The high school drama Riverdale is getting some gold to put on its mantle. In recognition of the CW show’s notable LGBTQ+ characters, its cast and producer will receive the Gamechanger Award next month from GLSEN, the national youth organization announced Monday.
“We've watched the cast and producers of Riverdale create a show where [LGBTQ+] characters fall in love, break up, get back together, and experience all the fun and challenges of high school,” said Eliza Byard, GLSEN’s executive director, said in a statement. "It's so powerful when [LGBTQ+] young people can see their lives and experiences reflected on screen, and we look forward to honoring Riverdale with the GLSEN Gamechanger Award.”
GLSEN is the leading education organization working to create safe and inclusive K-12 schools for LGBTQ+ youth. Since 2004, their annual GLSEN Respect Awards, held in both Los Angeles and New York, honor the work of students, educators, community leaders, and corporations who serve as exemplary role models and have made a significant impact on the lives of LGBTQ+ youth. At New York’s awards in May, the cast of FX’s Pose was recognized, along with Panic! at the Disco lead vocalist Brendon Urie.
Riverdale, which returns for its fourth season on October 9, is a modern take on the Archie comics. It stars KJ Apa, Lili Reinhart, Camila Mendes, Cole Sprouse, Marisol Nichols, and Madelaine Petsch, among others. The prolific Greg Berlanti executive produces the show, along with Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Sarah Schechter, and Jon Goldwater.
The Gamechanger Award “is reserved for the next generation making a difference for the [LGBTQ+] community and around the world,” the organization said in a statement. GLSEN says Riverdale exemplifies these qualities due to its diverse casting, “groundbreaking storytelling about [LGBTQ+] relationshps.” Previous Gamechanger Award recipients include Connor Franta, Yara Shahidi, and Zendaya.
Actress Octavia Spencer will also be honored at GLSEN’s Los Angeles Respect Awards, taking place October 25, with the Inspiration Award.