The 29th annual GLAAD Media Awards are coming up and you have absolutely no idea what GLAAD means or what these awards stand for? Don’t you worry, we got you covered.

The 2018 Awards Season may have had it’s grand finale with the Oscars, but there is still one award show waiting to happen – and it’s a rather special one. The 29th annual GLAAD Media Awards are coming up this Thursday and Shadowhunters is once again nominated for “Outstanding Drama Series”, which it already won in 2017.

There’s still a few days until the ceremony, but if you are unfamiliar with the GLAAD awards or just want to brush up your knowledge on the amazing work that GLAAD does, here’s your chance. Sit back and read on as we answer any impending questions you have had about the GLAAD awards.

What does GLAAD stand for?

GLAAD is an American non-profit organization that was founded in 1985 as a protest to what they considered defamatory AIDS coverage of the New York Post. Ever since then, the organization has been focusing on increasing representation and decreasing discrimination of the LGBTQ+ community in not only print, but all kinds of media. The term GLAAD originally stood for “Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation”, but was changed into the acronym in 2013 when GLAAD started to include bisexual and transgender issues in their work as well. GLAAD operates from all over the US, but its main headquarters are located in New York City and Los Angeles, with the LA department being particularly influential due to its close proximity to the entertainment industry. The current president is Sarah Kate Ellis.

GLAAD is one of the most influential advocates for minority groups in the world and has been responsible for many interesting initiatives in the past, such as Spirit Day or Bi Week. Check out more about their work here (https://www.glaad.org/programs).

What are the GLAAD awards?

Each year, GLAAD honors particularly well-done representation of the LGBTQ+ community in American media. The awards include outstanding work in film and television, but also in other media branches such as theatre, music, journalism or advertising. The very first award show took place in 1990 in New York City. As GLAAD has since increased its influence and now operates from both coasts, there are now two ceremonies every year, one in New York and the other in Los Angeles. The ceremonies usually take place in spring, just a few weeks apart from each other, and have been broadcast on TV since 2005. Like many other award shows, the GLAAD awards honor achievements in media from the previous year.  

This year’s GLAAD awards take place on April 12th, 2018 at 6pm EST (12pm CEST) at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. The show will be hosted by actress Wanda Sykes.

The GLAADs in New York are scheduled for May 5th, 2018 at 5.30 pm EST (11.30pm CEST) at the New York Hilton Midtown.

Who picks the nominees?

As opposed to other award shows, fans can’t do anything to influence who will win a GLAAD award. The nominees are selected by the so-called “Nomination Juries” which consist of up to five people per category. The members of the Nominating Juries have expertise in the category that they are judging and monitor projects that fit into their category throughout the year. At the end of each year, they put together a list of suggestions and send it to the GLAAD Board of Directors for approval. However, projects don’t necessarily have to be suggested by one of the juries, media outlets can also submit their works themselves.

Before projects actually get nominated for an award, they have to fit four criteria:

Fair, Accurate and Inclusive Representation: the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community is represented in the project

Boldness and Originality: the project handles LGBTQ+ related issues in a new and original way

Cultural Impact: the project increases the cultural dialogue regarding LGBTQ+ issues or reaches an audience that is not regularly exposed to LGBTQ+ related matters

– Overall Quality: the project is of such high quality that it adds significance to the images and issues portrayed

This year’s list of nominees can be found here: (https://www.glaad.org/mediaawards/nominees)

Who selects the winners?

Once the nominees are chosen, over 700 GLAAD voters can pick their favorites in an online voting. Those 700 voters consist of three groups: the GLAAD staff and board, members of the GLAAD Media Circle and also GLAAD volunteers and allies, which includes previous honorees, important supporters from the media industry, the Nominating Juries and the event production team.

The results of the online voting is then examined by a review panel which consists of GLAAD Board co-chairs, GLAAD staff and experts from the media industry, who eventually pick the winners based on the online voting and their own opinions.

Fun fact: Although the winners are kept a secret until the award ceremonies, not all of them are announced on stage, as there is just not enough time for all 25 categories.  The recipients that are not presented with their awards on stage are instead listed in the ceremony’s program book.

What’s the deal with the blue “&”?

The blue ampersand sign is the symbol of the “Together Movement”, an initiative launched by GLAAD that aims to represent solidarity with marginalized communities. The initiative focuses not only on the LGBTQ+ communities but all the other communities that are suffering from discrimination, such as women, people of color, or immigrants.

By wearing the “&”, people declare their support with these groups, which is one of the reasons why these little blue pins are so popular amongst the attendees of the GLAAD awards every year.  You can find more information on the Together Movement here: https://www.glaad.org/togethermovement

Can we watch the GLAADs somewhere?

Last year, Logo TV broadcast the ceremony on TV in the US. We couldn’t find any information on whether they would do it again this year, but we will keep you posted on twitter as soon as we find out more about it.

We don’t know whether anyone from Shadowhunters will be attending the ceremony this year, but for the past two years, both Matt and Harry were there. Fingers crossed that they will be the ones repping Shadowhunters once again.