Skip to main content

Home Culture Culture Film & TV

GLAAD CEO calls for ‘culture-changing’ trans stories at 2024 Emmy Awards

"What the world sees on TV influences how we treat each other and the decisions we make," said Sarah Kate Ellis

By Alastair James

Sarah Kate Ellis at GLAAD
Sarah Kate Ellis at GLAAD (Image: YouTube/Television Academy/Fox)

The LGBTQ media advocacy group, GLAAD, has been presented with the Governors Award at the 2024 Emmy Awards.

The accolade came in recognition of the group’s tireless efforts to ensure LGBTQ representation in TV and film is authentic over the last 40 years.

Accepting the award on Monday (15 January) was GLAAD’s President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. Taking to the stage, Ellis described the moment as “historic,” and paid tribute to everyone who had helped get to this moment.

“Visibility creates understanding and it opens doors, it’s life-saving”

“For all of us at GLAAD this work is personal. For me, it’s about my wife and our kids,” she continued. “Because what the world sees on TV influences how we treat each other and the decisions we make in our living rooms, schools, at work, and at the ballot box.”

Ellis then said there was an urgent need for “culture-changing stories about transgender people.” She went on to say that “More people say they have seen a ghost than know a transgender person. When you don’t know people, it’s easy to demonise them.

“Visibility creates understanding and it opens doors, it’s life-saving.”

Drawing attention to increased anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and legislation in the US and worldwide, Ellis said the LGBTQ community was being “villainised with cruel and harmful lies.” She added that, “Sharing stories is the antidote,” and called for everyone to support the community. “This story is still being told and we all can be the heroes.”

In 2023 GLAAD reported that 100 of the 350 films released theatrically in 2022 featured an LGBTQ character. It’s the highest percentage and number recorded. 16 of the 77 theatrically films in 2021 were LGBTQ-inclusive.

Of the 100 films in 2022, 55% included gay men, 45% included lesbians, and 21% included bisexual+ characters. 12 featured trans characters, and 17% included characters not in those labels.

Among the successes GLAAD celebrated in the report was Red, White and Royal Blue. Upon its release, it became the number one movie worldwide on Prime Video.