THE GLORIAs are back with a bang this year, with NSW upper house Labor MP Penny Sharpe saying it will be a night to remember for everyone who attends the event, regardless of their sexuality, gender or political ideology.

The GLORIAs, which stands for The Gay and Lesbian Outrageous, Ridiculous and Ignorant comments Awards, give the public the opportunity to vote for the worst comments they have read, seen or heard both within and against the LGBTI community throughout the previous year.

With the cocktail and entertainment night entering its fifth year, Sharpe said the night, which will be hosted by David Marr in NSW Parliament House on Wednesday, May 14, has helped make people in public life think about the impact of what they say.

Sharpe told the Star Observer that the event was widely viewed as being non-partisan, with even the nominees for the awards themselves occasionally showing up in good faith.

“The idea behind it is to have a public forum where we can publicly name and shame homophobia and also transphobia in public life,” she said.

“So it’s really is also a direct pinch from The Ernies, (which) is an award that’s been running for over 20 years that my good friend Meredith Bergman has always run.”

Sharpe also said that while she thought the GLORIAs definitely has a serious side, it needed to retain a sense of fun in order to make it engaging for the general public and the LGBTI community.

“Having drag queen performances in Parliament House is always an interesting moment,” Sharpe said while talking about the reactions of her political colleagues towards the awards.

“People need to own what they say in public life as it really does have an impact. So it’s a really fun event, however it really does have a serious message underneath.”

Sharpe also thought there was a growing level of bipartisan support for the LGBTI community in state politics, as evidenced by the attendance of Roads Minister Duncan Gay last year.

“Last year Duncan Gay won the Golden Gloria for the removal of the Rainbow Crossing and to his credit, he was in the building and he came and accepted the award, so that was a rather interesting moment as well,” she said.

Sharpe also stated that no one was immune from being nominated for the awards and that even her Labor colleagues were nominated.

Nominations for the GLORIAs this year range from the newly-promoted Premier Mike Baird’s now-infamous “lifestyle choice” statement, through to comments made by Senator-Elect Joe Bullock against Senator Louise Pratt and her trans* partner Aram Hosie.

Online voting for the GLORIAs closes on May 14 at 5pm. Tickets are also available via http://www.theglorias.com.au/home.

(Main image: Snapshot from the 2013 GLORIAs. Photo credit: Ann-Marie Calilhanna; Star Observer)

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