Tag Archives: Sarah Kate Ellis

GLAAD To Honour YouTube Star Hannah Hart

Hannah Hart will be honoured at the upcoming GLAAD Gala in San Francisco this September.

The LGBTQ media advocacy organization will give Hart its Davidson / Valentini Award, which recognizes LGBTQ media professionals who have “made a significant difference in promoting equality for the LGBT community.”

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement;

By using her powerful platform to elevate LGBTQ stories, Hannah Hart has proven to be a tireless advocate for self-love and acceptance. Her messages of empowerment inspire countless LGBTQ youth and move hearts and minds across the world.”

Hart won internet hearts and millions of subscribers with her My Drunk Kitchen series, which features candid conversations about LGBTQ issues and identity, as well as personal stories about her experiences as a gay person.

Recently, it was announced that Hart will be hosting a new untitled culinary travel series on the Food Network channel.

She has already had her first book My Drunk Kitchen on the New York Times bestseller list.

And her second book, Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded, will out in October.

Hart and comedian pal Grace Helbig also recently starred in the reboot of Electra Woman & Dyna Girl. 

They also star in the upcoming Lionsgate film Dirty Thirty, alongside Mamrie Hart.

The GLAAD Gala San Francisco, held on Sept. 8, will be hosted by talkshow host, actress, comedian, author and director Aisha Tyler.


Top 11 Inspirational Queer Heroes

As queer women, we have a particularly rough time finding role models that fit our lifestyle. Up until very recently, there were relatively few “out” women in the spotlight – leaving us only a small sampling of celebrities to idolize. But as we enter into 2016, we would like to take the time to acknowledge these 11 women who have done wonders for increasing lesbian visibility and inclusion.

Thank you so much, ladies! Keep it up!

Anna Grodska

Anna Grodska

When Anna was appointed to the Parliament in Poland, she became the very first transgender member in the world – which is a huge accomplishment for the trans community at large. She has founded an organization dedicated to the advancement of LGBT+ rights, including issues facing the trans community in Poland. Thank you, Anna!

Tammy Baldwin

Tammy Baldwin

Tammy was a big deal to lesbians with dreams of politics in the United States – being the first openly gay senator as well as the first woman ever elected to represent the state of Wisconsin. You are truly an inspiration – maybe someday you’ll run for president! Thank you, Tammy!

Sarah Gilbert


For the creative tomboy types, Sarah Gilbert has been an icon since her early days on Roseanne – but after she came out of the closet and opened up about her marriage to Linda Perry (of 4 Non Blondes fame), she reminded every single lesbian that had a crush on her in the early ‘90s that she really was one of us. Thank you, Sarah!

Jane Lynch

14th Annual Costume Designers Guild Awards With Presenting Sponsor Lacoste - Arrivals

This sassy-mouthed goddess embodies so many life goals for me, and she is another one of the faces that helped make mainstream Hollywood lesbians a real possibility. Thank you, Jane!

Laverne Cox


Laverne Cox is one of the first transgender actresses to make it to super-mega-mainstream fame. More than just becoming a household name, she has also taken huge steps in support of the LGBT+ community at large. Thank you, Laverne!

Sue Sanders


Sue is a leader in the LGBT activism community, and the socially-involved among us will aspire to create as much change as she has. Since 2004, she has been the chair of Schools Out, an organization that deals with LGBT people in education professions. Thank you, Sue!

Julie Bindel

Julie Bindel

For our representation of lesbians in the print medias, Julie is an active journalist covering the complex topics of transgenderism, violence against women, feminism, sex workers, and even radical lesbianism, among other things. Her voice represents many who cannot find their own. Thank you, Julie!

Ellen Degeneres


No list of lesbian heroes would be complete without Ellen. She is collectively our lesbian mother, and someone we all wish we could have on speed dial. Being one of the first openly gay comedians, she helped pave the way for mainstream acceptance of “out” Hollywood faces. Thank you, Ellen!

Sarah Kate Ellis

Sarah Kate Ellis

In terms of making strides for the gay community, Sarah is one of the leaders – specifically the President and CEO of GLAAD. One of the most widely-known companies helping to put a stop to issues of discrimination, Sarah has fostered a relationship to help dispel homophobic slander in the mainstream media. Thank you, Sarah!

Angela Eagle

For those in the UK with political dreams, consider Angela Eagle – she was the first openly gay Parliament member when she came out in 1997. She maintains an active membership with a recent appointing to Jeremy Corbin’s first Shadow Cabinet in September 2015. Thank you, Angela!

Mary Lambert


Mary is well-known for her big opening bringing lesbian topics into mainstream country (and rap!) music – something that hadn’t really been done before her. She openly speaks about her feelings, mental health, and body positivity – three things that received a huge amount of attention in 2015 (and we hope the trend continues in 2016). Thank you, Mary!

What heroes do you look up to? We are always looking to recognize influential faces in the gay community, especially those who inspire others to live up to their full potential. This world is full of too much doubt already – let’s appreciate the women who have overcome it.

GLAAD 2015 Report Highlights Lack of Representation for Lesbian, Bi and Trans Characters in Hollywood Films

Studios still aren’t doing enough to show lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender characters on screen, according GLAAD’s to the annual Studio Responsibility Index (SRI).

The report maps the quantity, quality, and diversity of images of LGBT people in films released by the seven largest motion picture studios and four major subsidiary studios during the 2014 calendar year.

GLAAD’s 2015 report found that just 17.5% of the 114 major studio releases it tracked last year contained characters that identified as either lesbian, gay or bisexual.

The vast majority – 65% – of these inclusive films feature gay male characters, many of them white.

Less than a third of the 20 films that contained LGBT characters featured bisexual roles, and just 10% had lesbian characters.

According to the study, there were no characters GLAAD determined to be identifiably transgender among any films tracked this year.

As television and streaming services continue to produce a remarkable breadth of diverse LGBT representations, we still struggle to find depictions anywhere near as authentic or meaningful in mainstream Hollywood film. The industry continues to look increasingly out of touch by comparison, and still doesn’t represent the full diversity of the American cultural fabric,”

Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President & CEO

Though the overall number of films containing LGBT characters has increased slightly from last year, Hollywood still presents a dire portrayal of diversity.

Most of the LGBT characters were cast in minor roles or were solely defined by their sexual orientation, rather than being a multidimensional character.

Half of the inclusive films contained less than five minutes of screen time for their LGBT characters. Only 32.1% of inclusive roles were people of colour, compared to 24% the previous year.

GLAAD introduced the “Vito Russo Test” in 2012, a set of criteria analysing how LGBT characters are represented in a fictional work, in the first SRI and continues to judge films by these simple guidelines. Named after GLAAD co-founder and celebrated film historian Vito Russo, and partly inspired by the “Bechdel Test,” these criteria represent a standard GLAAD would like to see a greater number of mainstream Hollywood films reach in the future.

The Vito Russo Test criteria:

  1. The film contains a character that is identifiably lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender (LGBT).
  2. That character must not be solely or predominantly defined by their sexual orientation or gender identity (i.e. the character is comprised of the same sort of unique character traits commonly used to differentiate straight characters from one another).
  3. The LGBT character must be tied into the plot in such a way that their removal would have a significant effect. Meaning they are not there to simply provide colorful commentary, paint urban authenticity, or (perhaps most commonly) set up a punchline. The character should “matter.”

Eleven of the 20 major studio films that featured an LGBT character passed the Vito Russo Test.

While we were pleased to see Warner Brothers show real improvement in its LGBT-inclusive films in 2014, they also recently released the comedy Get Hard, one of the most problematic films we have seen in some time. This glaring lack of consistency seems to be common amongst almost every major film studio, showing a need for greater oversight in how their films represent – or don’t represent – significant portions of their audience. Only when they make those changes and catch up to other, more consistently inclusive media portrayals will we be able to say that America’s film industry is a full partner in accelerating acceptance.”

Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President & CEO

GLAAD’s 9th annual Network Responsibility Index (NRI) will be issued this summer. This report will analyse the LGBT-inclusive images presented by the five broadcast networks and 10 cable networks during the 2014-2015 broadcast season. The Where We Are on TV report, forecasting the expected presence of LGBT characters for the upcoming 2015-2016 television season, will follow in the fall.

Ellen DeGeneres to Present Scandal’s Kerry Washington with GLAAD Award

Scandal star Kerry Washington will be honored with the Vanguard Award, at the 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, and talk show host Ellen Degeneres, will be present it to her. Ellen has also received the same honor at the 9th GLAAD Media Awards ceremony, and has been nominated for 12 GLAAD Media Awards total.

Washington is big-time LGBT ally. Not, only does she work on the LGBT-inclusive show, Scandal, she has always supported LGBT equality, participating in GLAAD’s annual anti-bullying campaign, Spirit Day, by wearing purple to show her support for LGBT youth. She has also talked about the importance of stopping bullying on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Washington has also spoken out against the repression of LGBT people in Russia and Africa, and advocated for marriage equality for same-sex couples.

In 2009 Washington was also appointed by President Barrack Obama to the President’s Committee of the Arts and Humanities, and in 2014 Washington was named on Time’s 100 Most Influential People list.

“Throughout her illustrious career, Kerry Washington has consistently brought life to characters that encourage acceptance of LGBT people. Her outspoken support for equality, both her at home and abroad, has sent messages of hope and empowerment to fans all over the world, fostering dialogue that builds understanding and helps move hearts and minds.”

Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President and CEO

Alan Cumming’s ‘Celibacy’ Video Mocks FDA Blood Donor Policy

As part of a campaign intended to criticize the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) blood donor policies, actor Alan Cumming appeared in a mock public service announcement, touting a Celibacy Challenge for gay and bisexual men.

The video is part of a campaign, created by the design firm Bullitt and advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi NY, for GLAAD and the Gay Men’s Health Crisis’ response to the double standard for gay and bisexual men hoping to donate blood.

The Celibacy Challenge campaign comes after the FDA announced in December that men who have sex with men would no longer be banned from donating blood for life, as they have been since 1983, but would still need to abstain from sex for a year in order to be eligible.

“Now if you’re gay and you want to save lives, the FDA will let you. You just can’t have sex, for an entire year. That’s right, 365 days of celibacy. 

Introducing, the Celibacy Challenge! To help you abstain from any naughty temptation, here are some fully approved activities that are guaranteed to make your year without sex fly by.

…Or there’s another option. Sign our petition.”

Alan Cumming

The goal, as Cumming says at the end of the video, is to put pressure the FDA, and to change its questionnaire, so donors are screened based on their exposure to risk, and not their sexual orientation.

The petition points out that whereas straight men who have safe sex with multiple women can still donate blood, gay and bisexual men who have had safe sex in the last year (even with a monogamous partner) are still prohibited from doing the same.

In December, Dr. Peter Marks, deputy director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, told The New York Times that “at this time we simply do not have the evidence to suggest that we can go to a shorter period.”

“Stereotypes have no place in saving lives. The FDA’s proposed change still means that countless gay and bisexual men will be turned away from blood banks simply because of who they are.”

Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD president and CEO

Study Shows 2014 Has Seen an Increase in Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Characters on Mainstream TV

Television has increased its depiction of gay, lesbian and bisexual characters, with the edge going to cable and the Internet over broadcast networks, according to a study released by GLAAD.

“Television networks are playing a key role in promoting cultural understanding of LGBT lives around the world, and are now producing some of the best LGBT-inclusive programming we’ve yet seen. As they move forward with new programs and storylines, networks must also keep an eye towards diversity and strive to include significant transgender content comparable to those efforts being made by their online competitors, such as Netflix’s Orange is the New Black and Amazon’s Transparent.”

Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President and CEO

The overall on-screen progress comes as the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has made social and political strides that include legalization of same-sex marriage in some U.S. states and the end of a military ban on openly gay service members.

In the 2014-15 season, the study by GLAAD said that 3.9 percent of 813 characters regularly seen on prime-time network scripted series will be lesbian, gay or bisexual, a total of 32 characters.

That represents an increase over last year’s 3.3 percent, but is down from the 4.4 percent record high for LGBT depictions on network series in 2012.

Among the networks, Fox again emerged with the highest percentage of lesbian, gay or bisexual regular characters, 6.5 percent, with “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “Glee” among the programs contributing to the tally. ABC, which had tied with Fox for first last year at 5.4 percent, dropped to 4.5 percent.

NBC is at 3.8 percent, up almost 3 points from last year, while CBS’ shows had 3.2 percent gay, lesbian or bisexual characters, up from 1.9 percent from last season. The CW has no regular LGBT characters, the gay rights group said.

Among cable TV shows, there were 64 regular LGBT characters, up from 42 last season. HBO has the most characters, followed by ABC Family and Showtime. One transgender character, on ABC Family’s “The Fosters,” was found by the study.

Tom Ascheim, President of ABC Family said…

“To be relevant to our audience, we must reflect the world as they experience it, and we know that experience is based on valuing loving relationships, no matter the gender.  This acknowledgment is especially gratifying because it means we are representing their view accurately. We will continue to deliver programming where differences are acknowledged and celebrated.”

Tom Ascheim, President of ABC Family

Michael Lombardo, President, HBO Programming added…

“This recognition from GLAAD belongs to those in the writing room, on set and in the editing bay but we are honored to be their partner and provide a home where they can tell their stories. At HBO we feel if we are not telling diverse stories then we are missing out on some of the best stories.  It is a part of our history and an ongoing commitment. “

Michael Lombardo, President, HBO Programming.

President of MTV and Logo TV said Stephen Friedman

“For MTV to fully connect with young people, we have to represent our entire audience in all its brilliant diversity, which includes people of every sexual orientation and gender identity. We’re honored to receive GLAAD’s recognition, and are committed to airing the stories of LGBTQ young people – to provide our audience characters they can relate to, and to bring new voices from the LGBTQ community into living rooms across the country.”

Stephen Friedman, President of MTV and Logo TV

GLAAD also studied other aspects of diversity on network TV. Despite several new high-profile broadcast series starring women, including Alfre Woodward as the U.S. president in NBC’s “State of Affairs” and Tea Leoni as secretary of state in CBS’ “Madam Secretary,” the percentage of female characters has declined to 40 percent, down 3 points from last year.

Ethnic characters on network shows make up 27 percent of the total, compared with 23 percent last season, with 1.4 percent depicted as people with disabilities, a slight increase from 1 percent in 2013.

‘God vs. Gay’ in Mainstream Media – HRC and GLAAD Unveil Groundbreaking Resource to Challenge Anti-LGBT Views

GLAAD and HRC Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest advocacy group for LGBT rights, today unveiled ‘In Focus: Faith, LGBT People, & the Midterm Elections’ a groundbreaking resource guide that empowers journalists to challenge anti-LGBT talking heads who mask bias as a ‘tenet of faith.’

“It’s time the media gets it right. More and more churches, faith leaders, and religious Americans are speaking out in support of equality, but their voices remain missing in mainstream media. It’s time to close the gap on misrepresentation and challenge the tired idea that equality is not a religious value.”

Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President & CEO

Back in 2012, GLAAD released “GLAAD’s Missing Voices: A study of religious voices in mainstream media reports about LGBT equality.” The report found that three out of four religious messages came from spokespeople whose religions have formal policies or culture opposing LGBT equality, despite the fact that acceptance of LGBT people is growing across faith traditions. Additionally, mainstream media outlets use far fewer religious sources from Mainline Protestant, Jewish, or other denominations whose messages were predominantly positive and accepting of LGBT people. Far too often, outlets frame stories as “God vs. Gay,” inaccurately representing the current climate of acceptance across faith communities today. The newly released guide seeks to correct these disparities in reporting.

“It’s long past time that anti-LGBT activists who claim to be people of faith had to answer a few simple questions about what the Bible and other holy books actually say. I grew up in a Southern Baptist congregation, going to church Sunday morning, Sunday night and, if my Mom got her way, Wednesday night too. The message I learned sitting in those church pews was that we are all God’s children, and you’ve got to love your neighbor as yourself.”

Chad Griffin, HRC President Chad Griffin

Visit www.glaad.org/faith to learn more about GLAAD’s Religion, Faith & Values program, and www.hrc.org/religion for resources and to learn more about HRC’s work with religious communities.

Game Changers Google and YouTube is to be Honored at GLAAD Gala

GLAAD, has announced it will honor global technology leader Google and video-sharing innovator YouTube at the GLAAD Gala San Francisco: Game Changers at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square on September 13, 2014.

At the gala, Google and YouTube will receive the Ric Weiland Award, which honors innovators who advance LGBT equality through tech and new media. The award is named after Ric Weiland, who was a computer software pioneer and philanthropist. Together with his surviving partner Mike Schaefer, he is known for his dedication to LGBT and HIV/AIDS organizations.

Why Google?

For years, Google has been one of Silicon Valley’s most vocal supporters of LGBT equality.

  • In 2008, Google spoke out against California’s Proposition 8, a statewide ban on marriage for same-sex couples, and donated significant contributions to efforts to remove the ban.
  • In 2010, Google announced that it would cover extra health coverage-related costs incurred by gay and lesbian couples unable to legally wed.
  • The following year, Google expanded its employee healthcare coverage to include transition-related care for its transgender employees.
  • In 2012, the company launched ‘Legalize Love,’ an international effort to “promote safer conditions for gay and lesbian people inside and outside the office in countries with anti-gay laws on the books.”
  • That same year, Google unveiled a YouTube video showcasing employees speaking out in support of marriage equality in four battleground states – Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington.
  • In 2013, YouTube unveiled its first-ever pride campaign, #ProudToLove, and changed its logo to be pride-themed for the first time in the company’s history.
  • Earlier this year, Google showed its support for LGBT Russians through a rainbow ‘Google Doodle,’ which debuted just hours before the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
  • And in June, YouTube unveiled its #ProudToPlay campaign – a celebration of LGBT equality in sports. The campaign was featured on the YouTube and Google homepages and marked the second consecutive year that YouTube changed its logo for a pride campaign.

“Few companies have the power to reach billions, and even fewer use that power to help ensure everyone can live the life they love. Tech innovators like Google are now at the forefront of the global conversation on LGBT equality, ushering in a new era of acceptance and understanding for users across the world. Through groundbreaking campaigns, outspoken support, and a relentless commitment to its LGBT employees, Google has raised the bar on corporate leadership that drives equality forward.”

Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President & CEO


American Apparel Show Support for LGBT Pride Month Once Again

GLAAD and American Apparel, have announced a renewal of their annual pride partnership with a newly designed t-shirt to be released in conjunction with LGBT Pride Month.

Fifteen percent of all net sales will benefit GLAAD’s work to rewrite the script for LGBT equality.

The shirts, which are now available online and in stores across the nation, can be viewed here: http://store.americanapparel.net/screen-printed-unisex-power-washed-t-shirt-out-pride_2011spout

“American Apparel has always been a passionate ally of the LGBTQI community. From our now iconic “Legalize Gay!” and “GAY O.K.” tag lines and our ongoing partnership with GLAAD, American Apparel is committed for the long haul.”

Dov Charney, founder and CEO of American Apparel.

“Pride is not only about celebrating all that LGBT people and families have achieved but also a time when we should all reflect on the next steps to create a world where everyone can live a life they love,”

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.

For more information or to join GLAAD and American Apparel at the NYC Pride march, visit www.glaad.org/pride.