Dan Levy, 'out and proud' Schitt's Creek star, accepts GLAAD award
Canadian actor-producer honoured for promoting acceptance of LGBTQ community
Canadian Dan Levy, showrunner and star of the TV comedy Schitt's Creek, received a GLAAD award Saturday evening in San Francisco for promoting LGBTQ acceptance and said his personal path, particularly during his formative years in high school, was not an easy one.
"I think back to that time where I legitimately thought that I'd have to live with this secret — my being gay — for the rest of my life," Levy told the audience at the gala event. "I didn't have the security of seeing a lot of people like myself being celebrated in popular culture."
GLAAD, an LGBTQ advocacy group, gave the Toronto-born star its Davidson/Valentini Award, given to someone who "has made a significant difference in promoting acceptance for the LGBTQ community," according to the GLAAD website.
The award is named after Craig Davidson, GLAAD's first executive director, and his partner Michael Valentini.
Levy joked on stage that as humble Canadians, "we don't accept things like this well" and that he was an "out and proud gay Emmy loser."
The riches-to-rags sitcom Schitt's Creek, which began on CBC and was co-created with his father Eugene Levy, was a best comedy series nominee at the 2019 Emmy Awards, but lost to the British show Fleabag.
Schitt's Creek centres on a family that loses its fortune and is forced to relocate to a small town. Levy's character, David Rose, is pansexual — meaning he's open to all sexual orientations and gender identities — and as such, became among the first depicted on television.
The character's sexual orientation was explained in the show's first season (using a metaphor of wine) and has been widely commended since for being written with acceptance and without homophobia.
"I like the wine, and not the label," Levy's character famously responds after being asked about it in one of the episodes.
"I like the wine and not the label." Happy Pride from <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SchittsCreek?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SchittsCreek</a>! 🌈 <a href="https://t.co/Bj0xicDlvu">pic.twitter.com/Bj0xicDlvu</a>—@SchittsCreek
Schitt's Creek cast members Annie Murphy (Alexis Rose), Emily Hampshire (Stevie Budd) and Noah Reid (Patrick Brewer) presented the award.
Levy, who has experienced a steady rise in Hollywood since Schitt's Creek became available in the U.S. through Netflix, signed a three-year deal with Disney's ABC studios recently to develop and produce projects. He took home an MTV Award in June for best comedic performance.
The Canadian has participated in fundraising efforts to support GLAAD. Previous winners of the Davidson/Valenti award include CNN host Don Lemon and singer-songwriter Adam Lambert.
Onstage, Levy credited a supportive network of friends and family for giving him the courage to come out during his teenage years.
"Had I not had the love to give me a sense of security, I don't know if I would have found my way out of the closet, let alone create the opportunity for myself to tell stories on television that have effected some kind of positive change in the world," he told the audience.
"Support, encouragement and love: Three relatively simple acts of kindness that can change the course of a person's life."
Schitt's Creek scored a Canadian Screen Award earlier this year for best comedy series. Its sixth and final season will begin airing in January.