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Super Bowl LIV: LGBTQ advocates applaud event's 'rainbow wave'

One of the biggest sporting events of the year included an openly gay coach, a sexually fluid performer and at least 11 queer-inclusive commercials.

Super Bowl LIV was the gayest sporting event yet with what advocates are calling a "rainbow wave" — not only did it feature the first out coach, San Francisco 49ers’ Katie Sowers, and a sexually fluid National Anthem performer, Demi Lovato, but it also boasted a long list of LGBTQ-inclusive ads during commercial breaks.

“The level of diverse LGBTQ inclusion from over ten brands during advertising’s biggest night, coupled with Katie Sowers’ trailblazing role on the field as Offensive Assistant Coach of the 49ers, marked a rainbow wave at the Super Bowl this year,” GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement shared with NBC News.

The LGBTQ media advocacy group counted 11 Super Bowl ads among those it described as queer-inclusive and embedded all of them on its website. The ads include a Sabra hummus spot featuring two well-known “RuPaul’s Drag Race” queens, a Pop Tarts ad with nonbinary ‘Queer Eye’ star Jonathan Van Ness and an Amazon Alexa spot featuring Ellen DeGeneres and her wife, Portia de Rossi.

GLAAD also shot back at One Million Moms — a division of the American Family Association, a Mississippi-based organization designated an anti-LGBTQ “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center — which tried to have Sabra’s drag queen ad pulled from the Super Bowl lineup, claiming it seeks to “push an agenda of sexual confusion.” Despite the group’s name, its petition had less than 35,000 signatures.

“Family-friendly brands today include all families, including LGBTQ ones,” Ellis said in response to the One Million Moms petition. “GLAAD has long been advocating for brands to feature LGBTQ people in Super Bowl ads and this year American families saw and cheered a diverse range of LGBTQ icons - it’s about time.”

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