Since premiering on HBO in 2020, We’re Here has become the intersection of queer inclusion, acceptance, advocacy, and activism in reality television. Created by Stephen Warren and Johnnie Ingram and directed and executive produced by Peter LoGreco, the series premiered its third season late last year, at a time when a new wave of anti-LGBTQ legislation and rhetoric was coming to light.
The third season of We’re Here was so poignant that it won its second GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Reality Program at the New York ceremony on May 13th.
Bob the Drag Queen, Eureka O’Hara and the producing team took the stage to accept the trophy alongside De’bronski as well as Jaime and Dempsey Jara, who were featured drag daughters in the third season of the reality series.
“Am I the Viola Davis of the GLAAD Awards?” Bob the Drag Queens joked as they accepted the trophy. “I want to thank the amazing creators of our show, Stephen and Johnnie, Peter LoGreco and the team of storytellers. They really handle the stars with such dignity and care…they really helped us show that drag isn’t dangerous. It is transformative and lifesaving.”
Bob continued to say that it is really important to thank the people who allowed them to tell their stories; people like De’Bronski, Jaime and Dempsey.
De’Bronski’s appeared in the “Jackson, Mississippi” episode as he tried to overcome his fears and find his voice. It all culminated in a very memorable moment of him performing “And I Am Telling You” from Dreamgirls.
“I couldn’t be more grateful for having this platform to share my story,” De’Bronksi said in his acceptance speech. “[There are] more stories out there that need to be told. [There are] young people in danger in Mississippi and we’re dying. We’re crying for help. I’m so thankful to have these amazing people to help me put my story on a platform to show others that we are here and I’m gonna tell y’all something …I’m not going nowhere.”
He continued, “I wasn’t supposed to be here…I was not supposed to survive what I’ve been through…” It was here where he was overcome with gratitude and determination. He stressed how the community needs to keep fighting and give bigger platforms to stories – and not just fleeting stories on Facebook and Instagram.
In the two-part Florida finale of the season, We’re Here told the story of Jaime Jara and her daughter Dempsey, who happens to be trans. When Jaime took the stage, she expressed her gratitude for the producers and for the incredible experience she had while sharing their story.
Jaime said that “elevating LGBTQ stories is so crucial right now,” adding, “one of the most empowering moments of my life was taking the stage in drag to perform with my daughter and hearing the thunderous applause in honor of her.”
On the GLAAD Media Awards stage, Jaime was filled with emotions as she described Dempsey as a normal 11-year-old girl. She dances, annoys her older brothers, doesn’t like to eat vegetables – she’s just a regular fifth grader.
“We have always supported loved her and respected her for who she has,” said Jaime. “She shines her light on the world every day. So many supporters have helped us on this journey since Dempsey transitioned at five and we’re so grateful for this.”
Jaime, who is a high school teacher, continued to talk about the struggles they have been navigating in their home state of Florida. As we have seen in the news and as Jaime points out, anti-LGBTQ legislation and rhetoric has gotten worse. “Lawmakers have succeeded in taking away Dempsey’s right to be her authentic self,” she explained. “They have already passed anti-trans laws that have prevented her from running track with her friends; banned her from receiving life-saving medical care and erase her from school.”
“Most recently, they’ve advanced a bill making it a criminal offense for her to use the girls room at school,” she said. “Can you imagine her in the men’s room? As a teacher, they have also attempted to rob me of the power to protect trans students in my classroom – but despite incredible challenges, trans people will never ever be erased.”
As Jaime thanked GLAAD for highlighting, valuing, and celebrating queer stories for their importance, she punctuated her acceptance speech: “People often asked me, ‘why don’t you just move?’…instead, I wished that they would ask what they can do to help.”