First Person

Why GLAAD Blundered By Dumping Its Grassroots Media Award


When the prestigious GLAAD Media Awards announced their 2016 nominees last week, one category was noticeably absent: Outstanding Blog, which for years has been the only spot in the glitzy honors for recognition of small, independent LGBT voices.

The deletion of the category means independent bloggers must now compete in mainstream categories against media behemoths like The New York Times and MSNBC. While GLAAD contends that bloggers have become “indistinguishable” from mainstream media and this led to the change, some bloggers are crying foul, pointing to the fact that none of the previous nominees in the Outstanding Blog category – or grassroots journalists of any kind — are anywhere to be found among the list of 2016 nominees.

I was sincerely honored that my blog, My Fabulous Disease, was a 2015 Outstanding Blog nominee. Although I couldn’t afford to attend the pricey event, I truly appreciated the fact GLAAD shined a spotlight on our work. By eliminating the category, so many writers sharing their experience — as bisexual, as transgender, as someone living with HIV — have disappeared from the recognition and visibility offered by the GLAAD awards.

GLAAD might want to re-think their decision, considering the spunk of independent LGBT bloggers – and their ability to cause quite a fuss when treated unfairly.

Here are fiery reactions from other LGBT bloggers, each one of them a past GLAAD Award nominee:

Bil Browning of LGBTQ Nation‘s Bilerico Report:

“The award was meant to honor the smaller folks who put their heart and soul into doing the work without all the monetary rewards of paid journalists.”

Alvin McEwan of Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters:

The GLAAD Media Awards should help to elevate new leaders, not push them away because lack of notoriety or fame. It’s not just solely about visibility, but also acknowledging and cultivating new spokespeople and leaders. And you can’t do that by focusing specifically and only on prominent celebrities and national media.”

Pam Spaulding of Pam’s House Blend:

“It’s shameful, considering independent voices helped shape the political gains over the last decade.”

With the actual awards dinner months away, will GLAAD listen to grassroots voices and reinstate the category?

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