The top honors at the 2023 GLAAD Media Awards will be presented to Jeremy Pope, Bad Bunny, and Christina Aguilera. Scheduled to be held at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles on March 30, the ceremony will celebrate the trio across three separate categories for their impact on, and support of, LGBTQ+ visibility in media.
GLAAD’s Stephen F. Kolzak Award will be presented to Pope for “breaking barriers across multiple industries as an out LGBTQ media professional.” In recent years, the award has gone to MJ Rodriguez, Janet Mock, Troye Sivan, Sean Hayes, Jim Parsons, and more.
Last month, in an interview with Variety, Pope revealed that he had lost out on a lead role in a major studio film after being told by a director that his standing as a gay man would prevent him from being able to connect with a female character. “I had to go through that and understand my worth and my existence and how I want to show up in this business and what I’m willing to tolerate and not tolerate,” he said.
Bad Bunny will be honored with a Vanguard Award for his impact on creating space for LBGTQ+ people without directly identifying as a member of the community himself. Past recipients of the award include Taylor Swift, Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Kacey Musgraves, Britney Spears, and more.
Last year, Bad Bunny made headlines when he kissed a male backup dancer during his MTV Video Music Awards performance. Just a few weeks prior, trans rapper Villano Antillano was the target of backlash after kissing another woman, the Dominican rapper Tokischa, during a performance of her own. Bad Bunny had similarly used his platform during public appearances to elevate LGBTQ+ issues in the past. During an appearance on The Tonight Show, after a homeless transgender woman in Puerto Rico named Alexa Negrón Luciano was murdered on the street, the musician wore a shirt that read: “They Killed Alexa. Not a Man in a Skirt.”
Christina Aguilera will receive the Advocate for Change Award at the ceremony. The honor, which has only previously been presented to Madonna in 2019 and Manny de Guerra in 2014, celebrates long-documented displays of allyship towards the LGBTQ+ community.
“I was also proud to put a spotlight on the LGBTQ+ community with my “Beautiful” music video, which features a gay couple, as well as a trans woman,” Aguilera wrote in a letter shared through People last year, recalling her 2002 music video. “I wasn’t thinking too much about it beyond wanting to show people owning who they are. It was somehow taboo at the time, but it represented something so true. I still hear stories about how that video has helped people, and it means everything to me.”
She added: “There’s nothing like performing for my LGBTQ+ fans. I feel safe with them to express myself however I want, whether it be through a huge ballad or something super sensual because they appreciate it all. I get to be as colorful and loud as I want to be. They’re my people.”