Even after the iconic 34th Annual GLAAD Media Awards ceremony in Los Angeles on March 30th, the excitement has only just begun. Today, April 12th, the star-studded event becomes available to stream on Hulu at 7pm ET. GLAAD is also announcing the recipients of two more prestigious honors for the New York ceremony of the GLAAD Media Awards at the New York Hilton Midtown on Saturday, May 13th.
In response to the wave of anti-LGBTQ legislation sweeping the United States’ south, GLAAD is honoring two Texans who have dedicated their careers to accelerating acceptance for queer people everywhere.
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 is Grammy-award winning country music superstar, Maren Morris.
Currently based in Nashville, Morris is a dedicated activist, 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. Morris recently headlined Love Rising, a concert benefitting local organizations fighting against recent anti-LGBTQ legislation in Tennessee that include restrictions on books, drag performances, and healthcare for transgender youth.
Morris has partnered with GLAAD in the past; when right-wing media branded her a “Lunatic country music person” for her allyship towards the transgender community, Morris raised over $200,000 for Trans LifeLine and GLAAD’s Transgender Media Program through sales of a t-shirt brandishing that same phrase. Soon after, Morris created another t-shirt in partnership with GLAAD to fundraise for Spirit Day, a purple tee printed with the phrase, “You Have a Seat at This Table,” with all proceeds being donated to GLAAD’s work to safeguard LGBTQ youth.
Morris will be the first country music star to be given this honor.
Also from the state of Texas, Jonathan Van Ness is set to be the first nonbinary person to receive GLAAD’s Vito Russo Award. Each year, The Vito Russo Award is presented to a LGBTQ media professional who has made a significant difference in accelerating LGBTQ acceptance. The Award, named after LGBTQ activist Vito Russo, has previously gone to icons in the industry including Wilson Cruz, Billy Porter, Anderson Cooper, Ricky Martin, Andy Cohen, RuPaul, Cynthia Nixon, Samira Wiley, and George Takei, among others.
As one of the most visible nonbinary media personalities, Van Ness uses their platform to raise awareness for a range of LGBTQ+ and HIV issues. Best known for their podcast and Netflix series Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness and the 10-time-Emmy Award and GLAAD Media Award winning series Queer Eye, Van Ness’s work has been dedicated to highlighting the need for acceptance, understanding and positive cultural change in society for LGBTQ people.
Van Ness has brought the realities of living with HIV into a global spotlight and conversation, revealing their HIV status in their memoir, Over the Top: A Raw Journey To Self-Love. Their decision to share their status openly without shame has helped shift the cultural narrative around HIV for the millions of people living with an HIV-positive and undetectable status. In April 2022, JVN released another book titled Love That Story: Observations from A Gorgeously Queer Life, which covered topics ranging from the HIV social safety net and TERFs, to the queer backstory behind JVN’s hometown.
JVN recently joined forces with Equality Texas to bring awareness to the hundreds of anti-LGBTQ bills being drafted and passed, galvanizing support of the Texas community against anti-LGBTQ agenda
Other special guests set to attend the 34th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in NYC on May 13th include Fire Island’s Joel Kim Booster, Yellowjackets’ and Scream’s Jasmin Savoy Brown, talk show host Tamron Hall, Family Karma’s Amrit Kapai & Nicholas Kouchoukos, A Strange Loop’s L Morgan Lee, Logo’s Trans Youth Town Hall’s Raquel Willis, and White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
Be sure to stream the 34th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles on Hulu to see Christina Aguilera, Bad Bunny, and Jeremy Pope receive their honors and so many more iconic moments starting today at 10pm ET/7pm PT.