LGBTQ Women, Real and Imaginary, Dominate GLAAD Award Nominees

The 27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards nominees were announced today, and although the nominations are fairly predictable, they’re still a pretty cool barometer for how far we’ve come, especially on the big screen.

The Outstanding Film – Wide Release category is entirely composed of movies where women are prominent, if not the most prominent, LGBTQ characters: The Danish Girl, Carol, Freeheld, Grandma and Dope. Although The Danish Girl has earned its fair share of criticism from the trans and queer community, it does do one thing differently: the trans woman at the center of the story desires and is in a relationship with another woman, which’s something we often see from actual trans women but rarely see from fictional trans women characters. As far as I know, this is the first year the Film-Wide Release category has been so female-dominated. For the past five years, no more than two films with female LGBT characters have been nominated for the category. It’s also honestly a revelation that these films are all focused on their lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer characters. In the past, GLAAD Award nominations have always gone to at least one, if not five, movies with tertiary queer characters.

Also worth noting: Stonewall was not nominated. Because it was terrible.

Screenshot 2016-01-27 13.25.58

Outstanding Film – Limited Release features a whopping four movies with transgender characters, including trans women who are Native American (Drunktown’s Finest) and black (Tangerine). The other nominees include 52 Tuesdays, about a 16-year old girl whose mother comes out as a transgender man and begins a physical transition; Boy Meets Girl, a tender romantic comedy centered on a bisexual trans woman and Appropriate Behavior, the hilarious debut film from bisexual Persian-American writer and director Desiree Akhavan.

Screenshot 2016-01-27 13.34.27

Meanwhile, the Outstanding Reality Program category is almost entirely devoted to shows about transgender women: I Am Cait (E!), I Am Jazz (TLC), New Girls On The Block (Discovery Life) and Transcendent (Fuse). The fifth nominee, The Prancing Elites (Oxygen), also has transgender and gender-non-conforming black characters as well as cisgender black gay men. There are also two “Special Recognition” honors for’s Beautiful As I Wanna Be and Amazon Instant Video’s This Is Mewhich are both about trans people.

In fact, transgender issues and topics are more prevalent this year than ever before — featured in four out of the five Outstanding Digital Journalism nominations, two Multimedia Digital Journalism nods, three Newspaper Article nominations, two Magazine Article nominations, one TV Journalism segment and three out of five Outstanding Talkshow Episodes. Outstanding TV Journalism – Newsmagazine nominees include the Bruce Jenner interview and MTV True Life: I’m Genderqueer

Also, our best friends The Lumberjanes scored another well-deserved nomination this year. This year is also the year that the series had one of its characters come out as trans.

The Television nominees include lots of our lady-favorites (and former favorites *cough* Empire), like Orange is the New Black, Transparent, Faking It, Orphan Black and The Fosters. A notable exclusion this year was Pretty Little Liars, because it fucked up. Which brings me to this point: all this media representation has not stopped the violence and harassment trans women face in real life.

Other nominees include:

Outstanding Film – Wide Release: Carol, The Danish Girl, Dope, Freeheld, Grandma

Outstanding Film – Limited Release: 52 Tuesdays, Appropriate Behavior, Boy Meets Girl, Drunktown’s Finest, Tangerine

Outstanding Comedy Series: Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox), Faking It (MTV), Grace and Frankie (Netflix), Looking (HBO), Master of None (Netflix), Modern Family (ABC), Orange is the New Black (Netflix), Transparent (Amazon), Vicious (PBS)

Outstanding Drama Series: Arrow (The CW), Black Sails (Starz), Empire (FOX), The Fosters (ABC Family), Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), How to Get Away With Murder (ABC), Nashville (ABC), Orphan Black (BBC America), Sense8 (Netflix), Shameless (Showtime)

Outstanding Individual Episode (in a series without a regular LGBT character): The Carmichael Show, Black-Ish, Royal Pains, NCIS New Orleans, NCIS.

Outstanding TV Movie or Limited Series: Bessie (HBO), Cucumber (Logo), Banana (Logo)

Outstanding Documentary: Kumu Hina (PBS), Limited Partnership (PBS), Mala Mala (Strand Releasing), Tig (Netflix), Tab Hunter Confidential (The Film Collaborative)

Outstanding Daily Drama: The Bold and the Beautiful (CBS)

Outstanding Music Artist: Brandi Carlile (The Firewatcher’s Daughter), Miley Cyrus (Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz), Adam Lambert (The Original High), Troye Sivan (Blue Neighbourhood), Le1f (Riot Boi)

Outstanding Comic Book: Angela: Queen of Hel, Harley Quinn, Lumberjanes, Midnighter, The Wicked + Divine

Outstanding Magazine – Overall Coverage: The Advocate, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, Time, Variety

Outstanding Novela – Antes Muerta Que Lichita (Univision), Celia (Telemundo), Los miserables (Telemundo), Rastros de mentiras (MundoMax).

For the first time in over a decade, The GLAAD Awards will be televised on Logo in a one-hour special.

It appears as though the “Outstanding Blog” category peaked last year when they awarded that one to us, because that particular category seems to no longer exist.

UPDATE: Apparently it no longer exists because they’ve decided blogs are indistinguishable from online journalism. But as Mark S. King (another 2015 nominee) points out, “That’s ridiculous. Not only do we, as bloggers, provide a voice of lived experience not featured in mainstream outlets, we are without the resources to compete with the likes of The New York Times, MSNBC, and other online journalism nominees.” It’s also worth noting that the Online Journalism Awards never, as far as I can tell, go to independent media properties like ours. King writes:

GLAAD hasn’t simply marginalized the unique voice of bloggers. They have rendered us dispensable and ultimately invisible. It’s shameful that a national organization that purports to lift up LGBT voices has dismissed the very people and outlets that deserve encouragement and recognition.


Yvonne, Rachel and Heather nurse our GLAAD Award

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3201 articles for us.


  1. 52 Tuesdays and Appropriate Behavior were both fantastic and underrated films. Glad to see they got some recognition!

  2. Anybody knows why GLAAD is nominating Cucumber and Banana as Logo products?

    Both shows were produced by Red Production Company (a British company) and first released by Channel 4 and the digital television channel E4 (both also British). The only part that Logo played with this shows was the released to the US market, nothing more.

      • I’m sorry but that is one of the craziest things I’ve heard in my life. We have TV awards in my country, but we give those to original programs, not to the latas (cans is the word we use for international TV shows) we buy from other countries. After all, the original creators and producers deserve to be rewarded for their work.

        • All the original creators and producers are given the awards. This is just the way they list the nominations, probably so people can know where to find the shows.

  3. I’m sad that we can’t defend out title as Outstanding Blog, but I do like that we apparently will forever be the title holders.

  4. Also! Wicked + the Divine and Angela prominently feature trans women too! And both of are trans women of color! so that’s even more trans women in the nominees!

  5. You probably can’t actually correlate PLL not getting a nomination with the Charlotte storyline since this isn’t the first time PLL has been snubbed. Even back when everyone loved it, it was still not getting Glaad noms but fucking Glee was. Basically, Glaad noms make no sense.

    The most upsetting snubs to me is Jane The Virgin! What the hell?!

    • oh i guess that’s true. they were nominated in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015 though, which is a lot.

      anyhow oh my gosh you’re right! why wasn’t Jane the Virgin nominated?

      • Jane the Virgin doesn’t have any LGBTQ people in its main cast, just recurring characters. It’s a fantastic show but it’s good news that there’s so many shows with LGBTQ leads that having the occasional ladyqueer pop by isn’t enough anymore!

  6. I kind of hope Boy Meets Girl wins, but at the same time I also found it a bit unrealistic(like a small southern/mid-west town is goin to be that accepting of a bi trans woman).

  7. I’m also really sad that the new Jem And The Holograms comic didn’t get nominated. It’s got actual explicitly gay characters in it unlike Harley Quinn which never says anything in the comic and you have to take the word of DC higher ups who want kudos for queer rep without actually doing anything.

    • Yes!! I’m hoping this is going to be her year for getting recognition for her awesomeness (and the absolute joy that is Firewatcher’s Daughter), what with the Grammy nod as well!

  8. I was kind of bummed that The Legend of Korra nor Steven Universe were nominated for anything but then again, it’s kinda hard to have a category for them since LGBTQ characters in western animation is super new….like as of 2015

  9. Yes! Grrrl Power represented!!!Finally!
    And yes! to the nomination for Arrow, as well!
    I might have gaped a little bit when my regular old dudebro broody superhero show randomly threw in a new gay recurring character (the new and gayified Mr.Terrific) and had him mutter “He’s straight, you’re married.He’s straight, you’re married.” as Oliver walked into the room.
    It’s basically the opposite of Gotham,as nerddoms go, so, even if Arrow isn’t flawless, it’s skipping merrily into the right direction.
    However, I’m hoping for Orphan Black to win the category.
    Could someone explain “The Bold and the Beautiful” nom, though? Wasn’t that like super offensive the last time I heard(Heather spit fire)? Or am I confusing US soaps?
    Have a good rest of the week,everyone!

    • Honestly, the B&B storyline started off pretty atrociously, but they got their act together, hired a trans consultant (who they also cast on the show), and whipped it into shape by the end. It turned into a pretty great love story, and culminated in a wedding (cis/trans, black/white…. which for semi-conservative daytime TV was a very big deal), and the character of Maya continues to be a major ingenue on the show with other storylines. I can see why GLAAD would want to honor it, as opposed to the other soaps with non-contract gay characters who they trot out 5 or 6 times a year.

      • Thanks for the reply! Just how cool is that!?
        A wedding,even!
        You know, while I have a much treasured netflix subscription, I grew up watching soaps with my Grandma.
        And I guess half of my RL friends are hailing from Otalia times;-)
        Soap characters are much more like an extension of family than the stuff you binge watch, and they’re often an extension of family and acquaintances for people who wouldn’t regularly watch, say Sense 8,too!
        So, for them to have actually gone to the trouble to get their shit together and get it right, is like such a big,effing spectacular deal!
        I just wish I could hunker down in front of the TV to watch The Bold and the Beautiful with my Grandma again and discuss this.
        But alas, time passes for everyone but Rick Forrester, I guess.
        Thanks again, this is very good news, indeed.

        • Ha! Yeah, Rick Forrester doesn’t seem to age, but this storyline did make him grow as a human being, which is rare on B&B!

          I know what you mean about family/friends that you have through soap bonding. It’s its own breed, really, and the friends I talk to about soaps are never the same friends I talk to about prime time, film, books, plays, anything else. It’s a great connector and I hope the genre never dies completely, it really does get handed down from generation to generation.

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