The 29th annual GLAAD Media Awards took place tonight in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hilton to honor media for fair, accurate and inclusive representations of LGBTQ people and issues. The ceremony champions the LGBTQ community and its allies, but tonight’s ceremony seemed extra special as an ongoing theme of the evening of unity and visibility shined strongly in the divisive darkness of the current social climate and presidential administration.
The ceremony kicked off with host Wanda Sykes bringing her brand of humor as she cracked jokes and called out special guests of the audience. “Halle Berry is here…thanks for making everyone look ugly,” she said. She then pointed out Ryan Murphy in the audience saying, “If you need to borrow money, he’s your man.”
Sykes also didn’t stray away from cracking on Kevin Spacey suggesting that he isn’t working in the industry anymore and is now an Uber driver. “Give him 5 stars!” she exclaimed.
The night included Ricky Martin presenting Britney Spears with the Vanguard Award and Ryan Murphy and the entire cast of The Boys In The Band revival honoring Jim Parsons with the Stephen F. Kolzak Award. Spears praised the LGBTQ community for championing her career while Parsons gave an inspiring speech illustrating his journey as an LGBTQ actor. That went along with the night’s theme of unity and progress in a time of struggle.
Although the evening started with a montage of news footage of the marginalization and oppression of the LGBTQ community, there was an air of hope throughout the evening. Speakers, presenters, and award recipients continued to carry and make the torch of GLAAD’s message of acceptance burn brighter.
GLAAD’s signature ampersand pin that promotes the advocacy organization’s “Together Movement” was worn by nearly everyone in the audience while actors like Chloe Grace Moretz, Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s Stephanie Beatriz, This Is Us actor Dennis O’Hare and GLAAD CEO and President Sarah Kate Ellis continued to speak the power of change. Wilson Cruz took the stage with his Star Trek: Discovery co-star Anthony Rapp who said that GLAAD was instrumental in his #MeToo moment. Laila Ireland and El Cook, two subjects in the GLAAD-funded documentary TransMilitary, also took the stage to speak out against the looming ban of trans men and women in the military.
But the theme of the evening could be best described by Lena Waithe, who won for the groundbreaking “Thanksgiving” episode of Master of None. Always the one for giving a stand-on-your-feet acceptance speech of empowerment, Waithe pointed out that the reason why she uses the word “queer” is because it is an umbrella term and that everyone in the LGBTQ community has to support each other whether they are gay, trans, non-binary, asexual, or bisexual.
“Our struggle is different, but the pain is the same,” she said. “Let’s conitue to tell our stories because the more visible we are, the less they can act like we are invisible.”
Read the complete list of GLAAD Media Awards here. If you want to watch the GLAAD Media Awards, Logo will air the ceremony on April 18 at 8 PM ET/PT.