GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis delivered a powerful speech at the 28th annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles on Saturday evening, shedding light on the state of the LGBTQ community under the Trump administration and discussing GLAAD’s fervent efforts to battle harmful bills to the LGBTQ community in legislation.
In her speech, Ellis began by recognizing Bobby Brooks, who recently became the first openly gay president of the Texas A&M student body. She went on to comment on an op-ed article written by Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, who said Brooks’ election was “diversity run amok.” With GLAAD’s help, Brooks was able to stand up to Perry, telling his story in the New York Times, Ellis explained before acknowledging Brooks to the rest of the crowd, who was also a part of the audience
“This is just one of the many battles GLAAD has taken on,” Ellis explained. “We are engaging YouTube to stop restricting LGBTQ content, we are taking on the forces of evil and winning with ‘The Power Rangers’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast’ – that was a wonderful gay moment wasn’t it?”
She also announced that GLAAD is working closely with Neilsen to ensure that all LGBTQ audiences are reported in their television panels; also working alongside industry leaders Bruce Cohen and Dustin Lance Black.
Ellis later explained GLAAD’s work taking on bill SB 6 in Texas, also known as the “bathroom bill,” which would regulate bathroom use and prevent transgender Texans from using bathrooms that align with their gender identity.
Though all of these fights are visible to the public eye, Ellis explained that there are other attacks happening “very quietly and under the radar,” citing the literal erasure of the LGBT community from the White House, Department of Labor, and Department of State websites. Yet this erasure, she said, is not conclusive — she continued by explaining the ways in which the funds raised through the event will aid in increasing visibility.
“Using our voices with the money that we’ve raised tonight, we will continue to build the GLAAD media institute which enables us to scale the amount of stories that we’ve been telling, build an army of storytellers and expand our media advocacy to a local level where the fight is being fought on a daily basis,” Ellis shared.
She concluded her speech with an empowering statement and plea to the LGBT community, stating the importance of being vocal and active in order to bring forth change.
“Our visibility has been our power; our voice is our weapon. We are not going away. They can delete us from a website, but they cannot prevent us from showing up at town halls. They can deny Gavin Grimm his day in court. But they cannot stop the protests outside,” she said. “They can twist the truth but they can’t ignore the millions who refuse to believe it. They can shut down a film but they cannot stop you from sharing the stories you want to tell.”
The GLAAD Media Awards will air on Logo this Thursday at 10/9c.