GLAAD: Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

GLAAD is a political/media watchdog group that aims to improve the way the media portrays lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered persons. The group was formed in NYC in the mid-1980's to combat the virulently anti-gay messages being published in The New York Post during the AIDS crisis. Their official mission statement is:

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate, and inclusive representation of individuals and events in all media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation
. GLAAD has done some admirable things such as stopping sensationalistic journalism, exposing the utterly hateful rhetoric of the fundamentalist Christian-right, and discouraging stereotypes in movies and TV, but I think they often take themselves and the rest of the world entirely too seriously.

We all know that hate speech hurts everyone, but making the world ultra-politically correct through censorship does just as much damage, if not more.
GLAAD is known for complaining loudly any time anyone pokes a joke at gays or sings a lyric that uses "derogatory" language. It doesn't matter to them whether something is said as satire or sarcasm; if it doesn't portray gays as "wholesome", they whine. I don't think that crying like a baby whenever someone says something about you that you don't like is any way to change peoples' minds about GLBT folk; instead, it just makes us seem like we have some huge social-engineering scheme and insults the intelligence of the average Joe/Jane by assuming they can't tell the difference between jokes and radical hate speech.
Yes, Eminem says nasty stuff about us in his songs, but he says nasty stuff about everyone in his songs. Yes, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is full of tasteless jokes about queer people, but they are jokes.

Again, I do think that GLAAD does some great things, but sometimes it seems to me that for every step they take forward, they take two to the side. GLBT people will gain greater acceptance in society when everyone realizes that we're just like everyone else, and that we don't want special rights. Yes, forcing everyone to only say nice things about you is a special right. Our time and energy would be much better spent going out in the world, living openly, providing examples of what gay people are really like. In the end, we will never be able to make everyone like us, but who wants that anyway?

Hate is a dangerous thing, but censorship is absolutely deadly.


One of the major misunderstandings people have about GLAAD is that they're trying to censor the media's view ot the LGBT community. That simply isn't the truth. GLAAD is simply trying to ensure that the media coverage out there is fair. Yes, the Eminem situation is a somewhat poor example of their efforts, but their real goal isn't to raise a shitstorm when somebody calls us names. Their bigger focus has always been to keep the press in check when they cover stories that relate to gays and lesbians.

Their work has a much greater scope than just crying wolf when somebody uses the wrong lingo in an news article or a song. For many years, GLAAD has provided the media with sources and research information to allow reporters to create truly newsworthy work instead of sensationalism based on sterotypes and rumors. They played a critical role in the development of the news surrounding death of Matthew Sheppard, and ensured that his story was not lost to the world. And while some of their more famous (and nefarious) issues have been Eminem and Dr. Laura, their key role in society has always been to make sure that the voice of their community is heard and recognized.

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