A Night of Pride with GLAAD and NFL event brings historic LGBTQ visibility to Super Bowl LVI

February 11, 2022

Last night, GLAAD and the National Football League (NFL) hosted ‘A Night of Pride,’ sponsored by Pepsi Stronger Together, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood California. The evening featured a performance by Big Freedia as well as panel discussions on advances in LGBTQ inclusion in sports and advertising, as well as the NFL’s commitment to LGBTQ players and fans.

Guests included out NFL players and legends including Ryan O’Callaghan, R.K. Russell, and Jeff Rohrer as well as LGBTQ leaders and allies including Alyssa Milano, Anthony Bowens, August Getty, Big Freedia, Braunwyn Windham-Burke, Jai Rodriguez, Jari Jones, Jeka Jane, Joey Zauzig, Justin Sylvester, Kent Boyd, LZ Granderson, Mollee Grey, Peter Porte, Philemon Chambers, Sonya DeVille, Victoria Brito, Cyd Zeigler, and Pamela Stewart, Chair of GLAAD’s Board of Directors. Event host Justin Sylvester also spotlighted NFL silent auction items provided by Fanatics and to benefit GLAAD’s work to accelerate LGBTQ acceptance.

LZ Granderson, host of the ABC News podcast ‘Life Out Loud with LZ Granderson,’ moderated a discussion on LGBTQ inclusion in the NFL featuring out NFL Legend Ryan O’Callaghan and NFL free agent R.K. Russell, who came out as bi in 2019.

“Tonight momentous event with GLAAD is yet another strong step to accelerating acceptance and demonstrates the NFL’s unwavering support of the LGBTQ community as we look forward to continue efforts to ensure football is for everyone,” said Jonathan Beane, Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at the NFL.

Also during the event, GLAAD Board Chair Pamela Stewart moderated a panel on LGBTQ inclusion in advertising featuring Mohit Jolly, Senior Director of Marketing for the Global Ads Marketing Organization at Google, trans actress model and producer Jari Jones, and Brent Miller, Senior Director for Global LGBTQ Equality at P&G.

GLAAD’s Visibility Project, a program dedicated to growing LGBTQ inclusion in advertising, announced today that LGBTQ people and issues will be nearly invisible during Super Bowl LVI ads, with only one ad that expressly features LGBTQ people or issues released prior to the Sunday broadcast. The ad for the Google Pixel 6 features a queer couple. Additionally, Vrbo will air a LGBTQ-inclusive pre-game ad. In 2020, at least-eleven LGBTQ-inclusive ads from Amazon Alexa, Budweiser, Doritos, HGTV, Microsoft, Olay, Pop Tarts, Sabra, Tide, TurboTax, and Under Armour aired during Super Bowl LIV. In 2021, at least four LGBTQ-inclusive ads from M&M’s, Michelob ULTRA, Logitech, and Paramount + aired during Super Bowl LV. GLAAD will track ads during Super Bowl LVI at GLAAD.org and release a comprehensive list following the game.

During the NFL and GLAAD event last night, Anthony Allen Ramos, Executive Producer of the GLAAD Media Awards, also presented trophies to the following previously announced recipients of Special Recognition of the 33rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards:

  • ‘Coded: The Hidden Love of JC Leyendecker,’ a documentary short on Paramount+ which chronicles the evolution of LGBTQ images in advertising.
  • ‘Life Out Loud with LZ Granderson,’ an ABC News podcast hosted by columnist LZ Granderson. 
  • Outsports.com’s 2021 coverage of a record number of out athletes during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

The 33rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards will take place on April 2 in Los Angeles and May 6 in New York City.

“LGBTQ athletes need to see more stories of athletes like them, who are supported by their teammates, because so many of them are accepted, just as they are,” GLAAD Deputy President and COO Darra Gordon said in her remarks. “I hope young LGBTQ athletes see posts from tonight and know that they have a rightful place to be out in the NFL, in football, in sports, and at any cultural milestone they aim for.”