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The 27th annual GLAAD Media Awards are coming up, and the nominees have been announced, but there was a missing category: Outstanding Blog.
For five years, this category has been the only way independent LGBT bloggers have been able to receive recognition at the awards ceremony, including Plus contributing editor Mark S. King, who won in the past for his HIV-related blog. The removal of this category means that this specific group of LGBT activists now has to compete with bigger mainstream media sources, such as The New York Times and MSNBC.
In response to the GLAAD’s decision, LGBT bloggers and activists wrote and signed an open letter to the award committee. Read it below:
"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."
CEO of Retrograde Communications & Editor in Chief of Plus Magazine
Founder of The Bilerico Project
2011, 2012 GLAAD Award Nominee
Managing Editor, TheBody.com
LGBT Editor, ThinkProgress.org
Michael in Norfolk - Coming Out in Mid-Life
Columnist, South Florida Gay News
Mark S. King
2015 GLAAD Award Nominee
Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters
2014, 2015 GLAAD Award Nominee
HuffPost Queer Voices
2012 GLAAD Media Award Winner
Sirius XM PROGRESS
Pam’s House Blend
Editor, OUT FRONT Magazine
Editor in Chief, Unicorn Booty
Ashton P. Woods
Strength in Numbers
It's unclear whether changes will be made to recognize the efforts of grassroots LGBT voices in time for the GLAAD Media Awards dinner, to be held on April 2.