Recently GLAAD gave an award to Grey’s Anatomy during their 18th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles. The bestowing of such an award has caused a bit of stir in the Gay and Lesbian communities, notably so in light of Grey’s star Isaiah Washington’s gay slurs towards fellow cast member T.R. Knight–who only months ago openly stated that he is indeed gay.
So, all of this made me think of Lesson 4, well that and I realized I was falling behind in my lessons. Lesson 4 is simple this: when confronted about your personal role/stance on a matter don’t run and hide be sure to affirm your stance so as to ensure there is no misunderstanding of your role in the future. With that I give these 3 points to GLAAD–not in support or defense, but just for clarification.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
The above statement is the mission statement of GLADD; as I reflect on the statement, I see that it promotes and ensures, not defends. As an organization, GLADD needs to clarify its role in the “community” to ensure the current backlash, which is occurring, does not occur in the future.
In law, defamation is the communication of a statement that makes a false claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may harm the reputation of an individual, business, product, group, government or nation. Most jurisdictions allow legal actions, civil and/or criminal, to deter various kinds of defamation and retaliate against criticism.
The issue we, the community, are facing is simply that within the name of this organization we see the term defamation and expect GLADD to defend. As defined by law and as enacted by their mission statement GLADD does promote and ensure that defamation does not occur in the media.
What we need in the community is an organization that defends; an organization that serves as the mouthpiece for the community when issues of defamation and discrimination arise. This organization would need to educate on inappropriate actions and hold the media/nation to the fire when such inappropriate actions occur.
GLADD does not claim to be such an organization.
Mission Statements of the Big 3 in Gay Action
GLADD: noted above
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
HRC seeks to improve the lives of GLBT Americans by advocating for equal rights and benefits in the workplace, ensuring families are treated equally under the law and increasing public support among all Americans through innovative advocacy, education and outreach programs. HRC works to secure equal rights for GLBT individuals and families at the federal and state levels by lobbying elected officials, mobilizing grassroots supporters, educating Americans, investing strategically to elect fair-minded officials and partnering with other GLBT organizations.
Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.