Photos and video from Italian Diversity Media Awards #DMA2016

GLAAD was in Milan to present at the first Italian Diversity Media Awards and collaborate with local advocates on furthering LGBT acceptance. GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis addressed the assembled crowd of 270, giving them encouragement to continue to work for LGBT acceptance in Italy through media advocacy. Beyond the Italian Diversity Media Awards, GLAAD consulted with Italian LGBT leaders, and is presenting at a conference about advancing LGBT visibility, equality, and acceptance to 60 LGBT advocates, journalists, and lawyers. 

Additional surprise elements of the program included a video greeting from Whoopi Goldberg, a tribute to Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” and a song from Robert Vecchioni, a popular Italian singer and father of Diversity Media Awards creator, Francesca Vecchioni.

The Diversity Media Awards were inspired by and modeled after the GLAAD Media Awards to recognize fair, accurate, and diverse representations of LGBT people in both Italian and international media outlets including TV, radio, and cinema. GLAAD worked with the leaders Italian LGBT organization Diversity, the  organization behind the Italian Diversity Media Awards, providing advice and best practices in creating a media awards program that recognizes fair and inclusive LGBT representations in media. 

#DMA2016 kicked off with GLAAD Award honoree Whoopi Goldberg, via video, introducing the event and greeting the crowd. Whoopi also recently appeared in a public service announcement for GLAAD and the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.

"It’s important to hold media accountable when they get it wrong – but it’s just as important to reward them when they get it right," Ellis told the crowd. "And that’s what this night is all about…I want to thank you for inviting me to be with you tonight and for standing up for LGBT acceptance in Italy.  You’re not just creating change in the media tonight – you’re saving lives."

Ellis also presented the “Person of the Year” Award to Laura Pausini, a popular singer who was the first Italian to win a Latin Grammy. She was also the host for Spain’s La Voz, and Univision's hit La Banda. Last year, Pausini wrote a song featuring love between several couples, including two same-sex couples.

Among the numerous media honored this evening, Faking ItBold and the Beautiful, and Grey’s Anatomy were nominated for TV – Outstanding Series (Foreign). Grey’s Anatomy took home the award and Disney Italy’s Daniel Frigo accepted on the show’s behalf. In previous years, GLAAD has honored the show as well as its creator, executive producer, and head writer Shonda Rhimes.  Disney earned a second award tonight for an LGBT-inclusive commercial, "Meet My Family."

The hashtag for the event #DMA2016 was trending on Italian Twitter.

This is the second time this year GLAAD has supported global partners seeking to replicate the success of the GLAAD Media Awards. In January, GLAAD was in Beijing for the Chinese Rainbow Media Awards. Held since 2011, the China Rainbow Media Awards seek to direct media in a way that is diverse and positively representational of LGBT issues, aiming to create a more accepting social environment in China. They are also modeled off of the GLAAD Media Awards.

GLAAD is also partnering with Diversity and other global LGBT organizations to lead a conference in the Milan Mayor's office that will examine legal and media strategies for LGBT acceptance and protections in Italy and around the world.

GLAAD's Global Voices initiative aims to build LGBT acceptance across the globe by sharing stories of LGBT people and their families around the world and helping LGBT advocates build capacity for change in their own cities and countries. The initiative always engages in support of strong, organized, local LGBT organizations that have identified clear objectives and believe GLAAD can be helpful in achieving those objectives.

Watch the entire event below:

GLAAD extends its thanks to Google and The Louis L. Borick Foundation for generously underwriting the Global Voices initiative.