Dan Levy, the vibrant Canadian star and co-creator of the Emmy-nominated “Schitt’s Creek,” will be honoured by GLAAD this September at its annual gala in San Francisco.
Levy, who is from Toronto, will be receiving the Davidson/Valentini Award, which celebrates LGBTQ media professionals who have made significant contributions to the movement of promoting acceptance for the LGBTQ community.
Past recipients of the award include Ross Matthews, Don Lemon, Tyler Oakley and Adam Lambert, among others.
Watch: Dan Levy explains “pansexuality” to Larry King. Story continues below.
“Through his work on-screen and behind the scenes of Schitt’s Creek, Dan Levy moves LGBTQ visibility on television forward in humorous, compelling, and necessary ways,” says Sarah Kate Ellis, the president and CEO of GLAAD.
On “Schitt’s Creek,” Levy plays the character of David Rose, the spoiled adult son of a wealthy business magnate. Rose is both witty and sarcastic, and — to Levy’s credit — his identity as a pansexual man is never met, throughout the show, with any sensational or shocked reaction. Instead, it’s intentionally treated with a nonchalance that defies the expectations of an explosive “coming out.”
Pansexuality refers to a sexual, romantic or emotional attraction toward people regardless of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity. And while Levy identifies as gay in real life, there are plenty of other celebrities (Bella Thorne, Miley Cyrus, Janelle Monae) who openly identify with pansexuality.
And as pansexuality becomes more visible in the world of music and movies, so too is it becoming more visible on screen. Netflix recently offered Nola Darling as the polyamorous pansexual protagonist of Spike Lee’s reprised “She’s Gotta Have It.” “Sense8” was credited with having introduced more nuance into conversations about sexuality on television, and any number of fantasy and science fiction shows — “Supernatural,” “Game of Thrones,” “Torchwood” — depict characters who might be construed as pansexual.
But for the most part, what seems to happen is that the character’s sexuality is rendered somewhat “ambiguous” but is never really explored, giving writers the freedom to backtrack afterward and issue some statement like, “Wasn’t it obvious that x was pansexual?” (See: J.K. Rowling for example.)
Levy’s David Rose avoids this tactic, while also consciously avoiding the use of homophobia as a plot device.
In real life, this isn’t the first time Levy has been recognized for his contributions to the LGBTQ community. In 2015, he appeared on OUT Magazine’s famed “OUT 100” list, which celebrates “influential, inspirational” LGBTQ personalities.
Levy was also honoured by Queerty for their Pride50 list in June. In fact, as an example of Levy’s “ushering in a new era of queer representation on TV,” the website cited a line from Levy on “Schitt’s Creek,” from one of the few “pansexual coming out scenes” there are in television history: “I do drink red wine, but I also drink white wine, and I’ve been known to sample the occasional rosé, and a couple summers back I tried a Merlot that used to be a Chardonnay. I like the wine and not the label.”
Most recently, Levy’s fans raised more than $20,000 for an LGBTQ support group in honour of the actor’s birthday.
The money will go toward providing resources to LGBTQ youth in rural areas and Indigenous communities across the province.