Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Open letter to GLAAD voices anger over elimination of award

After five years of honoring bloggers, GLAAD has decided to do away with the 'Outstanding Blog' category, forcing LGBT grassroots and independent media to compete with larger media sources. Many of us noted bloggers and activists (and more are forthcoming) have signed a letter detailing why we feel this is an egregious error.

This situation is about more than just an award or recognition. This is a terrible example of a larger organization deciding not to acknowledge grassroots activists and journalists who have gone beyond the call of duty to ensure fairness and equality for the lgbt community. And it sends an awful message to future activists and journalists.

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

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

JD Davids
Managing Editor,

Zack Ford
LGBT Editor,

Michael Hamar
Michael in Norfolk - Coming Out in Mid-Life

Rebecca Juro
Columnist, South Florida Gay News

Mark S. King
2015 GLAAD Award Nominee

Will Kohler

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

Noah Michelson
HuffPost Queer Voices

Michael Rogers
Netroots Connect

Dana Rudolph
2012 GLAAD Media Award Winner

Michelangelo Signorile

Pam Spaulding
Pam’s House Blend

Joe Sudbay
Longtime Blogger

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

Dana Beyer
Weekly Columnist
Huffpost Queer Voices
Jim Burroway
Box Turtle Bulletin
2015 GLAAD Nominee for Outstanding Blog
2012 GLAAD Nominee for Outstanding Digital Journalism Article
2012 National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association Winner for Excellence in Online Journalism

Sue Kerr MSW
Founding Editor
Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents

Andre Duque
Blogger, Blabbeando
2011 GLAAD Award Nominee


Charles Sanchez said...

Amen. It is GLAAD's role to champion the all voices in our community, independent and mainstream. Thank you for stepping up to write this letter, and tell GLAAD that getting rid of the blogger category is not okay.

Erica Cook said...

What they are also saying is that the people you inspire aren't really that important either. I've told you, its your blogs that motivated me to go to school for a psych degree in hopes of doing research to help LGBT people. What they are saying is since I wasn't motivated by a big name magazine it doesn't matter. You're influence isn't important, because I can assure you I'm not the only one. Frankly, I'd rather get my news from blogs anymore because I find it easier to verify information and they tend to not be skewed by whatever group is buying ad space.

Also, I tried to post this on their page, but you have to join to do so, and I'm not doing that.

BJ Jackson Lincoln said...

I just sent this to Joe Jerves at Not only should he sign this letter but the people who come every day should know and voice their opinion to GLADD.
The LGBT blogs are the reason the truth has spread around. It is motivation to the readers to continue to share and speak up. They are a huge part of how and why change has happened. Shame on GLADD.