GLAAD



The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is a US non-governmental media monitoring organization which promotes the image of LGBT people in the media. Formed in New York City in 1985 to protest against what it saw as the New York Post's defamatory and sensationalized AIDS coverage, GLAAD put pressure on media organizations to end what it saw as homophobic reporting. Initial meetings were held in the homes of several New York City activists as well as after-hours at the New York State Council on the Arts. The founding group included film scholar Vito Russo; Gregory Kolovakos, then on the staff of the NYS Arts Council and who later became the first Executive Director; Darryl Yates Rist; Allen Barnett ; and Jewelle Gomez, the organization's first treasurer. Some members of GLAAD went on to become the early members of ACT UP. In 1987, after a meeting with GLAAD, The New York Times changed its editorial policy to use the word "gay" instead of harsher terms referring to homosexuality. GLAAD advocated that The Associated Press and other television and print news sources follow. GLAAD's influence soon spread to Los Angeles, where organizers began working with the entertainment industry to change the way LGBT people were portrayed on screen. Entertainment Weekly has named GLAAD as one of Hollywood's most powerful entities, and the Los Angeles Times described GLAAD as "possibly one of the most successful organizations lobbying the media for inclusion."
Within the first five years of its founding in New York as the Gay and Lesbian Anti-Defamation League (soon after changed to GLAAD after legal pressure by the Anti-Defamation League), GLAAD chapters had been established in Los Angeles and other cities, with the LA chapter becoming particularly influential due to its proximity to the California entertainment industry. GLAAD/NY and GLAAD/LA would eventually vote to merge in 1994, with other city chapters joining soon afterward; however, the chapters continue to exist, with the ceremonies of the GLAAD Media Awards being divided each year into three ceremonies held in New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Following the 2011 resignation of Jarrett Barrios from the GLAAD presidency, Mike Thompson served as interim president until the announcement of Herndon Graddick, previously GLAAD's Vice-President of Programs and Communications, to the presidency on April 15, 2012. Graddick is the younger son of Charles Graddick of Mobile, a circuit court judge and the former Attorney General of Alabama.
GLAAD promotes positive portrayals of LGBT people in media by encouraging journalists, writers and other creators to use its preferred terminology, and to portray the LGBT community in what it sees as an unbiased and inclusive way.  The organization often uses action alerts, and has raised awareness of anti-LGBT defamation and the need for LGBT-inclusive laws by publicizing the hate-motivated murders of Matthew Shepard, Brandon Teena, Angie Zapata, and others. It has also called attention to anti-gay song lyrics, the anti-gay advocacy of certain commentators, and to ads promoting conversion to heterosexuality. GLAAD's Media Field Program serves local communities and organizations in places where LGBT rights are not secure by training people to speak at community meetings, in local media and online via blogs and social media. The organization has recently started departments to work with sports writing and press for people of color, as well as with faith communities to highlight growing support for LGBT people from Lutherans, Catholics, Episcopalians, Mormons, and the Jewish community. GLAAD's Announcing Equality project has resulted in more than 1,000 newspapers including gay and lesbian announcements alongside other wedding listings. In 1998, GLAAD produced a report entitled "Access Denied", which argued that Internet filtering using content-control software prevented access to legitimate, non-pornographic LGBT-related websites, which causes problems for young people seeking information about their sexuality. The GLAAD Media Awards were established in 1989 to "recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and the issues that affect their lives." Ceremonies are held annually in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.