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GLAAD Media Awards

GLAAD honors the Los Angeles Blade at annual LA media awards

Publisher and founder of the Los Angeles Blade Troy Masters accepted the award on behalf of the newspaper and its staff

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Christina Aguilera presented with this year’s GLAAD's Advocate for Change Award by Club Q shooting survivor Michael Anderson (Photo by Dawn Ennis)

BEVERLY HILLS – Those adorned in glitter and gowns and engaged in gay banter on the GLAAD Media Awards red carpet Thursday evening catapulted into an even more festive mood when word spread of the indictment of former President Donald Trump. 

“Somebody literally just told me that,” Austin, Texas drag performer Brigitte Bandit told the Los Angeles Blade. “I’m still taking it in right now. I feel great!” 

“I am trying really hard not to gloat, but as you can see, I am salivating! I am actually salivating!” Abbott Elementary actor Lisa Ann Walter said to the throng of reporters on the red carpet. 

“I grew up in the D.C. area, and all my friends are intensely political. I have been my whole life. I’m an activist now. I’ve been following it every single day. Every single day, since I was 16, no, my whole life! When I was 8-years old and I’d stuff envelopes,” Walter said. “This was a really important day for the rule of law. It’s not about revenge. It’s a little bit about karma. But it’s mostly about the American way. And the beauty of this country that justice is blind. And you can’t be an outright, freakin’ criminal for the majority of your adult life and expect to get away with it. At some point, you have to say, ‘Enough is enough.’ And I’m happy that today is that day!” 

“Abbott Elementary” actor Lisa Ann Walter reacts to the news of Donald Trump’s indictment:

“We’ve been celebrating,” Kristen Ellis-Henderson, said wife of GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “Yes! Can you believe it? And we’re already dressed up and at a party!” 

Following the red carpet, the 34th annual GLAAD Media Awards kicked-off with host Margaret Cho, who got the crowd cheering when she announced Trump’s indictment from the stage at the Beverly Hilton. 

Publisher and founder of the Los Angeles Blade Troy Masters with Los Angeles Blade diversity reporter Simha Haddad
(Photo by Dawn Ennis)

“I’m celebrating along with everyone else. I think it’s wonderful,” said Los Angeles Blade diversity reporter Simha Haddad. Haddad and others when asked what they would tell Trump if they were to find themselves seated next to the indicted former president at the awards show. “I have so much to say. Firstly, why? How dare you? And please leave,” said Haddad.

“I’m going to say, ‘Enjoy your last meal, honey. Enjoy your last meal before prison. I hear they don’t serve very good food in New York state lockup,’” said dancer and YouTube personality Frankie Grande, brother of Ariana Grande. 

Actors Jennifer Coolidge and her surprise guest Jane Lynch shared the spotlight for a Best in Show reunion. “​​I believe we all have the right to be who we are, love who we love, tell our stories, and celebrate that in every way we can,” Coolidge told attendees of the sold-out show.

The TV series A League Of Their Own, What We Do In The Shadows and the film Bros were among the 15 winners announced in a total of 33 categories.

Jillian Mercado, star of The L Word: Generation Q, introduced the awards for outstanding journalism with out trans director and Emmy-nominated producer Geena Rocero, including a very special honor for the Los Angeles Blade: 

“In the room tonight, a winner of GLAAD’s Barbara Gittings Award for Excellence in LGBTQ Media, the Los Angeles Blade,” said Mercado. “LGBTQ media like the Blade are lifelines. They need our support! Advertisers, I’m looking at you!” 

The slide that accompanied the announcement of the award to the LA Blade during the event Thursday evening. The physical awards presentations and acceptances were carried out backstage afterwards. (Photo by Dawn Ennis)

Publisher and founder of the Los Angeles Blade Troy Masters accepted the award on behalf of the newspaper and its staff.

Actor and singer Jeremy Pope with Los Angles Blade publisher Troy Masters (Photo by Dawn Ennis)

Club Q shooting survivor Michael Anderson took to the stage to honor the five people murdered in Colorado Springs last November. Anderson said it was Christina Aguilera “who has inspired generations to fight for acceptance” as he presented her with this year’s Advocate for Change Award.

Anderson was accompanied to the awards by fellow survivors James Slaugh and Jancarlos Del Valle, who told the Blade the shooting at Club Q have not discouraged them from clubbing. “It made me more resolved to be my authentic self,” Del Valle said. “I will not back down from someone with a gun because love is always going to be stronger than bullets, 100% of the time.”

Slaugh told the Blade: “I was already repressed for 30 years before I came out, so this event didn’t really change anything for me. I’m still going to be who I am.”

Ricky Martin presented Bad Bunny with the Vanguard Award, and Gabrielle Union presented Jeremy Pope with the Stephen F. Kolzak Award.

The award for Outstanding Documentary went to cast of Framing Agnes, announced by Vanessa Williams and Michelle Visage. Despite laryngitis, Williams spoke out against the wave of anti-LGBTQ legislation being proposed and enacted nationwide. “I stand here tonight in allyship with the LGBTQ community,” she said. “Over the years, I’ve watched my LGBTQ friends shift from silence and fear to confidence, advocacy, and non-stop Pride. And I am not about to let a politician, a so-called “journalist,” or any kind of hater push my friends back in the closet,” Williams said.

Earlier Thursday night, the Blade asked Williams and other stars what their message was for Trans Day of Visibility. The singer, actress and former Miss America said to “keep bashing those doors down.”

“We’ve seen how uncomfortable it makes people that don’t understand and will never understand. So, just know that you have to sit in your truth, and know that you feel good about who you are,” Williams told the Blade. “There will be allies and there will be helpful people no matter where you go. So just trust that.” 

Photo by Dawn Ennis

One of the red carpet highlights was out trans nonbinary actor Blu del Barrio from the Paramount+ streaming series Star Trek Discovery, who wore a yellow rain coat with the words TRANS JOY painted on its back. 

“This week has been really hard,” they said. “And I’ve been really depressed, and I wanted to do something that brought some trans joy. My roommate helped me paint this last night. I added this tiny little umbrella, and then it rained, which is great.” 

“To every trans person out there, know that you have a flame within you that cannot be blown out,” said actor, writer and producer Shakina Nayfack, who’s busy working on the next season of NBC’s Quantum Leap. “Let it shine. Let it burn as bright as you want.” 

One of the stars Nayfack writes for and has directed is out trans nonbinary actor Mason Alexander Park. “The news cycle, not only this week, but obviously for the last few years, has just been taking quite the toll on all of us. I can’t go a day without thinking about what’s going on in our country and in the world at large.” 

Park said they credit NBC with supporting Quantum Leap’s producers decision to feature a positive, creative and brilliant out trans nonbinary character. “Allowing the show to represent the world at large, by including the people that are in the world right now, is groundbreaking. Allowing ‘Ian’ to exist as an important member of the team and of the community of Quantum Leap without it having to be a commentary on their gender or queerness around their experience, unless it’s pertinent to the story. Like that’s all any actor could ever want. And I never thought I’d see something like that in my lifetime, let alone get to be a part of that. So I feel incredibly lucky.” 

GLAAD recently released its annual “Where We Are on TV” report, which showed overall LGBTQ representation slightly down from the prior year. Park said they haven’t seen any pushback by the network for them to “tone down” their queerness. 

“I’ve never seen a group of more accomplices in my life,” they said. “People behind the scenes on that show are dedicated to making real change and to normalizing our experiences in a way that I can’t say is true of a lot of other studios and networks right now, that are amplifying trans voices but not really doing the work to back it up.” 

Television consultant, author and out trans man Thomas Page McBee works with the GLAAD-nominated show The Umbrella Academy starring Elliot Page. His advice for Trans Day of Visibility: “You are stronger than you even know.”

“If you see us on the screen and you feel yourself reflected, use that energy. Call your legislators. Stand up for us. And I think, to trans youth in particular: We’re here,” he said. “And we are not going to be erased. We actually cannot be erased at this point. We are everywhere and we are telling our own stories.”

Michelle Paradise and Wilson Cruz (Photo By Dawn Ennis)

Out gay actor Wilson Cruz, who will star in the final, fifth season of Star Trek Discovery, had an uplifting message for trans fans and allies: 

“Trans Day of Visibility is about trans people being visible, but it’s also about the rest of our community being visible in our support for the trans community, about being loud about it. This is not a time to sit back and watch,” Cruz told the Blade. “This is a time for getting boots on the ground and getting really fucking loud, for our siblings who have always been there for us. So, let’s get to work, kids!” 

Los Angeles Blade Sports Editor Dawn Ennis with trans nonbinary actor Blu del Barrio, Out gay actor Wilson Cruz and Star Trek Discovery co-showrunner Michelle Paradise.
(Photo Credit: Courtesy of Dawn Ennis)

Hulu, the awards’ official streaming partner, will stream the Los Angeles GLAAD Media Awards on Wednesday, April 12.

A full list of winners can be found here.

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