3 Things to Watch Before the GLAAD Media Awards!

The 2023 GLAAD Media Awards are packed with impactful nominations across film, TV, journalism, and more. Here are 3 pieces of media you should see before the ceremony and how they matter for the LGBTQ+ community.

The 34th annual GLAAD Media Awards are coming to New York on May 13. Here are three nominees across categories you should make sure to watch and how their stories, characters, and themes empower the LGBTQ+ community.

Framing Agnes

Framing Agnes (2022) is nominated for Outstanding Documentary, and it is outstanding indeed. I saw an early release of the film at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles in April 2022 (followed by an awesome Q&A with director Chase Joynt, lead actress Zackary Drucker, and sociologist Kristen Schilt), and it rocked my world as a young transgender person.

Framing Agnes combines traditional documentary with a stylized reenactment of trans people who participated in Harold Garfinkel’s gender health research at UCLA in the 1960s. The reenactments parrot a sensationalized talk show with the host being Joynt himself. The film intercuts between the trans perspectives of today and our stories of yesterday, commenting on what these people had to go through to live their truth. Their conversations are pulled from actual research notes and transcripts preserved by the UCLA Film and Television Archive.

The film does not shy away from moral ambiguity or complexity in its characters. We are witnessing real people navigate real and treacherous circumstances of mid-20th century America with their intersections along race, gender, and class lines on full display. It humanizes trans people in a way most films do not.

With a cast entirely made up of transgender people and a crew of storytellers clearly dedicated to uplifting the authentic experiences of the community, plus the unique pseudo-documentary style, Framing Agnes is a must watch!

Framing Agnes is available to rent on Apple TV and Prime Video.

Everything Everywhere All at Once

If you haven’t seen Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022), drop everything and do it! This film is estimated to be the most awarded of all time and is the most awarded Best Picture winner at the Oscars since Slumdog Millionaire (2008). At the 2023 GLAAD Media Awards, it’s nominated for Outstanding Film (Wide Release).

Everything Everywhere is an absurdist comedy thriller exploring generational trauma through an Asian-American family propelled into the multiverse. Joy, the daughter of the family played phenomenally by Stephanie Hsu, is a lesbian navigating her complex relationship with her mother and the impending hopelessness that follows.

This film is a refreshing queer perspective in a sea of white, masculine representation. It recognizes the undersung pain of tolerance and having a family who keeps your identity under wraps for the sake of keeping the peace. It also recognizes that there is no one-and-done fix for trauma caused by past homophobia and subtle mistreatment from your parents; relationships need time to heal, and Everything Everywhere sets the groundwork for that journey beautifully.

Everything Everywhere All at Once is currently streaming on Showtime.

Heartbreak High

Heartbreak High is an underrated gem and the only television show on our very short list. The Netflix show is nominated for Outstanding New TV Series and will be returning for a second season soon (although it has no official release date yet).

Heartbreak High is a teen dramedy series following a group of high school friends navigating love, sex, and relationships. It’s a reboot of the Australian series of the same name, which ran for 7 seasons starting in 1994.

I particularly wanted to highlight this show for its intersectional characters and nuanced writing. One of the main characters, Quinni (played by Chloé Hayden), is an autistic, lesbian with two dads. Hayden is actually autistic herself, and much of Quinni’s story explores her disabled identity and the ableism commonly faced by autistic people in their interpersonal relationships. The actress is a vocal disability activist and wants her voice to be a catalyst for many to come: “We need autistic people in front of the camera. We need autistic writers, directors, producers, and creative consultants. We need people in every single chair to make sure that representation happens.”

The show also features bisexual, nonbinary, and asexual characters and several main characters of color. A lot of queer media puts one white gay man into a dynamic full of straight people; it’s refreshing to see intersectional, proud characters thrive and have complicated lives surrounded by people who are just like them.

Heartbreak High is streaming on Netflix.

Queer representation is getting better year after year, and I can’t wait to see what comes out next!

Find the full list of nominees and winners here.

About the Author

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Christopher Ikonomou

Christopher Ikonomou is a 4th year at the University of California, Los Angeles pursuing Communication and Disability Studies. He has a particular interest in the entertainment industry and representation of marginalized people in film and TV. On campus, he is the Editor-in-Chief at OutWrite Newsmagazine, the oldest queer college publication in the United States, and an activist with the Disabled Student Union. He’s a horror superfan and has been featured by Buzzfeed, UCLA College, Bored Panda, and Teen Vogue for his vocal involvement in the fight for better representation of the disabled community on screen and in the genre, particularly those with Marfan syndrome like himself.