GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, today announced that it will honor global superstar Taylor Swift and award-winning director, producer, writer, and advocate Janet Mock at the 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hilton on Thursday, April 16, 2020.
The 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards honor media for fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of LGBTQ people and issues. Nominees for the 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards will be announced on Wednesday, January 8, 2020. Events will be held in New York on Thursday, March 19, 2020 and Los Angeles on Thursday, April 16, 2020. Click here for more information.
The 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards are presented by Gilead, Hyundai, and Ketel One Family-Made Vodka.
Award-winning singer, songwriter, producer and musician Taylor Swift will receive GLAAD’s Vanguard Award, which is presented to allies who have made a significant difference in promoting acceptance of LGBTQ people. Previous Vanguard Award honorees include Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, Kerry Washington, Cher, Janet Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, Antonio Banderas, Demi Lovato, Whoopi Goldberg, and Patricia Arquette.
Director, producer, writer, author, and advocate Janet Mock will receive the Stephen F. Kolzak Award, which is presented to a LGBTQ media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting LGBTQ acceptance. The award is named after a legendary casting director, who devoted his life to raising awareness in the entertainment industry about the discrimination faced by LGBTQ people as well as people living with HIV. Previous Stephen F. Kolzak honorees include Laverne Cox, Jim Parsons, Ellen DeGeneres, Troye Sivan, Ruby Rose, Chaz Bono, Wanda Sykes, Steve Warren, Melissa Etheridge, and Sir Ian McKellen.
“From boldly standing up against anti-LGBTQ elected officials to shining attention on the urgent need to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination through the Equality Act, Taylor Swift proudly uses her unique ability to influence pop culture to promote LGBTQ acceptance,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “In a time of political and cultural division, Taylor creates music that unites and calls on her massive fan following to speak up and call for change.”
Global superstar Taylor Swift has used her platform to elevate the issues of the LGBTQ community and advocate for the acceptance of LGBTQ people everywhere. At the beginning of LGBTQ Pride month in June 2019, Taylor Swift wrote an eloquent letter to Sen. Lamar Alexander, a U.S. Senator from Tennessee, asking him to support the Equality Act, which would protect LGBTQ Americans from discrimination in employment, housing, and other public accommodations. Swift also created a Change.org petition encouraging her fans to support the Equality Act, writing: “Our country’s lack of protection for its own citizens ensures that LGBTQ people must live in fear that their lives could be turned upside down by an employer or landlord who is homophobic or transphobic. The fact that, legally, some people are completely at the mercy of the hatred and bigotry of others is disgusting and unacceptable. Let’s show our pride by demanding that, on a national level, our laws truly treat all of our citizens equally.”
Later that month, Swift released her single “You Need to Calm Down,” an empowering LGBTQ anthem promoting acceptance and equality, with lyrics including, “Why are you mad when you could be GLAAD?” and “Cause shade never made anybody less gay.” The music video for the song features several out LGBTQ celebs including Ellen DeGeneres, Laverne Cox, Adam Rippon, Hayley Kiyoko, the cast of Queer Eye and many more. Upon receiving the award for “Video for Social Good” as well as “Video Of The Year” for the “You Need to Calm Down” video at the MTV Video Music Awards in August, Swift used her speech to bring attention to the Equality Act and call out the Trump Administration for failing to acknowledge her petition, which now has over 575,000 signatures.
Swift previously made a donation to the Tennessee Equality Project (TEP), a Nashville-based group working to defeat six anti-LGBTQ bills, nicknamed the ‘Slate of Hate,’ that were being considered by the state Legislature. As part of its work, TEP convened more than 100 religious leaders to denounce the bills. Swift wrote a note to the organization which read: “I’m writing you to say that I’m so inspired by the work you do, specifically in organizing the recent petition of Tennessee faith leaders standing up against the ‘Slate of Hate’ in our state legislature.”
During the 2018 midterm elections, Swift penned a passionate message on Instagram to raise awareness around the anti-LGBTQ record of Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn during her reelection campaign. Swift wrote: “I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent. I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love.”
“Janet Mock is a trailblazing force for diverse and inclusive storytelling who has raised the bar for LGBTQ representation in Hollywood,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “She tells stories that need to be told, including those of transgender people and people of color, in revolutionary and eye-opening ways that inspire and enrich. Her passion for inclusive storytelling, combined with her undeniable talents in writing, directing, and producing, will continue to create a Hollywood where voices and stories that have been left out of the conversation are placed front and center where they belong.”
Janet Mock is known for her work as a writer, director and producer on Ryan Murphy’s FX series Pose, for which she made history as the first trans woman of color to write and direct an episode of television with the landmark script, “Love Is the Message.” Mock and the cast of Pose received the award for Outstanding Drama Series at the 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York in 2019.
A feminist activist tackling stigma through storytelling, Mock broke ground in 2014 with the release of her first book Redefining Realness, a pioneering and profound memoir that debuted on the New York Times bestsellers list in 2014. Her second book, Surpassing Certainty, was released in 2017 and focused on the years in her life when she was not public about being trans.
Mock began her media career at People.com, where she worked for five years climbing the ranks at Time Inc. from Staff Writer to Staff Editor upon her departure in 2012. She has since produced the HBO documentary The Trans List, where she conducted all interviews and worked with Timothy Greenfield-Sanders to highlight the stories of eleven transgender Americans. Mock also created the column “Beauty Beyond Binaries” for Allure, which broke ground by exploring pretty privilege and the intersection of beauty and identity.
Throughout her career, Mock has been recognized for her trailblazing accomplishments. TIME named her to its 100 Most Influential People list, The Hollywood Reporter named her one of its 2019 “Women in Entertainment Power 100,” Ebony listed her on its Ebony 100, Vanity Fair named her on its “New Establishment” list, while the PEN Center USA honored her with an Award of Honor during the 2017 Literary Awards.
In June 2019, Mock signed a groundbreaking three-year multimillion-dollar pact at Netflix, making her the first out trans storyteller in history to call the creative shots at a major content company. As part of the agreement, Mock will serve as an executive producer, writer, and director on Netflix’s forthcoming series Hollywood. The Netflix deal will enable Mock to create programs that employ and highlight communities that have historically been underrepresented by Hollywood, including the trans community and communities of color.
Additional honorees for the 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York will be announced soon.
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