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75th Primetime Emmy Awards, powerful LGBTQ representation

As the LGBTQ+ community continues to make strides in the entertainment industry, these Emmy wins stand as a testament to diverse storytelling



The Peacock Theater, formerly known as Nokia Theatre and Microsoft Theater is a music & theater venue at LA Live in downtown Los Angeles. (Photo of main stage courtesy of Peacock Theater)

LOS ANGELES – The 75th annual Primetime Emmy Awards, held at the Peacock Theatre in LA on January 15, saw a triumphant celebration of LGBTQIA+ representation, with notable wins and powerful speeches highlighting the community’s contributions to the entertainment industry.

RuPaul’s Drag Race Makes History

Reality Competition Program: 75th Emmy Awards

The night’s standout moment came when RuPaul, host of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” accepted the Emmy for Outstanding Reality Competition Program. With a record-breaking 14 Emmy wins, RuPaul addressed the audience, emphasizing the importance of knowledge and the resistance against anti-drag laws.RuPaul emphasized that attempts to restrict access to knowledge and power are rooted in fear and encouraged people to listen to drag queens, highlighting their valuable perspectives.

“We have released into the wild hundreds of drag queens, and they’re beautiful. If a drag queen wants to read you a story at a library, listen to her, because knowledge is power. And if someone tries to restrict your access to power, they are trying to scare you. So listen to a drag queen,” RuPaul said. 

The win marked the series’ fifth in the Outstanding Competition Program category, solidifying its place in Emmy history. RuPaul also made history with his eighth consecutive Creative Emmy Award for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Program, becoming the most awarded host in Emmy history.

Diverse LGBTQIA+ Wins

Elton John LIVE Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour at Dodger Stadium 2022 (Screenshot/Disney+)

Music legend Elton John also secured his place in history as the newest member of the coveted EGOT club. The accomplished singer-songwriter clinched the prestigious title by winning an Emmy for his extraordinary live concert special, “Elton John Live: Farewell From Dodger Stadium.”

Elton John’s victory in the Outstanding Variety Special (Live) category marked a remarkable achievement in his illustrious career, spanning over six decades. As an Executive Producer/Performer for the acclaimed concert special, John’s contribution to the world of entertainment has now earned him the esteemed EGOT status.

“Elton John Live: Farewell From Dodger Stadium” triumphed over formidable contenders, including The Oscars, The Tonys, Rihanna’s Super Bowl Halftime Show, and Chris Rock: Selective Outrage. The win, although absent of the legendary artist in person, was accepted by other producers involved in the creation of the special.

The term EGOT, coined by Miami Vice actor Philip Michael Thomas, celebrates individuals who have achieved the rare feat of winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award. Elton John’s extensive list of accolades includes five Grammy Awards, including a Grammy Legend Award, two Oscars for iconic songs like “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from The Lion King and “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from Rocketman, as well as a Tony Award for Best Original Score for “Aida.”

Niecy Nash-Betts secured her first Emmy for Best Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie for her role in “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.” In a powerful speech, Nash-Betts acknowledged her wife and dedicated the award to Black and Brown women who have faced injustice.

Ayo Edebiri, from “The Bear,” won her first Emmy for Supporting Actress, delivering a heartfelt speech that paid tribute to her parents and celebrated her identity as a Black woman.

Photo courtesy of The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences

GLAAD’s Governors Award

GLAAD, the LGBTQ media-advocacy organization, received the Television Academy’s 2023 Governors Award for its impactful work in promoting fair, accurate, and diverse representation of the LGBTQ community in the media. President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis emphasized the personal nature of their work, citing the influence of media on societal perceptions.

 “The world urgently needs culture-changing stories about transgender people,” Ellis said. “Visibility creates understanding and opens doors, it’s life-saving. Our community has achieved so much, and yet, we are still being victimized and villainized with cruel and harmful lies. Sharing stories is the antidote.”

As the LGBTQIA+ community continues to make strides in the entertainment industry, these Emmy wins stand as a testament to the power of diverse storytelling and representation.



75th Annual Prime Time Emmy Awards

The slate of nominees for the 75th Annual Prime Time Emmy Awards includes a significant number of queer and queer-adjacent nods



Los Angeles Blade/Television Academy graphic

LOS ANGELES – It’s only been a week since the Emmy nominations were announced – but in the face of the week’s other big Hollywood news (we won’t open that topic of discussion here, or there’ll be no room left for anything else), they already feel strangely irrelevant. At this point, there’s no way of even knowing exactly when the presentation will take place, let alone if anyone will show up to claim the prizes.

Even so, the slate of nominees for the 75th Annual Prime Time Emmy Awards includes a significant number of queer and queer-adjacent nods, so while we wait to see if there will even still be a Hollywood entertainment industry anymore, we thought it would be worth calling attention to their accomplishments – because Hollywood labor politics aside, the work for which they are being honored deserves unequivocally to be celebrated.

The entire community can certainly celebrate the notable queer presence within several of the year’s most nominated shows. The leader, with 27 nominations, is “Succession,” followed by “The Last of Us” (24) and “The White Lotus” (23). All three of these top-nominated shows are from HBO. In fourth place, Apple TV’s “Ted Lasso,” which leaned hard into a queer story arc for its fourth and possibly final season, earned 21 nods.

Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett in ‘The Last of Us’ – courtesy HBO

Among the nominations for “The Last of Us” – which include Outstanding Drama Series as well as Outstanding Writing and Directing for a Drama Series (both for that episode), was one for co-star Bella Ramsey, which has proven controversial. Ramsey identifies as nonbinary, and while they have previously said they’re not picky about pronouns, they’ve more recently remarked that “they/them” felt the most “accurate”; their inclusion in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category has been criticized, for obvious reasons (which we won’t disagree with), but given the non-existence of a category that expands on or eliminates a binary gender construct, there seems to have been no other option outside of creating a “special award” or omitting them from the competition altogether, neither of which feel any less problematic.

Still, it’s a deserved nod for a talented young performer – even if it’s also obvious proof (if any more were needed) that the gender-divided acting categories are past due for a reconfiguration.

There’s no controversy whatsoever around the nomination of Ramsey’s co-star, outspoken queer ally and everyone’s favorite “Daddy” Pedro Pascal, who also scored nods as Outstanding Guest Actor on a Comedy Series for his hosting turn on “SNL” and Outstanding Narrator for “Patagonia: Life on the Edge of the World” – and no one will argue over queer actor Murray Bartlett’s nomination as Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his role as Frank in the instantly iconic “Long, Long Time” episode, nor that for ally Nick Offerman, as his onscreen partner Bill, in the same category. Bartlett also scored a nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie for “Welcome to Chippendales.”

Another outspoken ally joins the list of “Last of Us” nominees with Melanie Lynskey, nominated as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama. In addition, she’ll be competing against Ramsey in the Lead Actress category for her role in another heavily queer series, Showtime’s “Yellowjackets,” also nominated as Outstanding Drama Series.

Other queer guest performers who made the cut this year include Cherry Jones, offering some much-needed representation on the juggernaut of “Succession” and earning a nod for Guest Actress in a Drama; there’s also Nathan Lane for Hulu’s popular “Only Murders in the Building” for Guest Actor in a Comedy; Maria Bello as Supporting Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie for Netflix’s “Beef” and Niecy Nash-Betts in the same category for her much-praised role in Netflix’s “Dahmer” – a divisive but acclaimed real-life queer horror story that also earned multiple nominations, including for Lead Actor Evan Peters and Supporting Actor Richard Jenkins, as well as for Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series or Movie. Families of the real-life Dahmer’s victims have criticized both the Ryan Murphy-branded series and the Television Academy’s decision to honor it as “glorifying” the killings.

Competing against “Dahmer” is Hulu’s “Fire Island,” a much less gruesome queer entry from out director Andrew Ahn and out writer and star Joel Kim Booster. Besides its nomination in the Limited Series or Movie category, the Jane Austen-inspired romcom – which refreshingly centers on a group of queer Asian American characters – earned Booster as nod for his shrewdly observant but sweetly funny screenplay.

Sabrina Impacciatore (In pink) greets guests of ‘The White Lotus’ – courtesy HBO

As for “The White Lotus,” out writer/director Mike White’s addictively twisted anthology series which moved to Sicily for its second installment of dysfunction and scandal in a picturesque resort setting, the queer dial was turned down a few notches from the first – the “gays” that were “trying to murder” fan favorite Jennifer Coolidge notwithstanding – but Sabrina Impacciatore did snag a nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama for playing the love-starved lesbian resort manager.

She is only one of five nominees for the award (out of seven total) from the same show, joining co-stars Coolidge, Aubrey Plaza, Meghann Fahy, and Simona Tabasco to dominate the category. “White Lotus” also scored four nods in the Outstanding Supporting Actor Drama category – for F. Murray Abraham, Michael Imperioli, Theo James, and Will Sharpe – as well as Outstanding Drama Series, both Directing and Writing for a Drama, and numerous awards for editing, music, and numerous other “off-camera” categories.

The Comedy Series division of Emmy this year, unfortunately, is woefully short of queer representation. There is a queer character (played by Chris Perfetti) among the ensemble cast of ABC’s “Abbot Elementary,” which earned nods for two of its supporting actresses (Sheryl Lee Ralph and Janelle James), for supporting actor Tyler James Williams, and for Outstanding Comedy Series.

Another highly nominated show, “Ted Lasso” failed to grab nominations for either of the actors involved in the season’s queer romance, but it scored one for Juno Temple as Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy for her bisexual character of Keely. “Lasso” is also nominated as Comedy Series, with co-star Hannah Waddingham competing against Temple for the supporting actress slot, with supporting actors Phil Dunster and Brett Goldstein, guest performers Becky Ann Baker, Sara Niles, and Harriet Walter, and series star Jason Sudeikis also nominated in each of their respective categories.

Faring better on the queer-friendly scale was “Poker Face,” Peacock’s Rian Johnson-created throwback “mystery-of-the-week” series about a human lie-detector who happens to be bisexual; the popular series scored nods for two queer icons – series star Natasha Lyonne as Lead Actress in a Comedy, and Judith Light as Best Guest Actress in a Comedy.

Netflix’s “Wednesday,” which offers a much queerer profile overall, also made the list for Outstanding Comedy Series, also grabbing a Comedy Lead Actress nomination for series star Jenna Ortega; and though controversy around on-set treatment of cast and crew by the showrunners of Max’s very queer “The Other Two,” the take-no-prisoners entertainment culture satire, the now-cancelled earned a well-deserved nod for Outstanding Comedy Writing. “Bad Sisters,” Apple TV’s lesbian-inclusive thriller, grabbed a nomination in the equivalent Drama category.

In other categories: out comic Wanda Sykes earned two nominations (Outstanding Prerecorded Variety Special and Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special) for her Netflix special “I’m an Entertainer”; she competes in the latter category with actor/comedian John Early for Peacock’s “Would it Kill You to Laugh? Starring Kate Berlant & John Early”; Paula Pell was nominated Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Series for “Die Hart 2: Die Harter”; and Disney+ got into the mix of queer-relevant nominations with multiple nods to the “Star Wars” series “Andor” (which significantly features a lesbian couple among its intergalactic characters) including Outstanding Drama Series, and one for “Elton John Live: Farewell From Dodger Stadium” for Outstanding Live Variety Special.

As for the Unscripted categories, Prime Video’s My Transparent Life” was tapped for Outstanding Documentary Or Nonfiction Special; MTV’s venerable “RuPaul’s Drag Race” is in the running for its 27th  Emmy (and possibly more) with nominations for Outstanding Reality Competition Program, with its aftershow “Untucked” also scoring as Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program; RuPaul also took a nod for Outstanding Host For A Reality Or Competition Program, competing against Nicole Byer in “Nailed It!” and the “Queer Eye Crew” (Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, Tan France, Antoni Porowski, and Jonathan Van Ness); the latter Netflix show is also nominated as Outstanding Structured Reality Program.

The Queens of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Season 15 – courtesy MTV

So when will we find out who wins any of these awards? The Emmy ceremony is officially (as of the time of this writing) scheduled to happen on September 18, at the Peacock Theater in Los Angeles, and will air live on Fox at 5pm PST – but obviously there are factors (see above reference to Hollywood news) which make that anything but certain. Whether or not it ends up being postponed, the Television Academy has announced there will be no change on the timeline for voting, with ballots issued August 17 and due August 28.

That means, one way or another, there will be winners – and there’s a better-than-usual chance that at least a few of them will be for queer content. 

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