With more than 750,000 votes cast in this year’s AfterEllen Visibility Awards, we see that you have opinions — lots of them. Strong ones. And the best thing about it was how many choices you had. Originally we thought we’d limit ourselves to five nominees per category, but decided to open it up to six as each category had at least that many contenders. We’d call it an embarrassment of riches, but in all actuality, we deserve at least that amount of visibility in a year, if not much more. (Definitely much more.)
Alongside your votes in each category we also picked a staff winner, and we differed in 14 categories, meaning we could all come to an agreement on five. It’s just further proof that we had a ton of great lesbian/bi visibility in 2012, and that’s something to be happy about, even if your favorite didn’t win. It’s almost like we need more specific categories to praise all of the shows and women we loved, such as “Best Lesbian Character Played By An Actual Lesbian” or “Best Show With a Lesbian in Uniform.” But we’re sure for everyone included, it’s an honor just to be nominated.
Without further ado, here are the 2012 Visibility Award Winners!
Best Web Series: Venice
Staff Pick: The Slope
Venice: The Series continues to be every lesbian fangirl’s dream come true. Unsatisfied with the amount of time and physical affection she was able to share with her on-screen partner during the Otalia storyline on Guiding Light, Crystal Chappell teamed up with co-star Jessica Leccia to make make an authentic, lesbian-centric web series. Now in its third season, the show is more popular than ever. (Fun fact: co-writer and co-producer Kim Turrisi also co-wrote this year’s Pretty Little Liars web series!)
While it wasn’t quite as popular with our readers, The Slope wowed our staff this year with its true-to-life look at the power struggles and ensuing hilarity of long term lesbian couples. Lucky for us, a sequel to the series is in the works.
Favorite Out Musician: Heather Peace
Staff Pick: Brandi Carlile
When Heather Peace swaggered onto our TVs as DS Sam Murray on BBC3’s Lip Service, we had no idea that she’d end up taking over our hearts and our iPods. Her first studio album, Fairytales, rocketed up the UK’s indie charts in 2012, landing her a firm spot in the top 40 in its first week. Peace wrote most of the songs on the album herself. The raw, candid lyrics don’t pull any punches when they speak of heartbreak and darkness, but the album itself is an ultimately triumphant narrative about the magic of hope.
Our staff was also moved by Brandi Carlile’s Bear Creek in 2012. Carlile was as open as ever in her new album, singing of loss and new love. A new love, in fact, that would turn into a legal same-sex marriage.
Best Music Video: Macklemore’s “One Love”
Staff Pick: Tegan and Sara’s “Closer”
It was a wild ride in the world of hip-hop in 2012. First, Frank Ocean came out. And then rapper Macklemore released an unapologetically pro-gay music video for his song “Same Love.” The moving video follows two men who grow up, come of age, fall in love, get married, and grow old together. Their narrative is interspersed with scenes of Civil Rights demonstrations from the ’60s. The official YouTube video was viewed nearly 11 million times in 2012, which means at least a billion tears were shed while watching.
Our staff also really enjoyed Tegan and Sara’s “Closer” video. The Isaac Rentz-directed look inside a throwback teenage rager made us love the Quin twins even more.
Best Book: The Miseducation of Cameron Post
Staff Pick: The Miseducation of Cameron Post
We haven’t heard a single lesbian say a single bad thing about Emily Danforth‘s young adult novel, The Miseducation of Cameron Post. (And if you do want to say something bad about it, we don’t think we want to be your friend anymore.) Growing up gay in a two-stoplight town spoke volumes to so many of us, as did the sentiments that landed Cam in a de-gaying camp. Danforth’s story is heartbreaking and healing in equal measure. And it made us laugh out loud more than once. We’ll be reaching for this book for years to come.