GLAAD logo

GLAAD to receive 2023 Governors Award

November 14, 2023
Awards News

GLAAD to Receive 2023 Governors Award

The Television Academy today announced GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, as the 2023 Governors Award recipient. The award recognizes GLAAD's work over nearly four decades to secure fair, accurate and diverse representation of the LGBTQ community in the media and entertainment industries and to advocate for LGBTQ equality. GLAAD's President and CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis, will accept the honor during the Jan. 15 Emmy Awards telecast on FOX.

The Governors Award is bestowed by the Television Academy's Board of Governors and honors an individual, company or organization that has made a profound, transformational and long-lasting contribution to the arts and/or science of television.

Founded in 1985 by Vito Russo, author of The Celluloid Closet, and other LGBTQ advocates, GLAAD works with leaders in television, film, gaming, news, business, politics and more to lead the global conversation and ensure authentic and diverse LGBTQ stories are seen and heard. "GLAAD's diligence and influence are especially critical in today's world as we're seeing a flood of anti-LGBTQ legislation being proposed across the country. We are honored to recognize GLAAD's commitment to equality for all," said Governors Award Selection Committee Chair Kim Taylor-Coleman.

"Television shapes our society and influences dialogue that increases understanding and acceptance, making GLAAD's work so important to the LGBTQ community to legislative bodies and to the public," said Frank Scherma, Chair of the Television Academy. "Through its education and advocacy programs, it has had a culture-changing impact."

Ellis, who was named to the TIME100 list of "Most Influential People of 2023," has served as president and CEO of GLAAD since 2014. Ellis advocates for LGBTQ people in front of the U.S. Congress with global CEOs, religious leaders, local advocates and across all media industries. Under her leadership, GLAAD has become one of the most powerful organizations bringing LGBTQ issues to the forefront of the mainstream conversation.

"This tremendous honor from the Television Academy is a testament to the historic and impactful work of GLAAD's founders, board members and staff over the past four decades as well as the LGBTQ executives, creators and talent who are telling authentic LGBTQ stories on television," said Ellis. "At a time when our world seems more divided and media plays an outsized role in shaping culture, television has the unique power to tell human stories that grow empathy and acceptance. This honor is just the latest example of how the Television Academy plays a pivotal role in ensuring accurate and diverse storytelling, which educates, entertains and enlightens."

GLAAD's annual Where We Are on TV report tracks the quantity, quality and diversity of LGBTQ representation while also informing GLAAD's own advocacy within the television industry. The nonprofit uses the data to understand the larger picture of how the LGBTQ community is presented by television networks, cable and streaming services and provides this information along with other resources to help content creators and news organizations strive for accurate and inclusive storytelling, depictions and reporting. The most recent report shows a record number of LGBTQ regular characters on scripted television while showing the need for an increase in storytelling about transgender characters, LGBTQ characters of color and characters living with HIV, all of which GLAAD described as having disproportionately low representation.

The Where We Are on TV report is a program of the GLAAD Media Institute (GMI), a team of experts who work behind the scenes with television and media executives and creatives to ensure that LGBTQ characters and storylines are accurate and inclusive. The GMI's advocacy work includes several industries, including video games, advertising, technology and Spanish-language media. Since its creation in 2018, GMI has trained nearly 200,000 people, consulted on hundreds of media projects and conducted focused research to give the media the information and data needed to create compelling LGBTQ content without reinforcing common stereotypes and misinformation.

GLAAD runs campaigns, programs and initiatives focused on visibility and dialogue about LGBTQ people and issues, including Spirit Day, when leaders in entertainment, news, sports and education speak out in support of LGBTQ youth. Most recently, GLAAD held its inaugural Black Queer Creative Summit, which brought over 150 Black LGBTQ writers and creatives together to share best practices for working in the entertainment industry. GLAAD has also consulted with organizations that represent other historically marginalized communities to share best practices and advance their work with the media.

The annual GLAAD Media Awards, which honor outstanding LGBTQ-inclusive news and entertainment projects, will celebrate its 35th anniversary this year. The awards provide a global stage that welcomes industry talent to speak out in support of the LGBTQ community. 

Previous recipients of the Governors Award, which debuted in 1978, include the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, Debbie Allen, Tyler Perry, Star Trek, American Idol, mtvU Campaign for Darfur, PBS, Masterpiece Theater, Hallmark Cards Inc. and Walter Cronkite. 

The 75th Emmy Awards will air on Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, (8:00-11:00 PM EST/5:00-8:00 PM PST) on FOX

GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. To learn more, visit or connect with us @glaad on social media.


Stephanie Goodell
breakwhitelight (for the Television Academy)

For the complete press release, click here

Browser Requirements
The sites look and perform best when using a modern browser.

We suggest you use the latest version of any of these browsers:


Visiting the site with Internet Explorer or other browsers may not provide the best viewing experience.

Close Window