This is one of our favorite days at GLAAD, when we get to announce the nominees for the GLAAD Media Awards, in English as well as Spanish-Language categories. While we take our watchdog role very seriously (that is, calling out derogatory or negative depictions), it also feels great to say “job well done.”
And it was a good year for LGBT people and issues in Spanish-Language media. In fact, we saw a trend of increased coverage of transgender issues as well as the intersection between LGBT and immigration issues. This was also the year that Telefutura introduced a late-night talk show with three hosts, one of whom, Gabriel Varela, is openly gay. Noche de Perros (Guys Night Out) never shies away from sexual innuendo and naughty lad humor.
Although we still see some problematic coverage along with stereotyping, as is the case in English-language media, this great slate of nominees represents the direction in which Spanish-language media is steadily moving—forward.
And the Nominees Are…
Among the nominees were three novelas (Las Aparicio, Los Exitosos Gome$ and El Último Matrimonio Feliz) that depicted gay and lesbian relationships in ways that often went beyond the simple coming out story and dealt with deeper issues and situations. Because of novelas' one-hour length and nightly broadcast over several weeks and months, novela characters often become beloved to viewers (or hated when they’re the villains). Inclusion of gay relationships in this context is a big deal. It does so much to grow understanding of who we are as LGBT people.
News outlets also stand out this year as nominees. El Diario la Prensa, New York City’s largest Spanish-language daily is recognized for its excellent and frequent coverage of LGBT issues as well as for its very public support of marriage equality in New York State. Nominated for Outstanding News Segment, Noticias 34, Univision’s Los Angeles affiliate’s’ newscast, did a three-part series titled “Angels of Change,” which told the stories of transgender Latinos.
Daytime talk show nominees, including Caso Cerrado hosted by Ana Maria Polo and Casos de Familia hosted by Judith Grace, showed terrific LGBT-themed stories. Newsmagazine nominee Paparazzi Magazine, Mega TV’s entertainment news show, moved us with their thoughtful coverage of LGBT bullying in the wake of Jamey Rodemeyer’s suicide death, including translating his entire “It Gets Better” video into Spanish.
These nominees all make a huge difference, as do nominees Ricky Martin (Outstanding Music Artist), People en Español.com, and Primer Impacto, which did so many LGBT stories it was difficult to nominate just one. Despierta América, Al Rojo Vivo and CNN en Español, along with first-time nominees Noticiero con Paola Rojas (receiving two nominations) and ESPN Deportes, also stand out in their excellent coverage of LGBT people and issues.
Honorable (and not so Honorable) Mentions:
In print journalism, there was a noticeable increase in coverage of transgender issues and the intersection between LGBT and immigration issues, including:
- The Associated Press' “Transgender Latinos Receive Asylum in the US Because Of Sexual Orientation” by E.J. Támara.
- Miami’s largest Spanish-language daily El Nuevo Herald's “Policy Offers Help to Transgender Students,” a translated version of an excellent article by Miami Herald reporter Carli Teproff; and “Wave of Xenophobic Crimes in Puerto Rico” by Frances Robles of El Nuevo Herald, which discussed the wave of hate crimes against LGBT people in Puerto Rico that has been occurring over the past two years.
- Puerto Rican daily El Nuevo Día's “A Stigma That Must Be Eradicated,” by Mildred Rivera Marrero, which sought to bring visibility to Puerto Rico’s gay and lesbian senior citizens; and “Soraya, Precursor to Sex Reassignment in Puerto Rico” by Marga Parés Arroyo
In news and entertainment television programming, there was a visible effort to diversify coverage and representations of LGBT people and issues:
- Noticiero Nacional Azteca America ran a segment titled "Call for Equality on Valentine’s Day,” which featured Latino LGBT advocates and allies (including a pastor) discussing what a lack of marriage equality means on Valentine's Day.
- Telemundo’s morning show Levántate interviewed Cristina Urgel on her openly bisexual character in the hit novela "La Reina del Sur."
- Mun2’s mini-series RPM Miami, set in Miami’s drag racing scene, featured an openly bisexual detective played by Paulina Gálvez.
As for the not-so-honorable, while it's true that daytime shows often do great work including stories about LGBT people and their families, we nevertheless had our reservations. Paparazzi Magazine’s new host Javier Ceriani often made inappropriate comments regarding, among other things, celebrities who are rumored to be lesbians. We wonder why Ceriani replaced the old co-host Eduardo Antonio, who was a much better ally to the LGBT community. The same is true of Quién Tiene la Razón, on Telefutura. Host Nancy Alvarez often does stories that help educate viewers, but occasionally presents her erroneous opinions on some issues, like parenting, as facts when they have no scientific basis.
An Embarrassment of Riches
Having a large number of potential nominees in some categories was a great problem to have in 2011. And it is truly a pleasure to honor media professionals whose high standards raise the bar for all media. Don’t forget that you have an important role to play in next year’s slate of nominees. Keep in touch and let us know if you see great (or, of course, if you see defamatory coverage). We always need your help monitoring media in English and en Español!