LGBTQ digital journalists revolt against GLAAD over awards snub

LGBTQ digital journalists revolt against GLAAD over awards snub
UPDATE: GLAAD has responded with the following letter:

It’s become abundantly clear that we were wrong to remove the Outstanding Blog category, and we apologize. Although we cannot make changes to this year’s slate of categories and nominees, the Outstanding Blog category will be reinstated in 2017 with improved selection criteria that ensures grassroots LGBT voices are given the recognition they’re due. And like in years past, there will be no submission fee required in the category.

The contributions of LGBT bloggers and independent media have been critical to the advancement of this movement and, indeed, GLAAD’s mission. Eliminating the Outstanding Blog category was an affront to the tireless efforts of those whose work has been essential to putting a spotlight on the issues LGBT people face, and which too often goes overlooked. Removing the category was wrong, and we are committed to doing better.

Seth Adam

Vice President of Communications, GLAAD

Original post:

LGBT bloggers and journalists are in open revolt over GLAAD’s decision to eliminate the Outstanding Blog award. The award was established five years ago after numerous complaints that the media watchdog favored large commercial enterprises over independent activist media.

I helped lead that charge for recognition and it’s particularly painful to see the organization sliding back into their pro-corporate stance. As a two time nominee for best blog (Bilerico Project), I’ve always kept a wary eye on the award because, while they established the category, they never gave the award out on stage.

GLAAD hosts three galas yearly to give out the awards but there was never room on stage for a blogger. GLAAD makes money hand over fist with those award ceremonies, but refused to help small bloggers making a minuscule amount of money for their daily efforts attend the event. The group wouldn’t even give the winners a complimentary ticket to pick up the award off stage. It’s shameful.

Several previous nominees and winners have joined together with editors and reporters from LGBT newspapers to protest the decision in an open letter published yesterday afternoon. As a signatory, it’s my hope that GLAAD reverses their decision, reinstates the award, and honors the winner publicly. If you’re an independent blogger who’d like to be added to the open letter, let us know in the comments section and we’ll get you added.

Independent bloggers don’t have the resources and cash that large corporations have and we’ve led the charge on LGBT rights reporting in a way those sites can’t. We’ve reported from the streets, from the halls of power, and scooped larger media conglomerates. We’ve raised hell and influenced the scope of national and state policies and politics.

And we deserve better.

An Open Letter to GLAAD Regarding the 2016 Media Awards

We, the undersigned, respectfully but strongly disagree with your decision to remove the category of ‘Outstanding Blog’ from the GLAAD Awards and with your rationalization behind this decision.

LGBT blogs and independent media play a crucial role in relaying information, providing new and diverse voices, and bringing attention to LGBT issues that have been overlooked and omitted by the mainstream media. Bloggers are the last truly independent voices of lived LGBT experience, and those who undertake this task typically do so without pay or recognition. They don’t grace the cover of magazines. They don’t get book deals. They don’t win Oscars. What they accomplish through their sacrifice of time and energy is the proper dissemination of information which serves to make our community stronger and better educated.

The ‘Outstanding Blog’ award bestowed by GLAAD was one of the few ways LGBT bloggers has been given their due. The idea that these voices will now have to compete with larger and more powerful news entities such as The New York Times, MSNBC and Buzzfeed is unfair and, frankly, humiliating. The elimination of the ‘Outstanding Blog’ category implies that unless one is a celebrity or affiliated with a publication with a high profile and finances to match, you are held without regard in the LGBT media landscape, or at least as GLAAD sees it.

It is sadly ironic that GLAAD, an organization which prides itself on lifting up positive LGBT portrayals, has rendered grassroots LGBT voices invisible and unworthy of recognition. While an initial statement from GLAAD explained that bloggers are still welcome to compete with national outlets in other journalism categories, a simple fact speaks for itself: among the 2016 award nominees, there is not a single blog (or community-based LGBT outlet, for that matter) to be found anywhere on the list. The crucial voice of first-person LGBT voices has simply disappeared from the GLAAD Awards. This is a troubling message to send to the general public, to up-and-coming LGBT writers, and to the LGBT community itself.

In the spirit of a community in which every voice is an asset in our march to full equality, we ask that the ‘Outstanding Blog’ category be fully reinstated immediately. Please conduct a nomination process at once so that this critical error might be rectified before your 2016 awards dinner. Also, announcing the winner of this category from the stage, unlike in year’s past, would also be a nice touch.


Diane Anderson-Minshall
CEO of Retrograde Communications
Editor in Chief of Plus Magazine and

Dana Beyer
Weekly Columnist at Huffpost Queer Voices

Bil Browning
Founder of The Bilerico Project (
2011, 2012 GLAAD Award Nominee

Jim Burroway
Box Turtle Bulletin
2015 GLAAD Nominee for Outstanding Blog
2012 GLAAD Nominee for Outstanding Digital Journalism Article

JD Davids
Managing Editor,

Zack Ford
LGBT Editor,

Michael Hamar
Michael in Norfolk (

Rebecca Juro
Columnist, South Florida Gay News

Sue Kerr
Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents (

Mark S. King
2015 GLAAD Award Nominee

Will Kohler

Alvin McEwen
Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters (
2014, 2015 GLAAD Award Nominee

Noah Michelson
Huffington Post Queer Voices (

Michael Rogers
Netroots Connect (

Dana Rudolph
2012 GLAAD Media Award Winner

Michelangelo Signorile

Pam Spaulding
Pam’s House Blend
2011 GLAAD Media Award Winner

Joe Sudbay

Berlin Sylvestre
Editor, OUT FRONT Magazine

Brynn Tannehill
Independent Writer

Daniel Villarreal
Editor in Chief, Unicorn Booty (

Ashton P. Woods
Strength in Numbers (

Sarah Toce
Founder/Publisher, The Seattle Lesbian (

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