GLAAD award nominations highlight the scant state of LGBTQ mainstream visibility

GLAAD released its Media Award nominations for 2016, and while some much-loved content is highlighted, the nominations serve as a serious reminder that we need more LGBTQ representation in mainstream media. 

Film suffered in particular in the past year, with the visibility of queer people at a surprising low, especially in comparison to the 2015 award nominees, where The Danish Girl, Freeheld, Grandma, and Carol were heavy-hitters.

In fact, only Moonlight and Star Trek Beyond fill out the GLAAD media nominations for films by major production companies. And while both movies have complex, nuanced representations of queer people, the industry needs to push for inclusion and diversity at every chance it gets.

In addition to film, the GLAAD Media Awards also honors the fairness, accuracy, and inclusion of LGBTQ representation in other media and entertainment, such as TV shows, music, comic books, and documentary series. And some categories had more impressive showings than others. 

In the documentaries category, for example, HBO’s The Trans List and Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures, plus Out of Iraq, The Same Difference, and Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four earned well-deserved nominations. For TV series, primetime favorites Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Black-ish received nods.

Limited-release films, which were not produced by major production companies, have some excellent nominations as well, including The Handmaiden, Those People, Naz & Maalik, and Spa Night.

In a press release on its nominations, GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said, “At a time when progress is at a critical juncture, it is imperative that Hollywood tell more LGBTQ stories that reflect the community’s rich diversity—and build understanding that brings all communities closer together.” 


The winners will be announced later in 2017, with two ceremonies planned: one on April 1 in Los Angeles and one on May 6 in New York. 

Marissa Higgins

Marissa Higgins

Marissa Higgins is the editor of Green Matters. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, Slate, Salon, NPR, and elsewhere.