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Not to be confused with Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders.
Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation logo
Motto To promote understanding, increase acceptance, and advance equality.
Founded 1985
Founder Vito Russo
Jewelle Gomez
Lauren Hinds
Focus Discrimination in media
Area served
 United States
Method Media monitoring
Key people
Sarah Kate Ellis

GLAAD (formerly the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) is a U.S. non-governmental media monitoring organization founded by LGBT people in the media. Before March 2013, the name "GLAAD" had been an acronym for "Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation," but became the primary name due to its inclusiveness of bisexual and transgender issues.[1] Its stated mission, in part, is to "[amplify] the voice of the LGBT community by empowering real people to share their stories, holding the media accountable for the words and images they present, and helping grassroots organizations communicate effectively."[2]



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;[3] and Jewelle Gomez, the organization's first treasurer. Some members of GLAAD went on to become the early members of ACT UP.[citation needed]

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.[4] 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,[5] and the Los Angeles Times described GLAAD as "possibly one of the most successful organizations lobbying the media for inclusion."[6]

Within the first five years of its founding in New York as the Gay and Lesbian Anti-Defamation League (soon after changed to "Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation" 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.

In 2013, Jennifer Finney Boylan was chosen as the first openly transgender co-chair of GLAAD's National Board of Directors.[7]

Name change

On March 24, 2013, GLAAD announced that it had formally dropped the "Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation" from their name and would now be known only as GLAAD to reflect their work more accurately; the name change is a commitment to incorporate bisexual and transgender people in their efforts to support the LGBT community in its entirety. GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz stated:

It is a natural progression that reflects the work GLAAD's staff is already leading. We respect and honor the full name that the organization was founded with, but GLAAD's work has expanded beyond fighting defamation to changing the culture. Our commitment to marriage equality, employment nondiscrimination, and other LGBT issues is stronger than ever, and now our name reflects our work on transgender issues as well as our work with allies.[1]

Presidents (aka Executive Director)

GLAAD/NY ED (1985-1994)
GLAAD/LA ED (pre-1994)
Post-merger (1994–present)
Other executives


Announcing Equality Project

GLAAD's Announcing Equality project has resulted in more than 1,000 newspapers including gay and lesbian announcements alongside other wedding listings.[9]

Commentator Accountability Project

In March 2012, GLAAD launched the Commentator Accountability Project,[10] which seeks to index and document frequent contributors, guests and pundits who regularly express anti-LGBT bias and misinformation in their contributions to journalistic outlets.

Studio Responsibility Index

In August 2013, GLAAD launched its first annual Studio Responsibility Index, which indexes "the quantity, quality and diversity of images of LGBT people in films released by six major motion picture studios".[11]

Comedian Wanda Sykes at the 2010 GLAAD Media Awards.

GLAAD Media Awards

Main article: GLAAD Media Award

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.

GLAAD Media Reference Guide

The GLAAD Media Reference Guide is a style guide of recommendations for writers, especially journalistic outlets, to reference in positive, inclusive depiction of LGBT people. It has been published since the 1990s (then known as the GLAAD Media Guide to the Lesbian and Gay Community[12]), with the 9th edition being the most recently published since 2014.[13]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Peeples, Jase (March 24, 2013). "GLAAD Affirms Commitment To Trans and Bi People, Alters Name". The Advocate. Retrieved March 25, 2013. 
  2. "Mission Statement". GLAAD. Retrieved 2014-06-29. 
  3. "Barnett, Allen (1955-1991)". Retrieved March 25, 2013. 
  4. "GLAAD for Clay Aiken". Retrieved 2013-12-03. 
  5. "Entertainment Weekly's 101 Most Influential People (1992)". 1976-11-25. Retrieved 2013-12-03. 
  6. Myers and Cress 2004: 200
  7. Reynolds, Daniel (2013-11-08). "GLAAD Appoints First Transgender Cochair". Retrieved 2013-12-03. 
  8. Reynolds, Daniel (November 25, 2013). "GLAAD Announces Sarah Kate Ellis as President". The Advocate. 
  9. "Announcing Equality". Retrieved March 25, 2013. 
  10. "Commentator Accountability Project (CAP)". GLAAD. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  11. Max Gouttebroze (August 21, 2013). "First annual Studio Responsibility Index finds lack of substantial LGBT characters in mainstream films". GLAAD. 
  12. ""GLAAD Publications", as archived on 5 February 1997". 1997-02-05. Archived from the original on 1997-02-05. Retrieved 2013-12-03. 
  13. "Media Reference Guide - 9th Edition". GLAAD. Retrieved 2015-08-04. 

Further reading

  • Myers, Daniel J.; Daniel M. Cress (2004). Authority in Contention. Emerald Group Publishing. ISBN 0-7623-1037-5. 

See also

External links