Four Things GLAAD Should Do To Restore Their Image Now

EDITOR’S NOTE: The originally published version of this article erroneously stated that the ex-GLAAD Board member Troup Coronado currently sits on the Board of AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA). This is incorrect.

Mr. Coronado did serve on the APLA Board from 2008 to January, 2011, when he departed. He is not currently a member of their Board of Directors, nor is he formally associated with AIDS Project Los Angeles.

We apologize to the ALPA and to our readers for our error.

If you hadn’t heard GLAAD’s President Jarrett Barrios resigned. Why, you ask? For a handful of reasons: thoughtlessly speaking out in favor of the AT&T/T-Mobile merger, throwing his assistant under the bus while repeatedly lying about his FCC letter opposing Net Neutrality, not defending against serious accusations made on Michael Signorile’s radio show.

And this morning six of the organization’s board members also resigned. We could go on speculating why, but why bother?

I’ve been unfairly harsh on GLAAD in the past. They’re not “worse than useless.” In fact, the queer community needs a media organization dedicated to “empowering real people to share their stories, holding the media accountable for the words and images they present, and helping grassroots organizations communicate effectively.” Maybe now that Barrios isn’t getting in the organization’s way, GLAAD can actually continue promoting understanding, increasing acceptance, and advancing equality to their full ability.

But if GLAAD really wants to recover from this whole shameful debacle surrounding Barrios and emerge as a stronger, more effective organization, here’s four things they need to start doing NOW.


Despite the resignations of six board members today, Troup Coronado still currently sits on GLAAD’s 30-something member Board of Directors.

The problem? He’s also the anti-net neutrality AT&T lobbyist behind AT&T’s push to get LGBT organizations to support its proposed merger with T-Mobile. Plus, he helped get Bush’s ultra-conservative, anti-gay judicial appointees into federal courts.

Coronado currently sits on the boards of Equality California, the Richmond Ermet AIDS Foundation, and the Gay Men’s Chorus of LA, just to name a few. If GLAAD or any of these organizations want to redeem their standing in the community and not bow down to AT&T’s LGBT lobbying, they need to dump Coronado NOW.

And when you’re done, GLAAD, release a press statement about it, for crap’s sake.


Hey GLAAD’s Board of Directors! Have you heard of this new fad called “the Information Superhighway”?

No, it’s not a dance, sillies! It’s a series of tubes that connects home computer terminals to America OnLine chatrooms! It has become very popular with younger modem users and even several businesses that use its “electronic mail” feature.

But over the past several years web users have started asking the government to protect something called “Net Neutrality.” Net Neutrality would basically prevent telephone companies like AT&T from censoring the fuck out of the internet and charging web users a shitload for visiting sites that AT&T doesn’t like.

That would be a bad thing, especially if AT&T and other large telecoms decided to police content, block whatever threatens their political interests, and then charge insane amounts just for web users to view pro-LGBT content.

So why not get off your board off of their lazy dinosaur bones, go to your nearest word processor and draft up a statement emphatically supporting Net Neutrality? That way, your sponsors and members will know that you’ll fight for free speech online. You can even deliver your pro-Net Neutrality message using “electronic mail” or a “web log.”


Several of GLAAD’s younger members have constantly re-iterated one thing: the media latches onto GLAAD’s pop-culturey work more than they acknowledge GLAAD’s less known services.

Everyone knows about when GLAAD got on South Park, the WWE, and Kobe Bryant for all saying the word faggot.

But GLAAD’s Director of Public Relations Rich Ferraro says that 90 percent of the organization’s work happens below the radar.

Part of that 90 percent has to do with secret closed-door meetings that GLAAD holds with Hollywood movie/TV executives and screenwriters to ensure that they create quality queer characters instead of offensive stereotypes. Naturally, GLAAD doesn’t want to publicize these meetings so that their associates don’t get blasted by anti-gay groups.

But the other part of that 90 percent involves training LGBTs of color to speak as TV spokespersons, helping African-American and Spanish newspapers include more LGBT coverage, raising awareness about the lack of queer racial diversity on TV, keeping track of queer depictions on commercial and print media, working with LGBT athletes, sports franchises, and publications to offer positive queer support, and holding events that help fund a majority of their work.

A lot of people don’t know about GLAAD’s involvement with any of that because GLAAD hasn’t done a very good job publicizing that work with the same passion and sexiness of their pop-culture actions.

So forget press releases! How about creating sleek, sexy videos that show GLAAD in action and have program recipients talking about their changed outlook and community? How about running ads about GLAAD’s recent successes on the front page of their miserably cluttered website? (NOTE: they’ve promised a redesign soon)

Yeah, this all takes money, but restoring your image and highlighting your other good work are worth it.

Don’t let people think that all you do is hunt down people who say “the F-word.”


We hate to admit it, but we agree with Perez Hilton and Andrew Sullivan when they say that we can’t wait on our leaders to change our culture towards queer acceptance—we must make the change ourselves.

And so instead of just trying to get Hollywood TVs and execs to include more LGBTs into their lamestream programming (God, did I really just use a Palin-ism?), GLAAD should also invest in promising up-and-coming creators of queer media by offering summer training for promising students that teach them more about professional polish and web media.

GLAAD could sponsor a video competition to get people around America to explore LGBT-phobia and queer-friendly spaces in their own community. Or they could hold educational sessions at local LGBT centers to help local activists and newspapers create and monitor their own queer content.

GLAAD knows more than anyone else that “Words and Images Matter”—hell, it’s their motto. And creating powerful words and images begins with those unrestrained by the boards and gatekeepers of big media.

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