Beyoncé & JAY-Z declare "LGBTQI rights are human rights” at the 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles

The 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards took place this evening in Los Angeles, where Beyoncé and JAY-Z were honored with the prestigious Vanguard Award. The multi-platinum, Grammy-award winning power couple’s work to accelerate acceptance for the LGBTQ community was highlighted in the remarks of the award’s presenters, including actress, producer and writer Lena Waithe; actress, director and trans activist Janet Mock; HIV advocate Morris Singletary; and Beyoncé's personal stylist Ty Hunter.

In his introductory remarks, Morris Singletary declared that “Beyoncé and JAY-Z concerts are like world peace is happening – it’s gay, straight, black, white, and everyone is dancing and singing together. Those concerts are a place where everyone is safe and accepted.”

Janet Mock thanked Beyoncé for giving women a platform to promote cultural change:  “Beyoncé, watching you evolve as an artist and an icon, a mother and a feminist, and a public black woman on the world stage who wields her voice like a weapon against racism, sexism and injustice, offered me a blueprint to do the same.”

Ty Hunter continued the praise, highlighting that “[Beyoncé & JAY-Z are] here because they believe in acceptance. Not only was Jay totally accepting of me and all the other LGBTQ people on our team, he is creating a space for other straight men, especially black men, to feel the same way.”

Lena Waithe closed the introductory remarks with a powerful message about what Beyoncé & JAY-Z’s presence at the GLAAD Awards means to so many people: “Tonight Black LGBTQ youth in the U.S. South, in Africa, and all over should hold their heads up a little higher and know, they are loved just as they are. I thank both of you for shining that light. For crossing yet another barrier. And for giving all LGBTQ people out there one more gift that says, “You are seen. You are worthy. And you are amazing.”

When Beyoncé & JAY-Z took to the stage to accept the award, they warmly embraced and celebrated the LGBTQ community. They individually honored personal loved ones in their lives, with JAY-Z acknowledging his mother Gloria Carter and Beyoncé dedicating the award to her late uncle Johnny.

Following the ceremony, Beyoncé took to Instagram to post photos of her and JAY-Z with their Vanguard awards. 

The Vanguard Award is presented to media professionals who have made a significant difference in promoting equality and acceptance of LGBTQ people. Previous Vanguard Award honorees include Britney Spears, Patricia Arquette, Kerry Washington, Elizabeth Taylor, Jennifer Lopez, Cher, Demi Lovato, Whoopi Goldberg, Antonio Banderas, Drew Barrymore, Janet Jackson, and Sharon Stone.

Beyoncé and JAY-Z are longtime allies and supporters of the LGBTQ community who use their global platforms to share messages that inspire and change the world for the better.

Beyoncé has spoken out against laws that would discriminate against LGBTQ people in states including North Carolina and celebrated the passage of marriage equality nationwide, saying that "everyone has the right to love who they love.”  She has spoken out loudly for LGBTQ youth and told her followers on social media that “LGBTQ students need to know we support them.” Beyoncé has included LGBTQ people and couples in videos for ‘Formation’ and ‘All Night’ and dedicated her performance of ‘Halo’ to the victims and survivors of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting during “The Formation World Tour.” Ivy Park, her athleisure clothing line, proudly showcased transgender actress Laverne Cox as one of the featured faces in one of the brand’s promos.  

JAY-Z received a GLAAD Special Recognition Award last year for his song and music video, “Smile,” featuring his mother Gloria Carter who used the song to come out as a lesbian. The lyrics and video poignantly share the powerful story of Ms. Gloria Carter, who accepted the GLAAD Media Award from journalist Robin Roberts. JAY-Z has featured LGBTQ people in his art including an appearance by LGBTQ leader Janet Mock in the video for ‘Family Feud,’ which opens with a quote from iconic gay writer James Baldwin. JAY-Z also famously supported the passage of marriage equality, noting it was “the right thing to do as a human being.”

“Beyoncé and JAY-Z are global icons and passionate defenders of human rights and acceptance for all people,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “When Beyoncé and JAY-Z speak, the world becomes inspired and when it comes to LGBTQ people, their voices of acceptance have been heard loud and clear. We could not be prouder to stand with them to send a message of love during the biggest LGBTQ event in the world and to honor their work to bend the arc of justice forward for LGBTQ people, people of color, and marginalized communities everywhere.”

The 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards continue in New York City on Saturday, May 4th. GLAAD previously announced that Madonna will receive the Advocate for Change Award and Andy Cohen will receive the Vito Russo Award from Sarah Jessica Parker at the New York ceremony.

The 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards are supported by Presenting Partners Delta Air Lines, Gilead, Hyundai, Ketel One Family-Made Vodka, and Wells Fargo. GLAAD is also grateful to: Official Partners Bud Light and Google; Titanium Partner AT&T and WEN; Platinum Partners Comcast NBCUniversal-Telemundo, Creative Artists Agency, Disney ABC Television Group, Facebook/Instagram, HBO, Hulu, Kaiser Permanente, MetLife, NBA & WNBA, Netflix, Omnicom Group, PRG, Sheppard Mullin, Turner; Gold Partners CBS/Showtime, Nielsen, PWC, UM, Univision, and VER; and Silver Partners Allstate, Coca-Cola, Morgan Stanley, and Warner Bros.

To receive the latest updates on the GLAAD Media Awards, follow @glaad on Twitter and use the hashtag #glaadawards.