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Founded1985; 39 years ago (1985) (as Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation)
FocusDiscrimination in media
Area served
United States
MethodMedia monitoring
Key people
Sarah Kate Ellis (President) Edit this at Wikidata

GLAAD (/ɡlæd/[1]) is an American non-governmental media monitoring organization. Originally founded as a protest against defamatory coverage of gay and lesbian demographics and their portrayals in the media and entertainment industries, it has since included bisexual and transgender people.


Formed in New York City as Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation 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 first reported meeting occurred on November 14, 1985.[2] 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.

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 the gay and lesbian community 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, the year GLAAD changed its name from Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation to GLAAD,[7] and Jennifer Finney Boylan was chosen as the first openly transgender co-chair of GLAAD's National Board of Directors.[8]

Name change[edit]

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 was a commitment to incorporate bisexual and transgender people in their efforts to support the LGBTQ+ community in its entirety.[9]


Sarah Kate Ellis is the current president and CEO of GLAAD.[10] Ellis took the positions in 2014 and under her leadership GLAAD's revenue grew by 38%. In 2015, Ellis promoted Nick Adams to the newly created position of Director of Transgender Media & Representation. Adams started working at GLAAD in 1998 and had previously been GLAAD's Director of Communications & Special Projects.[10]

GLAAD/NY Executive Directors (1985–1994)
  • Gregory Kolovakos (1985–1987)
  • Craig Davidson (1987–1990)
  • Ellen Carton (1991–1995)
GLAAD Early Board Members/Officers
  • Christopher Borden Paine (1985–?)
  • Amy Bauer (1986–?)
GLAAD/LA Executive Directors (pre-1994)
  • Richard Jennings and Jehan Agrama (1989–1992)
  • Peter M. Nardi (1992–1993)
  • Lee Werbel (1993–1994)
Post-merger (1994–present)
  • William Waybourn (as national managing director; 1995 – 1997)
  • Joan M. Garry (1997 – June 2005)
  • Neil Giuliano (September 2005 – June 2009)
  • J. Michael Durnil (interim; June – September 2009)
  • Jarrett Barrios (September 2009 – June 2011)
  • Mike Thompson (acting) (June 2011 – 2012)
  • Herndon Graddick (April 2012 – May 2013)
  • Kurt Wentzell (June 2000 - September 2022)
  • Dave Montez (May 2013 – November 2013)
  • Sarah Kate Ellis (2013 – present)[11]
Other executives
  • Scott Seomin
  • John Sonego


GLAAD Media Awards[edit]

Comedian Wanda Sykes at the 2010 GLAAD Media Awards

The GLAAD Media Awards were established in 1989. Ceremonies are held annually in New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco.[12]

Announcing Equality Project[edit]

Established in 2002, GLAAD's Announcing Equality project has resulted in more than 1,000 newspapers including gay and lesbian announcements alongside other wedding listings.[13]

Commentator Accountability Project[edit]

In March 2012, GLAAD launched the Commentator Accountability Project, which seeks to index and document frequent contributors, guests and pundits who regularly express anti-LGBT bias and misinformation in their contributions to journalism outlets.[14]

Studio Responsibility Index[edit]

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".[15]

GLAAD Media Reference Guide[edit]

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[16]), with the 11th edition, being the most recent, published in 2022.[17]

Social Media Safety Index[edit]

The 2021 GLAAD Social Media Safety Index, based on an analysis of Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube, assessed that social media was "effectively unsafe for LGBTQ users."[18][19]


GLAAD has begun the Together Movement, which encourages all to join in support of those discriminated against including women, Muslims, immigrants and members of the LGBTQ+ community.[20]

In 2010, GLAAD launched Spirit Day. Spirit Day is an annual national day of action to show LGBTQ youth that they are not alone.[21]

In 2016, Spirit Day was the world's largest and most visible anti-bullying campaign.[21] The campaign works to bring anti-bullying resources to classrooms all around the world by inspiring educators to take action against bullying through hosting events and rallies. The campaign also created a GLAAD's Spirit Day kit for use in classrooms, which is available in 6 languages.[21]

On social media, people are encouraged to wear purple or go purple online in order to stand united against bullying. Large media companies such as NBC Universal and Viacom show support for Spirit Day on the airwaves, and change their on-air logo to purple for the day. They also enlist people who wear purple during the day's broadcast.[21] The hashtag #Spirit Day has become a trending topic on Twitter and Facebook every year. On social media, people such as Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres and President Barack Obama have shown their support for the campaign.[21]

Media consultation[edit]

GLAAD has at times worked with companies and studios in a consultative role to help with the depiction of LGBT characters and themes in specific projects. In 2004, Fox provided GLAAD with an advance copy of their reality television special Seriously, Dude, I'm Gay for review. Upon review of the special, GLAAD condemned it as "an exercise in systematic humiliation."[22] The special was shelved only hours before a scheduled meeting between GLAAD and Fox entertainment president Gail Berman to discuss the network's on-air depictions of gay men.[23] Ray Giuliani, an executive producer of Seriously, Dude, I'm Gay, largely attributed the special's cancellation to pressures that Fox faced from GLAAD.[24] Following the cancellation of the special, Fox organized another meeting with GLAAD for discussion over how to improve their on-air representations of the LGBT community.[25] Following the cancellation of Seriously, Dude, I'm Gay the executive producers of the TBS series He's a Lady consulted GLAAD for review of the transgender representation in their own program.[26]

The crossover fighting game Street Fighter X Tekken, developed by Japanese video game developer and publisher Capcom, was released in 2012.[27] The game features Poison, who is a transgender woman, as a playable character.[28] Capcom worked closely with GLAAD on the game's script[29] to ensure they do not "alienate anybody" in regard to Poison's representation, and "anything that might be offensive has been very tailored to not be".[30]

Tell Me Why is an episodic narrative adventure game developed by French studio Dontnod Entertainment and published by Xbox Game Studios in 2020.[31] The game focuses on twin siblings Alyson and Tyler Ronan, who is a transgender man.[31] Tell Me Why was the first Triple-A game to feature a transgender protagonist.[32] GLAAD helped in creating Tyler's character,[33] with the game's director Florent Guillaume described GLAAD as "invaluable" in developing Tyler's character and making him a "realistic hero".[32] GLAAD's director of transgender representation Nick Adams served as consultant who, amongst other areas, helped ensure that Tyler would be played by a trans actor; August Black.[31] Adams described authentic representations of trans people in media as a "powerful tool for acceptance and understanding".[34]

The third season of Young Justice consulted GLAAD on the subject of representing minority characters and narratives.[35]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The ABC Book: G". Library of Congress. National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled. Archived from the original on November 6, 2023. Retrieved October 1, 2021.
  2. ^ "GLAAD History and Highlights, 1985-Present". GLAAD. October 3, 2013. Archived from the original on November 6, 2023. Retrieved March 16, 2022.
  3. ^ "Barnett, Allen (1955–1991)". Archived from the original on October 15, 2012. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  4. ^ "GLAAD for Clay Aiken". Archived from the original on May 28, 2013. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
  5. ^ "Entertainment Weekly's 101 Most Influential People (1992)". November 25, 1976. Archived from the original on April 19, 2012. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
  6. ^ Myers, Daniel J.; Cress, Daniel M. (2004). Authority in Contention. Emerald Group Publishing. p. 200. ISBN 0-7623-1037-5.
  7. ^ Staff Reports (April 3, 2013). "GLAAD 'no longer an acronym,' alters name as part of broadened mission". Archived from the original on November 6, 2023. Retrieved May 22, 2023.
  8. ^ Reynolds, Daniel (November 8, 2013). "GLAAD Appoints First Transgender Cochair". Archived from the original on November 11, 2013. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
  9. ^ Peeples, Jase (March 24, 2013). "GLAAD Affirms Commitment to Trans and Bi People, Alters Name". The Advocate. Archived from the original on March 27, 2013. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  10. ^ a b Ramin Setoodeh (September 27, 2016). "The woman who saved GLAAD: how Sarah Kate Ellis brought the faltering nonprofit into the 21st century". Variety. Vol. 333, no. 12. p. 50. ISSN 0042-2738. Archived from the original on October 10, 2023. Retrieved July 13, 2021.
  11. ^ Reynolds, Daniel (November 25, 2013). "GLAAD Announces Sarah Kate Ellis as President". The Advocate. Archived from the original on December 2, 2013. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
  12. ^ "GLAAD History and Highlights, 1985-Present". GLAAD. October 3, 2013. Archived from the original on November 6, 2023. Retrieved March 17, 2022.
  13. ^ "Announcing Equality". Archived from the original on September 1, 2011. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  14. ^ "Commentator Accountability Project (CAP)". GLAAD. Archived from the original on January 16, 2013. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  15. ^ Max Gouttebroze (August 21, 2013). "First annual Studio Responsibility Index finds lack of substantial LGBT characters in mainstream films". GLAAD. Archived from the original on September 29, 2013. Retrieved October 7, 2013.
  16. ^ ""GLAAD Publications", as archived on 5 February 1997". February 5, 1997. Archived from the original on February 5, 1997. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
  17. ^ "GLAAD Media Reference Guide – 11th Edition". GLAAD. August 25, 2011. Archived from the original on January 23, 2023. Retrieved January 28, 2023.
  18. ^ Silva, Cynthia (May 11, 2021). "Top social media platforms 'unsafe' for LGBTQ users, report finds". NBC News. Archived from the original on May 10, 2021. Retrieved May 11, 2021.
  19. ^ Cohen, David (May 11, 2021). "GLAAD Calls the Entire Social Media Sector 'Unsafe for LGBTQ Users'". Adweek. Archived from the original on November 6, 2023. Retrieved May 11, 2021.
  20. ^ "Take the Together Pledge". GLAAD. January 31, 2017. Archived from the original on September 29, 2017. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  21. ^ a b c d e GLAAD hopes to stem bullying of LGBTQ youth on Spirit Day Author: Adams, S. Journal: PRweek (U.S. ed.) ISSN: 1524-1696 Date: January 8, 2016 Volume: 19 Issue: 8 Page: 16
  22. ^ "Seriously, dude, it's cancelled". Chicago Tribune. June 1, 2004. Archived from the original on April 3, 2022. Retrieved April 3, 2022.
  23. ^ Goodridge, Mike (October 12, 2004). "Seriously, dude, it was a joke". The Advocate. Vol. 924. pp. 85–7.
  24. ^ Graham, Chad (April 26, 2005). "Growing Pains at GLAAD". The Advocate. Vol. 937. pp. 36–7.
  25. ^ Welsh, James (May 28, 2004). "FOX yanks gay-themed reality show". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on April 3, 2022. Retrieved April 3, 2022.
  26. ^ Goodridge, Mike (October 26, 2004). "Dude looks like a lady". The Advocate. Vol. 925. p. 60.
  27. ^ McWhertor, Michael (June 21, 2021). "Tekken producer confirms the death of Tekken X Street Fighter". Polygon. Vox Media. Archived from the original on November 30, 2021. Retrieved February 21, 2022.
  28. ^ Henley, Stacey (January 20, 2021). "Street Fighter's Poison is a metaphor for the evolution of trans characters". TechRadar. Future plc. Archived from the original on January 21, 2021. Retrieved February 21, 2022.
  29. ^ Kane, Matt (December 25, 2012). "2012: Reviewing the Year in Gayming". GLAAD. Archived from the original on February 22, 2022. Retrieved February 22, 2022.
  30. ^ Patterson, Eric L. (October 10, 2011). "EGM Interview: Street Fighter X Tekken's Yoshinori Ono". Electronic Gaming Monthly. EGM Media, LLC. Archived from the original on January 4, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2022.
  31. ^ a b c Martens, Todd (September 1, 2020). "'Tell Me Why' makes video game history with a transgender lead role". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on December 14, 2021. Retrieved February 22, 2022.
  32. ^ a b Henley, Stacey (February 18, 2020). "Meet Tyler Ronan, the first transgender triple-A video game protagonist". VG247. Gamer Network. Archived from the original on February 22, 2022. Retrieved February 22, 2022.
  33. ^ Farokhmanesh, Megan (November 14, 2019). "Life is Strange developer unveils new mystery game, Tell Me Why". The Verge. Vox Media. Archived from the original on January 18, 2022. Retrieved February 22, 2022.
  34. ^ Silva, Cynthia (September 3, 2020). "Tell Me Why: Video game features transgender lead character". NBC News. Archived from the original on July 29, 2021. Retrieved February 22, 2022.
  35. ^ Weisman, Greg (October 25, 2021). "Question #25191". Ask Greg. Archived from the original on February 23, 2022. Retrieved February 23, 2022.

External links[edit]