At the ceremony, Demi Lovato (who briefly played Santana's girlfriend on the show) will provide an introduction for the special tribute, featuring some of the cast, including Jane Lynch, Darren Criss, Chris Colfer, Amber Riley, Kevin McHale, Heather Morris, Jenna Ushkowitz, Matthew Morrison, Alex Newell, Harry Shum Jr., Jacob Artist, Vanessa Lengies and Becca Tobin.
Rivera died in an accidental drowning at Lake Piru in Ventura County, CA on July 8, 2020. Since her death, Ryan Dorsey, the father of Rivera's son who was with her that day, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against both the county and the parks and recreation department for allegedly failing to properly provide safety equipment to visitors, and for failing to provide warnings of dangers in the lake.
The 2021 GLAAD Media awards, as previously announced will be hosted by actress Niecy Nash, and will feature special appearances throughout from stars like Katy Perry, Sam Smith, Jojo Siwa, and many more. Artists like Smith, Lady Gaga, Halsey, Kehlani and others are nominated for outstanding music artist, while others including Chika, Arca, Phoebe Bridgers, Fletcher and more nominated for outstanding breakthrough music artist.