The 25th annual GLAAD Media Awards, held this past weekend in New York by the LGBT advocacy group, recognized English- and Spanish-language TV shows, film, blogs, musical artists, and various news media for “fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.” Seemingly a low bar to clear, it’s a reminder of how much pop culture still trades in broad stereotypes. The good news is that excellent TV shows and films are currently being made that treat LGBT characters with the same depth and complexities afforded straight and cis characters.
This year, GLAAD Media Awards went to Orange Is The New Black, which won for Outstanding Comedy Series and features transgender actress Laverne Cox and several lesbian characters; Philomena, which won for Outstanding Film - Wide Release; and Elementary, which won Outstanding Individual Episode for “Snow Angels,” featuring transgender actress Candis Cayne. GLAAD published a full list of winners on its website.
The Vito Russo Award, named for the gay rights activist and film historian, was presented to everybody’s favorite Facebook and Twitter friend, George Takei, known for playing Sulu on the original Star Trek TV series and for generally being awesome. The award is given to “an openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality.” Takei was cited for his work for marriage equality, anti-LGBT bullying, and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. He also spoke out in 2011 against Tennessee’s proposed “Don’t Say Gay” bill, lending his name to the cause.