Winners call for more visibility for trans & drag stories at 75th Emmy Awards

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis
GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis Photo: Screenshot

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis and RuPaul both issued urgent calls for LGBTQ+ rights and visibility at the 75th Annual Emmy Awards.

After being postponed due to the recent Writers Guild of America and Screen Actors Guild strikes, the 2023 Emmys were finally handed out in Los Angeles on Monday night. While HBO’s Succession, FX’s The Bear, and Netflix’s Beef were the night’s biggest winners, the Television Academy’s Board of Governors bestowed its prestigious Governors Award on LGBTQ+ advocacy organization GLAAD for its work ensuring accurate representation of LGBTQ+ characters on TV.

Presenting the award alongside Ted Lasso’s Hannah Waddingham, out Rustin and The Color Purple star Colman Domingo noted the recent wave of attacks on LGBTQ+ rights both in the U.S. and abroad.

“The complex characters that we see and compelling stories that we tell are an incredibly important piece of showing the humanity of who we actually are, dispelling tropes and offering a rich, vibrant rainbow of the human experience,” he said. “Over the past four decades, GLAAD has consulted on nearly every TV series and TV movie with an LGBTQ character taking the lead and making sure the realities we face offscreen are reflected onscreen.”

“For all of us at GLAAD, this work is personal,” Ellis said in her acceptance speech. “For me, it’s about my wife and our kids, because what the world sees on TV influences how we treat each other and the decisions that we make in our living rooms, schools, at work, and at the ballot box.”

“The world urgently needs culture-changing stories about transgender people,” she continued. “More people say they have seen a ghost than know a transgender person. When you don’t know people, it’s easy to demonize them. Visibility creates understanding and it opens doors. It’s lifesaving. Our community has achieved so much. And yet, we are still being victimized and villainized with cruel and harmful lies. Sharing stories is the antidote. And now is the time to take action, to support everyone in the LGBTQ+ community, because this story— this story is still being told and we all, we all can be the heroes.”

Elsewhere in the show, RuPaul’s Drag Race won its fifth Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality Competition Program. Host and executive producer RuPaul used his acceptance speech to fire back at conservatives who have spent the past year attacking drag performers.

“We have released into the wild hundreds of drag queens,” he joked. “And they’re beautiful. On behalf of all of them, we thank you.”

“And listen,” he continued, “if a drag queen wants to read you a story at a library, listen to her, because knowledge is power. And if someone tries to restrict your access to power, they are trying to scare you. So, listen to a drag queen.”

Other LGBTQ+ winners included Ayo Edebiri, who took home the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role in The Bear, and Niecy Nash-Betts, who dedicated her Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie win to “every Black and brown woman who has gone unheard yet overpoliced.”

Meanwhile, in her acceptance speech for her Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series win for Season 2 of The White Lotus, gay icon Jennifer Coolidge thanked “all the evil gays.”

And with his win for Outstanding Live Variety Special, Elton John achieved EGOT status, having now won an Emmy, six Grammys, two Oscars, and a Tony.

Don't forget to share:

Support vital LGBTQ+ journalism

Reader contributions help keep LGBTQ Nation free, so that queer people get the news they need, with stories that mainstream media often leaves out. Can you contribute today?

Cancel anytime · Proudly LGBTQ+ owned and operated

Ron DeSantis accidentally attacks Joe Biden for something the Trump administration did

Previous article

School kicked her out for fighting. Now this elected official is fighting to give kids a 2nd chance.

Next article