Troye Sivan is kissed by Demi Lovato and Taylor Swift (Instagram)
A host of LGBT stars and their allies turned out for the GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles on Saturday night.
The annual awards recognise and honour media for their “fair, accurate and inclusive representations of LGBT community and the issues that affect their lives.”
The acclaimed lesbian romance film, Carol, won the Outstanding Film – Wide Release award. Starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, it was recently named the best LGBT film of all time by the British Film Institute.
Transgender themes were big winners on the night. Outstanding Comedy Series went to Transparent and the award for Outstanding Reality Program was a tie, with both Caitlyn Jenner’s I Am Cait and I Am Jazz taking the honour.
I Am Jazz, about American trans teen, Jazz Jennings, was the subject of controversy in South Africa after DSTV dropped the show from its line-up following complaints from transphobic Nigerian viewers.
“I’m honoured to share this award with Jazz,” Jenner said. “We have so many issues with trans youth, suicide rates and murder rates, and with your example with your show, it gives these young people hope that they can survive those very difficult times as they grow up trying to figure out who they are.”
Jenner has come under criticism for being out of touch with transgender issues and politics. Despite this, it was revealed shortly after the awards that she would be appearing in upcoming episodes of Transparent.
Outstanding Drama Series was won by Sense8. Accepting the award was co-creator Lilly Wachowski, making her first public appearance since coming out as trans last month.
Taylor Swift surprised the audience when she walked on stage to present lesbian and gender fluid actress Ruby Rose with the Stephen F. Kolzak Award; given to an LGBT media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality and acceptance.
Swift called Rose a “force of nature” who “tells the world that no one can judge us and no one can stop us”.
In her speech, Rose spoke about growing up feeling different and without any role models to turn to. She said she was “stalked, verbally abused and beaten until I was hospitalised” and even attempted suicide.
“I dreamt of being a famous singer or an actor who, through my work, could inspire others to be themselves or hang in there. I had no idea how I dreamt so big when I felt so small, but I know it got me through each day. I wanted to be the person I couldn’t find in my life,” said Rose.
Multi-platinum selling singer and actress Demi Lovato was presented with the Vanguard Award by fellow singer Nick Jonas. She was recognised for her long-standing support for the LGBT community and for speaking out against bullying.
The star made waves at the ceremony when she joked: “What people don’t know about me is I know that you all love Nick Jonas but I actually have a bigger dick than he does… And a huge set of balls.”
She went on to say: “I always knew that if I ever made it as a singer, that I needed to use my voice for so much more than just singing. And this award means so much to me, more than music, any music award, because this is the real stuff. ”
Openly gay South African-born actor and singer Troye Sivan received the gong for Outstanding Music Artist thanks to his acclaimed debut album, Blue Neighbourhood.
Queen Latifah, who continues to be the subject of rumours about her sexuality, accepted the Outstanding TV Movie or Limited Series honour for Bessie, in which she starred as as blues performer, Bessie Smith.
Latifah didn’t address her own identity but did dedicate the award to LGBT family members; including “a lesbian [aunt] who raised me … my inspiration.”
Additional 2016 media awards will be presented by GLAAD at another event in New York next month.