And by the way, can someone please explain why GLAAD won’t let the gay media submit for its awards but has no problem taking the gay media’s money and using gay television networks to air their Media Awards?
The Court of Public Opinion is Now Open…
Should GLAAD be excluding the gay media from submitting for it’s annual Media Awards?