GLAAD President and CEO to address first annual Italian Diversity Media Awards

On May 23, GLAAD will be in Milan, Italy, at the first annual Italian Diversity Media Awards. GLAAD’s President at CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis, will be addressing the audience and will highlight GLAAD’s global work, including the export of homophobia and transphobia from the American film industry, as recently highlighted in GLAAD’s Studio Responsibility Index.

Modeled after the GLAAD Media Awards, the Diversity Media Awards will recognize fair, accurate, and diverse representations of LGBT people in both Italian and international media outlets including TV, radio, and cinema. GLAAD consulted with the organizers, providing best practices and expertise gained from the GLAAD Media Awards, now in its twenty-seventh year.

“It is an honor to represent GLAAD’s 30 years of media advocacy at Italy's inaugural Diversity Media Awards,” said GLAAD’s President & CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis. “Our hope is for the Diversity Media Awards to take our best practices and apply them to the Italian culture, using the media as a tool to accelerate acceptance for LGBT people across the country.”

Ellis will also address GLAAD's recent work to move the Catholic Church toward a place of acceptance, as well as the need for full marriage rights for same-sex couples in Italy.

This is the second time this year that GLAAD is traveling abroad to support 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.

Among the categories considered for the Diversity Media Awards are Cinema – Outstanding Italian Film, TV – Outstanding Program, and People – Person of the Year. They have also nominated several foreign series including The Bold and the Beautiful, (which is simply called Beautiful in Italian), Grey's Anatomy and Faking It, all of which have also been nominated for GLAAD Media Awards.

The Diversity Media Awards aspires to meet the standards of respect set by the GLAAD Media Awards. Nominees are selected based on an annual report that features both quantitative research that surveys Italian media (conducted by the Pavia Media Watch), and qualitative interdisciplinary research done by 42 scholars across 11 Italian universities. Diversity's group of scholars analyze and evaluate the media content based on principles that reflect the GLAAD Media Awards criteria for evaluation, including the degree to which the nominee is respectful of and fair to LGBT people, and its effectiveness and impact on audiences. 

Voting for DMA nominees opened to the public on April 1, 2016.

The Italian Diversity Media Awards director, Francesca Vecchioni, will be attending the GLAAD Media Awards in New York on May 14. 

GLAAD is also partnering with Diversity and other global LGBT organizations to lead a day-long conference following the awards that will examine legal rights and media representation for LGBT people 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. 

Check out the DMA 2016 trailer below and be sure to follow GLAAD on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and this blog to get real-time photos and news from the event on May 23.

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