The GLAAD Media Awards have been held every year since 1990; they recognize and honor news and entertainment media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and the issues that affect our lives.
Nominees are selected by Juries comprised of volunteers with interest and expertise in the particular media category they are judging. In 2009, over 85 volunteers served on 7 separate Nomination Juries, selecting 116 nominees in 24 English-language categories, and 36 nominees in 8 Spanish-language categories.
In addition to year-round media monitoring by the juries, GLAAD issues a Call for Entries, encouraging media outlets to submit outstanding work for consideration. GLAAD may nominate a mainstream media project even if it is not submitted as part of the Call for Entries. However, media outlets created by and for an LGBT audience must submit in order to be considered for nomination. GLAAD does not monitor media created by and for the LGBT community for defamation – therefore we do not generate a pool of potential nominees for juries to review.
Nominating Juries may select up to five nominees in each category. If no projects are deemed worthy of nomination in a particular category, the jury may choose to not award that category. At the end of the year, the Nominating Juries submit their list of recommended nominees to GLAAD's staff and Board of Directors for final approval.
All media projects with LGBT images are evaluated using four criteria:
1. Fair, Accurate and Inclusive Representations – Rather than portraying the LGBT community in broad stereotypes, the project deals with the characters or themes in a fair, accurate, and multi-dimensional manner. (This is different than a "positive role model.") Inclusive means that the diversity of the LGBT community is represented. This includes economic, geographic, and political diversity, as well as people of color, seniors, differently abled people, etc.
2. Boldness and Originality – The project breaks new ground by exploring LGBT subject matter in non-traditional ways and handles the LGBT content in a fresh and original manner. Is this project cutting-edge?
3. Impact – The project impacts society in a significant way. Does this project dramatically increase the cultural dialogue about LGBT issues? Or, does this project reach an audience that is not regularly exposed to LGBT images and issues?
4. Overall Quality – A project of extremely high quality adds impact and significance to the images and issues portrayed. Fair, accurate and inclusive images can sometimes be weakened when they are part of a poor-quality project.
Selection of Award Recipients
Nearly 700 GLAAD Media Awards voters contribute to the selection of award recipients in each category via online balloting. Voters are comprised of three groups: GLAAD staff and board, GLAAD Alliance and Media Circle members, and GLAAD volunteers & allies (which includes previous Special Honorees, key media industry allies, volunteers from the Nominating Juries, and Event Production teams).
The votes of these three groups result in a final slate of award recipients, which is then given to GLAAD's Review Panel for certification. The Review Panel is comprised of the GLAAD Board co-chairs, senior GLAAD program and communications staff, and media industry experts.
The members of the Review Panel are expected to view all of the nominees in each category. The final slate of award recipients is certified by the Review Panel, based on the results of the online balloting and their own expert opinions.
Award recipients are announced at events held annually in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.