Demi Lovato to Make Special Appearance During This Week’s Virtual GLAAD Media Awards

Demi Lovato’s GLAAD to accept the invitation…

The 27-year-old half-Mexican American singer/actress will be taking part in this year’s GLAAD Media Awards.

Demi Lovato

Lovato, who recently announced her engagement to fiancé Max Ehrich, will make a special appearance during the virtual ceremony.

The organization announced that along with a special musical performance from Chloe x Halle, the show will also now feature two new performers; actor and singer Ben Platt, and singer-songwriter Shea Diamond.

In addition to Lovato, stars like Jennifer GarnerLilly SinghCharli XCX, Kandi BurrussTheo GermaineAugust GettyGigi Gorgeous GettyNats GettyHarvey Guillén and Darryl Stephens will also appear throughout the event.

“Among this year’s nominees are a wide range of stories and narratives about LGBTQ people of different races, ethnicities, genders, religions, and other identities that demonstrate the power of inclusion and diversity in fostering positive cultural change,” GLAAD president & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement. “As this year’s Media Awards go virtual, we hope to send a powerful message to LGBTQ people that in the midst of this culturally and politically divisive time, our visibility and voices have never been more important.” 

Ahead of Thursday’s ceremony, GLAAD is already beginning to announce select winners, including Transparent: Musicale Finale for Outstanding TV Movie

The organization will continue to announce winners on their Twitter account leading right up to the start of the ceremony.

The show will be livestreamed on Thursday, July 30 at 8:00 pm ET via GLAAD’s YouTube and Facebook pages.

Mj Rodriguez to Take Part in GLAAD’s “Together in Pride: You are Not Alone” Live Stream Event

Mj Rodriguezis bringing the pride to sheltering in place…

GLAAD will host the live stream event “Together in Pride: You are Not Alone” in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the 29-year-old half-Puerto Rican actress and Pose star among the celebrities taking part.

MJ Rodriguez

The event will be available on GLAAD’s YouTube channel and Facebook Liveon April 26 at 8:00 pm ET. 

“Together In Pride” will raise funds for LGBTQ community centers impacted by the coronavirus.

In addition to Rodriguez, the event will include appearances by Billy EichnerMatt BomerAdam LambertLilly Singh, Bebe RexhaDan LevyWilson CruzGigi GorgeousNats GettyMichelle Visage, Javier MuñozSean HayesSharon Stone,Tatiana Maslany, with more guests being announced soon.

The event will include performances by Kesha and Melissa Etheridge.

Actor and producer Erich Bergen is working alongside GLAAD to bring the event to the masses.See More

 “At a time when some LGBTQ people could be isolating in homes that are not affirming, GLAAD is bringing together the biggest LGBTQ stars and allies to send messages of love, support and acceptance,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “So many LGBTQ people, especially our youth, depend on support from local community centers around the country, and during this time of financial distress, we must come together as a community to ensure that all LGBTQ organizations can continue their life-saving work.”

“Together in Pride: You are Not Alone” will also raise critical funds for CenterLink, a coalition of more than 250 LGBTQ community centers from 45 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, as well as Canada, China, Mexico, and Australia. 

CenterLink strengthens, supports, and connects LGBTQ community centers, which serve over 2 million people each year. Participating community centers will also share the livestream on their social platforms.

“LGBTQ centers are the heart of the community, and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic these centers have continued to provide vital connectivity and services, pivoting to virtual programming, modifying in-person services when possible, and ensuring that their communities have resources and support when they need it the most,” said Denise Spivak, Interim CEO of CenterLink.

In March, GLAAD joined over 100 LGBTQ organizations in an open letter calling on U.S. public health officials and media to address the heightened vulnerability of LGBTQ people to COVID-19. Amongst other factors, the LGBTQ community experiences higher rates of cancer, HIV, and tobacco use — all which factor into higher susceptibility to negative outcomes from COVID-19. Additionally, LGBTQ people continue to experience discrimination and unwelcoming attitudes in medical settings, and as a result, many are reluctant to seek medical care. On Wednesday, Centerlink released a letter signed by over 160 LGBTQ community centers to House and Senate leaders, urging them to include nonprofits who serve the LGBTQ population in future relief packages.

Julian Castro to Take Part in 2020 Presidential Candidate Forum on LGBTQ Issues

Julian Castro will be discussing LGBTQ Issues later this week…

The 45-year-old Mexican American politician and Democratic US presidential candidate will take part in the national 2020 Presidential Candidate Forum on LGBTQ Issues.

Julian Castro

Hosted by Pose actress Angelica Ross, the forum is presented by GLAADOne IowaThe Gazette and The Advocate and will be livestreamed from Coe College’s Sinclair Auditorium in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on September 20 at 7:00 pm CT.

In addition to Castro, whowas the youngest member of President Barack Obama‘s Cabinet, serving as the 16th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 2014 to 2017, participants include Joe BidenCory BookerPete Buttigieg, Tulsi GabbardKamala HarrisAmy Klobuchar, Joe SestakElizabeth Warren and Marianne Williamson. Country artist and contestant on season 11 of The Voice Billy Gilman is set to perform the National Anthem at the event.

A transgender activist, Ross will join GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellison stage tol bring LGBTQ specific-issues to the forefront of discussion in the 2020 presidential election. 

During the Forum, each candidate will discuss their plan and vision for improving LGBTQ acceptance in a divisive time for marginalized communities.

“This LGBTQ Presidential Forum is a pivotal moment in the 2020 election cycle,” said Ellis. “It’s the first time that LGBTQ issues will be exclusively discussed by 2020 presidential candidates on a national stage.”

She adds, “We look forward to hearing how the 2020 candidates plan to reverse the attacks and rollbacks of the Trump Administration and put LGBTQ Americans on a course to 100% acceptance.”

This comes at a time when members of the American LGBTQ community have faced more than 124 anti-LGBTQ attacks in policy and rhetoric from the Trump Administration. This includes the ban on transgender Americans from serving in the military and the administration’s opposition to the Equality Act.

Gomez Among 24 Artists Featured on Orlando Shooting Charity Single “Hands”

Selena Gomez is lending her hands to help the victims of the Orlando Shooting.

The 23-year-old half-Mexican American singer/actress is among 24 artists featured on a new recording to raise money for the victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre.

Selena Gomez

The all-star release, entitled “Hands” — a charity single from Interscope Records with support from GLAAD — was conceived by hit songwriter Justin Tranter, co-writer of Justin Bieber’sSorry” and hits for Gomez, DNCE, Fall Out Boy and Gwen Stefani.

In addition to Gomez, the single also features Jennifer Lopez, who has worked on her own charity single with Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, Stefani, Jason Derulo, Meghan Trainor, Juanes, Pink, Mary J. Blige and Britney Spears.

The June 12 shooting at the gay nightclub in Orlando, which killed 49 people and injured 53, is the most deadly mass shooting in American history and the deadliest act of violence against the LGBT community.

Funds from the song will aid families with medical care, counseling and will also be used for education.

“Like the rest of the world I woke up to the news that morning and was horrified and sad and scared,” says Tranter, who has raised money and awareness for LGBT causes since coming out at age 14.

“Hands” is available on iTunes.

Proceeds will be distributed by Equality Florida Pulse Victims Fund, the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida and GLAAD.

The idea for the all-star project came together one day after the shooting.

L.A.-based Tranter and songwriting partner Julia Michaels had been on the road with Gomez writing songs aboard her tour bus in Miami the weekend of June 11 when news of the bloodshed prompted Tranter to switch course. That afternoon he signed on as a volunteer at The Center Orlando, the region’s chief LGBT community center.

“I called them and said, ‘If I fly up is there something for me to help with?'” he tells Billboard. “They say, ‘We need as many hands as we can possibly get.'”

“Hands” took hold the next day when Tranter met GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis who had arrived at the center from New York.

Beyond their immediate efforts — distributing food and water and GLAAD’s work with media — both were looking to make contributions that would have ongoing benefits. They point out that the massacre was also a profound attack on people of color, as that Saturday evening had been a popular “Latin Night” at Pulse. Most of the victims were of Latin heritage and Ellis says she does not want that point forgotten.

“When you hear the song it talks about hate being the driver here,” she says, “and that’s important because we have to be able to identify what’s driving these cruel acts in order to stop them. Artists using their platforms to accelerate acceptance is very powerful.”

Aligning with Interscope for the release, Tranter, GLAAD and Interscope president of A&R Aaron Bay-Schuck put the word out that a fundraiser was in the works. Within days artists from all spheres of the business had lined up — also among them Halsey, Ty Herndon, Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons, Adam Lambert, The Trans Chorus of Los Angeles, MNEK, Alex Newell, Mary Lambert, Prince Royce, Jussie Smollett, Nate Ruess and RuPaul — all recording separately from their homes, local studios, touring locations or wherever they happened to be at that moment.

“We assigned everybody what we thought would be the best part for their voice,” Tranter says, “and we asked them all to sing an additional part, just in case. But everybody got it done in time so we ended up with extra vocals.”

In Los Angeles “Interscope let us use their studio,” he notes. “Mary J. Blige recorded in New Orleans. Britney Spears in Thousand Oaks, I think. Pink in Santa Barbara. MNEK recorded at home in London. Selena recorded in her studio bus. Dan Reynolds recorded in his home. Adam Lambert was in Luxembourg. Ty Herndon the country star was in Spain. Kacey Musgraves, Nashville. Everyone just got it done.”

Another goal of the record, according to GLAAD, is to fund educational programs.

“This was an American guy who was born in Queens,” Ellis says of the gunman, Omar Mateen, 29, who was killed by police after a three hour stand-off. “He learned that hate here in America. This happened on American soil, against a particular community.”

While politicians and lobbyists have focused in recent weeks on Islamic terror and familiar narratives about gun ownership, Ellis, Tranter and others in the LGBT community want people to remember that this was a hate crime.

“I’m not educated enough to speak on the political details,” Tranter says. I’m a songwriter, not a politician. It could have been a million things but clearly, 100 percent, this was an attack on the LGBT community and people of color.”

“Hands” grew out of an unfinished piece that Tranter, Michaels and co-writer and producer BloodPop (formerly known as Blood Diamonds) had been working on and then shelved.

“The song didn’t ever finish itself and it didn’t ever feel right,” Tranter says of their initial efforts. “Now we know why.”

Mark Ronson also co-produced, while vocal engineer Benjamin Rice finessed the disparate tracks: “He helped us find the structure and make sense of it all.”

Warner/Chappell publishing executive Katie Vinten brought in numerous artists, among them P!nk, whom Tranter calls “a lifesaver,” adding, “Her vocal on the chorus is like from heaven directly.”

Spears opens the song with the plaintive line, “Can hold a gun or a hold a heart.” RuPaul is heard quietly toward the end, saying “take my hand baby.”

The songwriters had no specific plan as they entered the studio — only that they didn’t want the piece “to ever sound dated.”

“We didn’t want to have any trendy electronic elements,” Tranter notes. “We wanted it to sound classic, timeless and human. We want this anthem of positivity to be played for years to come.”

Download “Hands” here at iTunes.

Lovato to Receive Vanguard Award at This Year’s GLAAD Media Awards

There’s no denying Demi Lovato is a vanguard… And, now she’ll have the award to prove it.

The 23-year-old part-Mexican American actress will be honored with the Vanguard Award at this year’s GLAAD Media Awards.

Demi Lovato

Lovato is being feted for her commitment to supporting LGBT youth.

In 2013, the “Cool for the Summer” singer was the GLAAD ambassador for Spirit Day, part of their anti-bullying campaign. Additionally, Lovato’s was applauded for filming the official music video for her single “Really Don’t Care at the annual L.A. Pride parade in West Hollywood.

Previous honorees have included Jennifer LopezJanet Jackson, Kerry Washington and others.

A few of this year’s nominees include Adam Lambert and Le1f for outstanding music artist; Caitlyn Jenner’s I Am Cait for outstanding reality series; and the documentary Mala Mala for outstanding documentary.

The 27th annual GLAAD Media Awards will be held at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles on April 2.

Los Tigres del Norte Receive Special GLAAD Award for “Era Diferente”

Los Tigres del Norte have plenty of reason to be GLAAD

The norteño band received the Special Recognition (Spanish Language) Award at the 26th annual GLAAD Media Awards, held on March 21 at Los Angeles’ Beverly Hilton.

Los Tigres del Norte

Los Tigres del Norte  earned the award for their single “Era Diferente,” the first gay love song in the band’s 47-year history. The story of a young girl who falls in love with her female best friend, it’s also the first song of its kind in the genre.

Bandleader Jorge Hernandez, who wrote the lyrics while his brothers worked on the music, was surprised by the honor.

“I thought that no one would notice this song,” he told The Advocate. “[But now] people request it. The community is coming out to see us and this brings us great pride that these songs connect with them and brings them closer to us.”

Hernandez has said the idea for “Era Diferente,” from their most recent album Realidades, was born out of conversations with devout fans in the LGBT community over the years who wondered when they would write a corrido (a sung narrative) about them. “This interaction always stayed with me,” added Hernandez, “and I had the idea that one day I would write a song that would talk about this type of relationship.”

The five-member band, which recently received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, hopes to continue to reflect the stories of all Latinos.

“Sometimes in the Latino community we see machismo and problems with acceptance, but this is an area where acceptance is the most important because this is such a large community and we must accept people who love each other and live normal, happy lives,” Hernandez told The Advocate.

Lopez to Receive Vanguard Award at the GLAAD Media Awards

It’s a Vanguard moment for Jennifer Lopez 

The 44-year-old Puerto Rican singer-actress and American Idol judge will be feted at the GLAAD Media Awards next month, the LGBT advocacy organization announced Monday.

Jennifer Lopez

Lopez, an executive producer on ABC Family’s The Fosters, will be recognized with the Vanguard Award at the ceremony, which will take place at the Beverly Hilton on April 12.

The Vanguard Award is presented to artists and media professionals who, through their work, have increased the visibility and understanding of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Along with her strong support of LGBT issues in the media, Lopez is being recognized for her work on The Fosters, a GLAAD Media Award-nominated drama series about a lesbian couple raising a family of biological, adopted and foster children. Lopez’s inspiration for producing The Fosters came from her late aunt, who faced prejudice because of her sexual orientation and was unable to have her own family.

“Through her work to bring The Fosters to life and by consistently speaking out as a powerful ally, Jennifer Lopez has not only sent a message of acceptance to LGBT adults and young people, but inspired new support for our community among her many fans around the globe,” said GLAAD CEO and president Sarah Kate Ellis. “Family is about love, and that’s a message Jennifer has shared with millions through her groundbreaking work on The Fosters.”

Previous Vanguard honorees include Antonio Banderas, Drew Barrymore, Kristin Chenoweth, Whoopi Goldberg, Josh Hutcherson, Janet Jackson, Eric McCormack, Liza Minnelli, Sharon Stone and Elizabeth Taylor.

Naya Rivera Stands Up Against Gay Bullying…

Naya Rivera and Mario Lopez aren’t afraid to speak their minds when it comes to gay bullying…

The 24-year-old “Glee” star and 38-year-old actor and “Extra” host appear in a new anti-gay bullying campaign by sponsored by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).

Entitled “Amplify Your Voice,” the campaign features a series of PSAs with celebrities and young people speaking out against anti-LGBT bullying.

The ads urge viewers to take a stand against anti-LGBT bullying and direct viewers to GLAAD.org for resource kits offering best practices to parents, teachers and students. The free kits feature resources from organizations like the American Federation of Teachers, GLSEN, the National Center for Transgender Equality and The Trevor Project.

Other celebrities appearing in the spots include LGBT advocate and Dancing With the Stars competitor Chaz Bono, Tori Spelling, Parks and Recreation‘s Amy Poehler and the cast of ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars.”

Meanwhile, GLAAD also revealed the plan for “Spirit Day” on Thursday, October 20, in which businesses like MTV and AT&T will adopt purple logos and people will wear purple to stand against LGBT bullying. Bravo’s Andy Cohen, MTV’s Steve-O and “Top Chef” host Padma Laksmi have confirmed that they’ll participate in this year’s “Spirit Day.”