The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and the issues that affect our lives. They also fund GLAAD's work to amplify stories from the LGBT community that build support for equality. The GLAAD Media Awards have been held every year since 1990.
GLAAD monitors the media in order to identify nominees in 20 English-language categories, and 9 Spanish-language categories.
In addition to year-round media monitoring, 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 review.
GLAAD may select up to five nominees in each category. If no projects are deemed worthy of nomination in a particular category, GLAAD may choose to not award that category.
All media projects with LGBT images are evaluated using four criteria:
1) Fair, Accurate, and Inclusive Representations –The project deals with the LGBT characters or themes in a fair, accurate, and multi-dimensional manner, without using unrealistic stereotypes. (The characters do not need to be "positive role models," just fairly and accurately depicted.) Inclusive means that some aspect(s) of the diversity of the LGBT community is represented, including: economic, geographic, and political diversity, as well as people of color, seniors, people with disabilities, 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.
3) Impact – The project impacts society in a significant way, dramatically increasing the cultural dialogue about LGBT issues. And/or, this project reaches an audience that may not be regularly exposed to LGBT images and issues.
4) Overall Quality – A project of extremely high quality adds impact and significance to the characters and issues portrayed. Fair, accurate, and inclusive characters or themes 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, 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 the GLAAD Media Awards ceremonies.