First established in 2004, the annual GLSEN Respect Awards honor individuals and companies that have made significant impact in bettering the lives of LGBTQ youth. This year’s ceremony will see Nickelodeon receive the corporate ally award, given to companies that have made queer youth impact a priority. Antoni Porowski, best known as a co-host for Netflix’s “Queer Eye,” will receive this year’s Champion Award.
“The important work that GLSEN does for LGBTQ+ youth is critical to ensuring an inclusive and affirming learning environment for all kids,” Marva Smalls, executive vice president of public affairs at Nickelodeon, said in a statement on Friday. “Nickelodeon is honored to be recognized by GLSEN, and we look forward to continued collaborations as we strive to create content that supports and empowers LGBTQ+ youth.”
In recent years, Nickelodeon has broadcast several television shows that feature prominent LGBTQ characters and queer themes including “Danger Force,” which features openly trans actor Michael D. Cohen in the cast; “The Loud House,” which has several queer characters in its ensemble such as a gay male couple raising a child and Luna (Nika Futterman), a bisexual 15 year-old; and “Power Rangers: Dino Fury,” which introduced the first openly queer character in the long-running superhero franchise. In addition, Nickelodeon has repeatedly partnered with LGBTQ organizations like GLSEN for staff inclusivity training and support. Recently, the two organizations teamed up to develop a toolkit for parents and educators to combat LGBTQ discrimination.
“Conversations focused on discrimination and hate can be challenging at any age,” GLSEN executive director Melanie Willingham-Jaggers said. “Nickelodeon has been a leader in starting conversations around LGBTQ+ inclusivity and understanding for parents, students, and families both internally and through groundbreaking programming and resources. GLSEN is proud to honor Nickelodeon for their ongoing leadership to create a more colorful and inclusive world for LGBTQ+ students of all ages.”
It was also announced on Friday that Hollister will serve as the presenting sponsor for the ceremony, taking place May 16 at the Gotham Hotel in New York City. “Star Trek: Discovery” star Wilson Cruz will host the event and serves as a co-chair alongside Joseph Carozza, Amita Mehta, Michel Mercure, Ryan Pedlow, Elizabeth Stribling-Kivlan and Alicin Reidy Williamson.