At Emotional ‘Glee’ Cast Reunion, Dan Levy, Laverne Cox, Others Celebrate LGBTQ Media in All-Virtual GLAAD Media Awards

The 32nd annual GLAAD Media Awards premiered on YouTube April 8, culminating in a highly emotional tribute to late “Glee” actress Naya Rivera led by several of her former show castmates.

Rivera’s character on “Glee,” Santana Lopez, came out as a lesbian in 2011 in an episode titled, “I Kissed a Girl.”

Pop star Demi Lovato, who guest-starred in the show as Santana’s girlfriend, introduced the virtual reunion of the cast, which included Jane Lynch, Darren Criss, Amber Riley and Matthew Morrison.

“Santana Lopez was groundbreaking for closeted queer girls, like I was at the time,” Lovato said. “Her ambition and accomplishments inspired Latino women all over the world.”

The long-awaited cast reunion closed a star-studded ceremony that celebrated LGBTQ performers, shows and storylines that have contributed to a more inclusive and authentic media landscape in 2020.

Hosted by actress and comedian Niecy Nash, the event, which honors fair and accurate representation of the LGBTQ community in the media, debuted on GLAAD’s YouTube channel at 8 p.m. ET April 8 before streaming hours later on Hulu, where it would remain until the end of June, LGBTQ Pride month.

Nash, who surprised fans last year after announcing her marriage to musician Jessica Betts — by sharing a photo of the newlyweds celebrating their union, captioning it with a rainbow and a diamond ring emoji, and the hashtag #LoveWins — opened the show joking about her new status as a proud member of LGBTQ community.

“I don’t know what I am,” she said, wondering aloud whether she should introduce herself as the show’s new gay, pansexual or queer host.

Noting that she hadn’t received a “welcome basket” or an “instruction manual” when she became part of the community, she asked veteran LGBTQ people for some advice.

Trans activist and media superstar Laverne Cox had a smart suggestion, saying if anybody ever asks Nash which diva she prefers — Madonna, Cher, Lady Gaga or Beyonce — she should answer whatever the person wants to hear.

“There’s no right answer to that equation [because] somebody will fight you if you say the wrong thing,” she said.

The first award of the night, for outstanding music artist, was introduced by Katy Perry and went to British singer Sam Smith, who won their first GLAAD Media Award for their “Love Goes” album.

Speaking from London via videoconference, Smith said that listening to the albums of their fellow nominees — a category that included some of the hottest names in pop music at the moment, such as Lady Gaga, Halsey and Miley Cyrus — was exactly what helped them get through this difficult year.

The award for Outstanding reality series went to HBO’s “We’re Here.” The popular drag-on-the-road show features former “RuPaul’s Drag Race” queens Bob the Drag Queen, Eureka O’Hara and Shangela, who brought the transformative art of drag to small-town America.

Social media megastar JoJo Siwa, who sent the internet into overdrive in late January when when she came out as a proud member of the LGBTQ community, introduced the award for outstanding children’s program — and used the opportunity to remind the world that she has “the best and most amazing girlfriend in the entire world who makes me so, so, so happy. And that’s all that matters.”

That award went to HBO Max’s “The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo,” accepted by the Sesame Street legend, himself.

“It’s almost Elmo’s bedtime, but Elmo wants to remind everybody at home: you are amazing just the way you are,” he said.

“This is Us” star Sterling K. Brown introduced the award for outstanding documentary, saying that he was “so proud to stand with the LGBTQ community tonight, just as the LGBTQ community stands with black and diverse communities. Black Lives Matter, Black Trans Lives Matter, and I know we’re going to keep spreading that message of unity and justice until every one of us is safe to live the lives we love,” he said.

The award went to Netflix’s “Disclosure,” a look at the depiction and treatment of of transgender people in the U.S. and its impact on American culture.

Cox, the show’s executive producer, accepted the award, sharing a message of empowerment to young trans people.

“We are looking for people to move beyond acceptance to radical acceptance, to radical self-love. To the trans youth watching right now, we want you to know that you’re anointed, that despite all of the attacks that might be happening against you, you are divine. You deserve to be. You are here for a reason. You must survive to fulfill that divine purpose. I love you!” Cox said.

Other top awards went to: CBS All Access’s “Star Trek: Discovery,” for outstanding drama series; Hulu’s “Happiest Season,” for outstanding film – wide release, Netflix’s “The Boys in the Band” for outstanding film – limited release; and “Lilly Responds to Comments About Her Sexuality,” a segment of Lilly Singh’s late-night NBC talk show “A Little Late With Little Singh,” for outstanding variety or talk show episode.

The “Glee” cast introduced the last award of the night, for outstanding comedy series. “Schitt’s Creek” continued its recent award-winning streak, snatching the GLAAD Media Award for the second year in a row.

Co-creator and star Dan Levy accepted the award saying that he’d “created a town where everyone was not only respected, but they were also supported without question by their neighbors.”

The Emmy-winning actor, director and writer thanked GLAAD for its work in making sure that in the future “our community feels that same kind of support.”

Before the virtual ceremony, GLAAD announced the winners of the remaining categories on Twitter.

Here’s a full list of winners:

Outstanding Film – Wide Release: Happiest Season (Hulu/TriStar Pictures)

Outstanding Film – Limited Release: The Boys in the Band (Netflix)

Outstanding Documentary: Disclosure (Netflix)

Outstanding Comedy Series: Schitt’s Creek (Pop)

Outstanding Drama Series: Star Trek: Discovery (CBS All Access)

Outstanding TV Movie: Uncle Frank (Amazon Studios)

Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series: I May Destroy You (HBO)

Outstanding Reality Program: We’re Here (HBO)

Outstanding Children’s Programming: The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo (HBO Max)

Outstanding Kids & Family Programming [TIE]: First Day (Hulu) and She-Ra & The Princesses of Power (DreamWorks Animation/Netflix)

Outstanding Music Artist: Sam Smith, Love Goes (Capitol)

Outstanding Breakthrough Music Artist: CHIKA, Industry Games (Warner Records)

Outstanding Video Game [TIE]: Tell Me Why (DONTNOD Entertainment & Xbox Game Studios) and

The Last of Us Part II (Naughty Dog & Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Outstanding Comic Book: Empyre, Lords of Empyre: Emperor Hulkling, Empyre: Aftermath Avengers, by Al Ewing, Dan Slott, Chip Zdarsky, Anthony Oliveira, Valerio Schiti, Manuel Garcia, Cam Smith, Marte Gracia, Triona Farrell, Joe Caramagna, Ariana Maher, Travis Lanham (Marvel Comics)

Outstanding Variety or Talk Show Episode: “Lilly Responds to Comments About Her Sexuality” A Little Late With Lilly Singh (NBC)

Outstanding TV Journalism Segment: “Dwyane Wade One-On-One: Basketball Legend Opens Up About Supporting Transgender Daughter” Good Morning America (ABC)

Outstanding TV Journalism – Long-Form: “ABC News Joe Biden Town Hall” (ABC)

Outstanding Print Article: “20 LGBTQ+ People Working to Save Lives on the Frontline” by Diane Anderson-Minshall, David Artavia, Tracy Gilchrist, Desiree Guerrero, Jeffrey Masters, Donald Padgett, and Daniel Reynolds (The Advocate)

Outstanding Magazine Overall Coverage: People

Outstanding Online Journalism Article: “Gay Men Speak Out After Being Turned Away from Donating Blood During Coronavirus Pandemic: ‘We are Turning Away Perfectly Healthy Donors’” by Tony Morrison and Joel Lyons (

Outstanding Online Journalism – Video or Multimedia: “Stop Killing Us: Black Transgender Women’s Lived Experiences” by Complex World (Complex News)

Outstanding Blog: TransGriot

Barbara Gittings Award for Excellence in LGBTQ Media: Windy City Times

Outstanding Spanish-Language Scripted Television Series: Veneno (HBO Max)

Outstanding Spanish-Language TV Journalism: “La Hermana de Aleyda Ortiz Narra Como Salio del Closet y Como se lo Comunico a su Familia” Despierta América (Univision)

Outstanding Spanish-Language Online Journalism Article: “Desaparecio en Mexico, Solo se Hallaron sus Restos: La Historia de la Doctora María Elizabeth Montano y su Importancia para la Comunidad Trans” por Albinson Linares y Marina E. Franco (

Outstanding Spanish-Language Online Journalism – Video or Multimedia: “Soy Trans: El Camino a un Nuevo Despertar” por Sarah Moreno, Esther Piccolino, y Jose Sepulveda (El Nuevo Herald)

Special Recognition (Spanish-Language): Jesse & Joy, “Love (Es Nuestro Idioma)”

This article was written by Muri Assunção from the New York Daily News and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

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