Each year, GLAAD’s Excellence in Media Award is presented to an ally who has made a significant difference in promoting acceptance of LGBTQ people. Previous honorees include Judith Light, Ava DuVernay, Patti LaBelle, Debra Messing, Tyra Banks, Julianne Moore, Barbara Walters, and Diane Sawyer.
This year’s recipient was Grammy-award winning country music superstar, Maren Morris, who graciously accepted the honor at the 34th Annual GLAAD Media Awards took place in New York City on Saturday.
Morris is a dedicated activist and ally, who has been advocating for equality within the country music genre, as well as using her influence to raise awareness and funds for issues including racial justice, food security, and LGBTQ rights since the beginning of her career
Watch Maren Morris accept GLAAD’s Excellence in Media Award here:
Morris, who is the first country music star to be presented with this honor, was given her award by Ru Paul’s Drag Race stars Cynthia Lee Fontaine and Alyssa Edwards. Morris, who appeared as a judge in Ru Paul’s Drag Race Season 16’s, apologized to the LGBTQ community on behalf of Country Music, in a episode of Untucked.
“Receiving this honor from GLAAD doesn’t feel quite real or deserving to me yet,” she began. She spoke about how when she began her career living in conservative states like Texas and Tennessee, she “had no clue it would eventually lead (her) to such beautiful and inclusive heights, like this one tonight.”
She talked about how she felt accepted and included by the LGBTQ community ever since she was a kid in high school drama class. “My queer friends were a safe space.”
“I want my fellow country music artists to understand that inclusivity is not only the right thing, but it’s also good for business.” Morris said in her speech. “This community stood up for me and made me feel safe when I felt alone.” She then congratulated Jonathan Van Ness for their honor that evening and thanked the community for their support.
Her acceptance speech wasn’t complete without a few things to say to those, including former Fox News personality, Tucker Carlson, who have questioned her moral high ground and pride for the LGBTQ community, remaining humble throughout so as to, “never insult the recently unemployed.”
When right-wing media branded her as a “Lunatic country music person” for her bold allyship towards the transgender community, she turned that allyship into action, raising more hundreds of thousands of dollars for LGBTQ charities, including GLAAD’s Transgender Representation program. In her GLAAD Excellence in Media Award acceptance speech, she doubled down, saying, “I’m not brave… making the right decision shouldn’t take bravery or courage. It shouldn’t take heroic effort to want basic human rights for everybody.” She then explained that “leaving your house knowing that you can face violence, just for being who you are… that is bravery.“This community stood up for me and made me feel safe when I felt alone and I’ll never be able to repay them, but I hope I get spend the rest of my life and career settling up,” Morris added.
Read more about the 34th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York here