Last week, I was in Mexico City and among my plans was to deliver a GLAAD Media Award to Argos TV’s “Las Aparicio” for Outstanding Novela, which it won for its depiction of a female couple whose ups and downs were given the same care attention and time as the storylines of the other Aparicio sisters on whom the show centers.
Prior to my trip I had contacted Argos TV’s Director about presenting the award, and before I had even gotten a response, for whatever reason, I had already made up my mind that they were probably only slightly, if at all, interested. When she responded, she told me “Yes! Come!” and to arrive between 1 and 2pm at a filming location where “Las Aparicio”’s production crew was filming one of the network’s latest novelas. I said, “Alrighty, then!”
On the day I was to present the award, I pondered what the meeting would look like: would it be a simple cut-and-dry, handshake sort of deal, with maybe one or two people present, or would it be a whole extravagant spectacle? My pessimism made me lean toward the former.
To get there, I took my first trip on Mexico City’s super user-friendly metro, on a line that as it got closer to the studios rose above ground, travelling in the middle of a highway that cut through a working-class neighborhood.
I arrived at Studio 8 at Foro Churubusco, a large and confusing complex of studios, where media giant TV Azteca also films some of its productions, and was greeted by Ana Celia Urquidi, Argos TV’s director, a blonde, lively, warm and welcoming woman, who told me to “go upstairs, the room to the left. I’ll be right there.”
So I did, but upon seeing the wine and cheese in said room, I thought “No, that can’t be it!” and decided to wait right outside for further instruction. As I stood there, a few people began to arrive, including actress Liz Gallardo, who played Julia Aparicio, the novela’s bisexual character. Gallardo now co-stars in Telemundo’s telenovela “Una Maid in Manhattan.”
More people arrived, including Ana Celia. Before I could even ask her where to go, she saw my confused face and said “Go inside! That’s Epigmenio’s [Argos’ CEO] office. He let us use it for this special occasion.”
As I presented the award to Gallardo and an openly lesbian crew member, I looked around the room of about 20 people total: every single person was smiling and excited to be there, to be in each other’s company like a family, and was very proud of their work—from the set director to producer to writer to hair and make-up. Everyone was so proud to be receiving a GLAAD Media Award that they all huddled around the trophy, waiting to take a picture with it.
As a GLAAD staffer and as a member of the LGBT community, it truly warmed my heart to see that Argos TV genuinely and passionately took their responsibility as a media outlet to educate their viewers by showing fair, accurate and inclusive images of LGBT people very seriously.
Every year I’ve been at GLAAD the number of writers and producers, news and entertainment professionals who do great work and who regularly keep GLAAD apprised of that work has grown. They know the media they produce entertains and makes the world a better place for LGBT people.
Maybe not all media outlets in the U.S., Mexico and the rest of the world are like this, but the ones that are truly deserve a standing ovation for making the world a better and safer place for all people.