Wednesday, January 27, 2016

An open letter to the GLAAD Media Awards

I adore the GLAAD Media Awards. For the past two years, I was fortunate to be a nominee for 'Outstanding Blog' and I cannot tell you how proud it made me feel.

I have been blogmaster for Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters for over nine years and my goal is simply to educate the public on anti-gay propaganda and the groups who use this propaganda to exploit ignorance, fear, and religious opposition to lgbt equality. Often times, what I do can be considered to be dull, without "queer flavor," and repetitive. However, I consider it important because we are way behind in educating the public when anti-gay groups like the Family Research Council and leaders such as Tony Perkins and Franklin Graham are looked upon as authentic religious leaders rather than homophobic purveyors of lies they are.

I am an African-American male from the southern state of South Carolina. I have never been to the supposed gay meccas of New York or any other big city save San Francisco (and I had a rotten time). As such, I don't fit the pattern of the conventional well-dressed younger twink or older well-to-do white mostly male lgbt leader or activist one sees on television or reads about in our magazines and online publications. The only thing I have to contribute my full intelligence and skill to the community is my blog.

So being honored by GLAAD as a nominee for 'Outstanding Blog' on two occasions meant a lot to me. It increased my profile and sent the message that anyone in our community with enough heart, skill, discipline, and patience can make a positive impact in pursuit of our equality.

However, this year, GLAAD has chosen to eliminate the 'Outstanding Blog' category, probably permanently. And this sends a negative message to grassroots and non-celebrities like myself. 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. Our acquisition and securing of rights, respect, and dignity relies on not only those who are in the media's eyes, but also those who cultivate and aggregate the news behind the scenes. Many a time, these individuals do not reach the masses on the same level of national publications and celebrities, but they are nonetheless equally important to our community. 

While I've had a enjoyable time imagining myself in certain scenarios after winning the award (i.e. my imitation of actress Gloria Grahame stumbling to the stage after winning her Oscar is a hoot), winning was never really the point. It's the acknowledgement that  I am making a positive difference in the community. Granted, some say one shouldn't expect vocal validation of such things. 

I say such things help. They motivate and they send messages out to not only the nominees and the winners, but also to those wondering how they can put their talent to good use for the community. Some of us don't sing. We don't act. We aren't employed in major newspapers. We don't have "hot bodies." We aren't in the public eye. But we are talented nonetheless. 

The one thing we don't deserve is a cold shoulder.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Excellent points. Even though I'm not American I go to your blog every day. The effort you putinto it is obvious. There is too much emphasis on celebrity and not the people fighting in the trenches. Your blog is excellent! Keep up your good and valuable work!