GLAAD | Janet Mock | News | Transgender | Wilson Cruz

GLAAD Alters Mission Statement to Include Transgender Focus: VIDEO


On a panel on Sunday's Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC, GLAAD's Wilson Cruz joined author and advocate Janet Mock and Mel Wymore, a community activist and Democratic candidate for New York City Council, to talk about GLAAD and an announcement made by President Herndon Graddick at the recent GLAAD awards that the organization would be altering its mission statement to add a focus on transgender defamation and equality.

"The organization has formally dropped the words 'Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation' from its name and will be known going forward as simply GLAAD, the LGBT media advocacy organization," it reports:

"It is a natural progression that reflects the work GLAAD's staff is already leading," said Cruz. "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."

GLAAD will continue a broad range of important media work, from holding the media accountable for coverage of LGBT issues, to elevating the important LGBT stories that make headlines and ultimately inform the conversations that are happening at dinner tables, in boardrooms, and schools around the country. GLAAD also reaffirmed its commitment to combatting the misinformation and hateful rhetoric that anti-LGBT activists like the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins put forth through the media.

Watch the Melissa Harris-Perry segment, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. GLAAD has become a joke, just like practically all "official" gay organizations. They are so out of touch with most gay people that they don't even realize it--and the comments in this thread demonstrate it.

    Other groups have advocacy organizations that attack stereotyping of that group, whether the NAACP or NOW or the Anti-Defamation League. GLAAD, by contrast, condones, praises, and rewards stereotyping of gays and this decision is just a natural extension of that "policy". The more gay men can be portrayed as lisping, squealing, cowardly sissies, a la Modern Family, the better, as far as they are concerned. Just as the more lesbians can be portrayed as tobacco-chewiwng, baseball-playing, motorcycle-riding short-haired pseudo-men, the better.

    That is their mindset.

    And anybody who gives money to such an organization or supports them in any way is a fool and is damaging our cause, not helping it.

    Posted by: Rick | Mar 25, 2013 2:01:05 AM

  2. My family and I have long include GLAAD as one of the charities to which we gave a portion of our tithe, the ten percent of one's income that Christians believe we must give to help people and glorify God. However, if GLAAD loses focus and starts worrying about an irrelevant and completely unconnected fringe group (transgender people),I will never donate another cent or minute supporting GLAAD. I do not have a problem with transgender people, right-handed people, school teachers, or Jews, but I do not think those groups should be a focus of a gay civil rights organization.

    Posted by: DB | Mar 25, 2013 2:14:33 AM

  3. @DB: Amen to that! And it isn't that I don't like trans people, I just don't believe it's a genuine disorder.

    Posted by: Beekeeper | Mar 25, 2013 3:24:24 AM

  4. I'm gay and cis with close relationships with two trans men and a few of trans acquaintances. (None of whom identify as straight, by the way.) The rebranding of GLAAD and the gay response to it bring about a lot of thoughts and feelings. Kevin sums up a lot of them. I definitely see transness and gayness as different states of the same queer nation--or islands on the same queer archipelago. I get why there are trans-focused groups, gay-focused groups and TGLB-focused groups. (You see what I did there? Good.)

    But this is where I become exasperated. I want to tell some of the commenters, HOW DO YOU THINK TRANS PEOPLE FEEL? They get tacked onto GLB and their issues get the same priority that their initial does. A SINGLE ORGANIZATION CAN ADVOCATE FOR TRANS PEOPLE WITHOUT TAKING ANYTHING FROM THEIR GAY ADVOCACY! It's not a zero-sum game.

    That said, I understand some of your anxiety. But I think you're looking at it so wrong. It's not "Oh, the gay movement is over, now we can get to work on the trans movement". That's ludicrous. This is more about the deserts due trans people and increasing education about trans people and not about a new priority of trans people over gay people. I really doubt that a priority shift would ever significantly happen. (But then again, HOW DO YOU THINK TRANS PEOPLE FEEL?)

    One anxiety I have more sympathy for (but still think is misguided) is from the fact that heteronormative attitudes conflate homosexuality and transgenderism. I mean stuff like referring to trans women as "gay men"--something still very common in mainstream media and elsewhere in mainstream culture. (The rule among journalists appears to be no surgery = no gender recognition.) This is as transphobic as it is homophobic. (Gay men are men, trans women are women.) Strong trans advocacy will clear up the difference between trans and gay--not confuse it.

    And one more thing. Being PC =/= being understanding or supportive or even a decent human being. See the "Black People Love Us!" site to catch what I mean.

    Posted by: Kyle | Mar 25, 2013 3:42:53 AM

  5. While not jumping into the hateful debate here, must be noted that GLAAD needs to expand it's give it something to do as its work on Gay and Lesbians issues seems to have been reduced to homophobic statements from professional jocks.

    My lack of respect for GLAAD stems from its utter SILENCE regarding the false and derogatory statements made by Brian Fischer, the FRC, the TVC and Westboro.

    GLAAD refuses to go after CNN, Fox, etc, news outlets that allow these people to continually degrade us.

    Posted by: QJ201 | Mar 25, 2013 6:55:03 AM

  6. I'm torn on this.. I fully support trans rights, I think it's important for everyone to be treated equally and not be discriminated against. That being said, I do agree that trans rights are not the same as LGB rights, and I'm not sure that an organization that is LGB should be funding the trans movement. There are plenty of trans organizations for that, and if this were a NEW organization taking up both causes that would be different, but for an organization funded by LGB to expand without asking those funding it, seems a little off to me. I think the trans fight needs to be fought, and there are many many important issues... but most trans people I know identify as straight, so it seems like a completely different battle and should not be lumped together with LGB issues.

    Posted by: Joey | Mar 25, 2013 7:48:05 AM

  7. Whether or not GLAAD is an effective organization is a separate discussion, certainly anyone who plans to donate money should pay attention to.

    The idea that trans rights are unimportant for gay and lesbian people is misguided, though. No, being trans is not the same as being gay, I know.

    But the vast majority of the opposition that gay and lesbian people face, legally and socially, is based almost entirely in outdated and bigoted ideas of gender norms and gender roles and the perceived right of the majority to determine them for everyone else.

    The gay and lesbian rights movement is not, in my mind, only about the rights of manly gay men and feminine lesbian women - and if only for purely practical reasons, we owe it to ourselves to help change public perceptions about gender and the rights people have to live their lives the way that works for them.

    A world in which trans people are treated equally and without discrimination is a world that doesn't see any point in attacking gay and lesbian people.

    If only for enlightened self-interest, we need to support trans rights. Where you give your money is a different question.

    Posted by: Lymis | Mar 25, 2013 8:53:20 AM

  8. @QJ201:

    You are way off base. There is plenty of homophobia in the media and GLAAD does nothing about it, even while it finds time to expand its mission to cover heterosexual crossdressers and transsexuals.

    Have you watched SNL in the last 5 years? Antigay jokes are routine. Leno and Letterman mock us. The NY Times just yesterday did a glowing puff piece about Brian Brown of NOM. And today, I heard a story on NPR which described the 2 marriage cases at the Supreme Court as being about "redefining marriage." GLAAD should be on top of all of this, fighting homophobia, demanding balance and correcting errors.

    Too bad it prefers to prioritize straight men in dresses. I am done with them.

    Posted by: Phil | Mar 25, 2013 9:36:02 AM

  9. Oh man, since when were we letting lesbians into the gay rights orgs? I resent this femjacking of the org that I donate MY money to so they will advocate gay men's rights! I seriously doubt the National Center for Lesbian Rights is changing their name, but of course you don't hear any lesbians complaining about that. They don't advocate for me, because I'm not interested in women, I'm exclusively interested in men.

    Don't get me wrong, I think we should treat them as allies on certain issues, I don't have any bias against lesbians, I just think they should have their own organizations and stop trying to erase my identity as a gay man. This sort of pandering will make the public think that gay men and lesbians are the same thing, and that a prancing sissy gay man is just the same as a lesbian, but for men. We don't need that, and I resent that they're co-opting our movement to send that message.

    Also, lesbians have been trying to push this whole "no misogyny" thing for years. That's hurt our cause, held us back by forcing people to treat women as humans instead of letting men be men with other men, which would otherwise be legally protected at this point. I say it's time we take back our movement and kick these ladies to the curb. I am not biased against lesbians.

    Posted by: All the haters | Mar 25, 2013 11:18:14 AM

  10. DB, trans persons are not a fringe group. And actually, statistically, most trans persons identify as something other than straight. Only 25% of trans persons identify as straight based some studies I read.

    A huge amount of homophobia is based on misogyny and sexism and the mentality that we are going against what we're supposed to be as men and women. Trans issues and non-heterosexual issues are VERY much connected in that sense. It all comes down to physical sex. We're attracted to the wrong sex. Trans persons are born into a body that is the incorrect sex for them. A lot of transphobia is misapplied homophobia too. Saying our issues aren't similar is very much incorrect.

    No, Beekeeper, being transgender isn't a disorder (it's not in the DSM). It is a true medical fact, though.

    GLAAD is an LGBTQ organization. Not a "gay" organization, but an LGBTQ one. GLAAD and other political/social organizations. GLAAD is still going to prioritize LGB equality. It's not as if they're going to ignore LGB people, or we're now going to be second wheel. They're just including trans persons into the equation as well. They're not taking away from us.

    Trans persons gaining equality is good for LGB people in the end and it's good for trans people that LGB people gain equality.

    Posted by: Francis | Mar 25, 2013 11:44:05 AM

  11. "A huge amount of homophobia is based on misogyny and sexism and the mentality that we are going against what we're supposed to be as men and women. Trans issues and non-heterosexual issues are VERY much connected in that sense. It all comes down to physical sex. We're attracted to the wrong sex. Trans persons are born into a body that is the incorrect sex for them. A lot of transphobia is misapplied homophobia too. Saying our issues aren't similar is very much incorrect"

    Totally absolutely WRONG and this is the mindset that drives both the culture of effeminacy and the mindset of gay activists who want to include transgender people under our umbrella.

    Gay men are not rejected for being attracted to men; they are rejected for being effeminate cowards and because they, themselves reject masculinity.

    If gay men were as masculine as straight men, our troubles and the hostility towards us would disappear quickly, even as we continued to suck c@ck.

    Instead, however, most of you have internalized the idea that homosexuality equates to a lack of masculinity and behave accordingly, and therefore want to conduct a crusade against masculinity, instead of a crusade against homophobia, instead.

    And as long as you continue to do so, we will continue to be confined to the margins of society, tolerated perhaps, and granted basic rights, but not accepted or respected.

    Posted by: Rick | Mar 25, 2013 12:13:52 PM

  12. Francis, all gays, lesbians and bisexuals are defined by their sexual orientation and to one degree or another, are attracted to their own sex. So considering Ls Gs and Bs to be one group makes logical sense. Ts are not defined by sexual orientation. Despite what you claim, the vast majority of Ts (which would be any gender non-conforming people) are heterosexuals. "Transgender" is a broad umbrella term and includes straight guys who like to bake and women who cut their hair short. It also includes hermaphrodites and transsexuals and crossdressers.

    These folks are overwhelmingly heterosexual, but can have any sexual orientation. There is no logical reason to lump LGBs in with Ts.

    And even if what you claimed were true - that a large portion of Ts are gay - then those all of those gay Ts are part of the LGB community and they will benefit from LGB organizations focused on LGB rights.

    Posted by: Bev | Mar 25, 2013 12:29:55 PM

  13. I'm under the strong impression the powers that be want to turn what used to be the gay community into a sexual "Yugoslavia" where different and uninterested groups are forced to form an artificial union. For instance, the last couple of years at our "pridefest" I felt extremely unwelcome and in fact was told by some individuals that the whole thing was now a sexual fest and not about being gay and in fact they felt homosexuality was not a good thing and suggested it was a disorder. I believe the gay movement was hijacked some years ago by heterosexuals (including some very wealthy and powerful ones) so that it reflects the way they think things should be.

    Posted by: RC | Mar 25, 2013 12:47:40 PM

  14. Bev, crossdressers and men who like to bake, or women with short hair, do not receive discrimination for their gender identity. Thus, an advocacy group isn't advocating change for them, it's going to focus on mainly transsexual and gender-nonconforming people. People who experience significant crap from society at large for trying to be themselves. Those are the people who need representation. Saying that men who crossdress at home for their own sexual purposes are somehow involved in that dynamic is a diversion and a distraction from the real issues.
    It's like saying that the vast majority of people who have ever felt a homosexual attraction are heterosexual, and thus homosexual advocacy groups are inherently self-defeating. While the first half of that statement may be true, only those who actively live as homosexuals, who cannot live as heterosexuals, are really being targeted for discrimination, and thus they are the ones that advocacy groups are helping. Same thing with trans folk.

    Posted by: All the haters | Mar 25, 2013 1:11:59 PM

  15. Again, based on actual studies, Bev, most transsexual persons do not identify as straight. We're not talking about crossdressers, we're not talking about fetishists. You're right---transgender is an umbrella term. You're wrong in saying the entire transgender movement isn't at all connected to the LGB movement. Being attracted to the same-sex is clearly not the only reason LGB people are discriminated against---it's also often because people assume we are gender nonconforming because we are LGB. So again, you're trying to draw a dark large line between the sand when there simply isn't one.

    Different issues? Sure. Yes, it's a different issue. But a large amount of what trans persons go through, LGB people do, and vice versa. LGB organizations are still focused on LGB issues. Their most primary focus is LGB issues and will likely remain LGB issues for years to come. So what's the issue? It would be one thing is you felt trans issues were usurping LGB issues, but they're not. So what it reads is more or less people who don't want to/don't like being associated with trans persons more than anything else. That's transphobia.

    People want to conflate the situation, saying they don't have any connection to straight men who like wearing dresses. We're not talking about intersex persons. We're not talking about men who like to bake. Get real.

    Posted by: Francis | Mar 25, 2013 2:00:37 PM

  16. Francis, I am not the one who defined transgender to include all GNC people and hermaphrodites, so please don't blame me. Trans activists defined it that way, presumably to enlarge their group as much as possible. As I understand it, they attack anyone who tries to narrow it, including transsexuals, whom they denounce as "separatists". So yes, transgender does include straight guys who like to bake and straight gals with short hair and a million other GNC variations, which collectively sweep in tens of millions of heterosexuals, including many homophobic heterosexuals all across the USA.

    So if Felicity gets slammed by Leno for her haircut or if a cookie-baking straight jock gets ribbed on Howard Stern, this is now an issue for the formerly gay organization known as GLAAD. I don't feel any obligation to fund this group when actual LGB groups need money.

    BTW, if there are studies that back up your claim about trans and sexual orientation, please reference a citation as I would be happy to read them.

    Posted by: Bev | Mar 25, 2013 3:44:18 PM

  17. "Trans activists defined it that way, presumably to enlarge their group as much as possible"

    But there many Gay people who are gender role non-conforming. They suffer the same oppression as Transfolk, and for the same reasons.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Mar 25, 2013 4:05:24 PM

  18. I would expand the name to include those heterosexual people who are discriminated by many in the LGBTQ community. Well, it’s about expansion including those misunderstood based on cultural perception of sex and identity, isn’t it? The bag is BIG and getting BIGGER. Though it’s getting a little confusing, even for those included, and we read it around here.

    Posted by: WowDudeWow | Mar 25, 2013 6:18:31 PM

  19. Well, it's clear that the people being discussed here are transsexual persons. Not straight men who wear pink and bake. This isn't a political situation from where I stand, it's about fighting for and standing up against hate towards transsexuals. Although, then again---men criticized for doing these things are criticized because it's considered "not manly" aka gay to do them. Which simply highlights the connection between what LGB people go through and what T persons, who are often LGB as well, go through, and it highlights the fact that gender identity and sexuality often mix. If Leno made a crack about a woman with a short haircut, then GLAAD would step in, even ignoring the trans issue for a second, b/c presumably the crack would be that the female actress looks like a boy or a lesbian. She doesn't look like a straight woman, she doesn't look the way a woman "should" look.

    At the end of the day, a large portion of LGB people are not gender conforming and thus we should definitely prioritize fighting restrictive and discriminatory gender expectations.

    Posted by: Francis | Mar 25, 2013 6:30:16 PM

  20. i just love that Rick admits that it's his own fault, and the fault of cowards like him, that anti-gay prejudice exists.

    so 'masculine' yet doesn't have the balls to Come Out.


    long live the culture of effeminacy! men who are SO effeminate that they don't live in fear of what straight bigots think, nor insecure closeted self-hating homosexuals.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Mar 25, 2013 6:38:50 PM

  21. OMG, I knew there was a huge problem with transphobia from the GL community but WTF? Just disgusting and depressing.

    Posted by: Dani | Apr 9, 2013 5:42:37 PM

  22. All of the above posts using my name are fakes.

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | Apr 19, 2013 8:30:10 AM

  23. I never make comments opposed to the equality of transpeople or their community.

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | Apr 19, 2013 8:31:36 AM

  24. All the above posts using my name to attack transfolk or oppose their equality are fakes from some Democrat party source. Their use of disinformation is retaliation for my opposition to Obama from a socialist point of view.

    I've asked Towleroad to block the IP of origin.

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | Apr 19, 2013 8:35:11 AM

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