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MottoTo promote understanding, increase acceptance, and advance equality.
Founded1985; 35 years ago (1985) (as Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation)
FoundersVito Russo
Jewelle Gomez
Lauren Hinds
FocusDiscrimination in media
Area served
United States
MethodMedia monitoring
Key people
Sarah Kate Ellis, President

GLAAD is an American non-governmental media monitoring organization founded by LGBT people in the media. Before March 2013, the name "GLAAD" had been an acronym for "Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation", but became the primary name due to its inclusiveness of bisexual and transgender issues.[1]


Formed in New York City 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 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;[2] Jewelle Gomez, the organization's first treasurer; and film critic Marcia Pally, who later served as acting Board chair. [3] Some members of GLAAD went on to become the early members of ACT UP.[citation needed]

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 LGBT people were portrayed on screen.[5]

Entertainment Weekly has named GLAAD as one of Hollywood's most powerful entities,[6] and the Los Angeles Times described GLAAD as "possibly one of the most successful organizations lobbying the media for inclusion".[7]

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, 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 LGBT community in its entirety.[1]


Sarah Kate Ellis is the current president and CEO of GLAAD.[9] Ellis took reign in 2014 and under her leadership GLAAD's revenue grew by 38%. In 2015 Ellis hired Nick Adams as director of the transgender media program.[9]

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–?)
  • Marcia Pally (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)
  • Dave Montez (May 2013 – November 2013)
  • Sarah Kate Ellis (2013 – present)[10]
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.[citation needed]

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.[11]

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 journalistic outlets.[12]

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".[13]

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[14]), with the 10th edition, being the most recent, published in 2016.[15]


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.[16]

In 2010, GLAAD launched Spirit Day. Spirit Day is an annual national day of action to show LGBTQ youth that they are not alone because there is plenty of support all around them.[17]

In 2016, Spirit Day is the world's largest and most-visible anti-bullying campaign.[17]

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.[17]

On social media, people are encouraged to wear purple or go purple online in order to stand united against bullying. Huge media companies such as NBC Universal and Viacom show support for Spirit Day on the airwaves. They even change their on-air logo to purple for the day. They also enlist talent who wear purple during the day's broadcast.[17]

More than 1.5 billion media impressions annually are seen in support of the campaign. 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.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b 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.
  2. ^ "Barnett, Allen (1955–1991)". Archived from the original on October 15, 2012. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  3. ^ Politics of Ego: GLAAD Saga Unravelled, in Gay Community News, p.3 (March 1-7, 1987)
  4. ^ "GLAAD for Clay Aiken". Archived from the original on 2013-05-28. Retrieved 2013-12-03.
  5. ^ Anderson, Tre'vell (2016-05-02). "Here is why Hollywood also has an LGBT diversity issue". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2020-06-13.
  6. ^ "Entertainment Weekly's 101 Most Influential People (1992)". 1976-11-25. Archived from the original on 2012-04-19. Retrieved 2013-12-03.
  7. ^ Myers and Cress 2004: 200
  8. ^ Reynolds, Daniel (2013-11-08). "GLAAD Appoints First Transgender Cochair". Archived from the original on 2013-11-11. Retrieved 2013-12-03.
  9. ^ a b The woman who saved GLAAD: how Sarah Kate Ellis brought the faltering nonprofit into the 21st century. Author: Setoodeh Journal: Variety ISSN: 0042-2738 Date: 09/27/2016 Volume: 333 Issue: 12 Page: 50
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ "Announcing Equality". Archived from the original on September 1, 2011. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  12. ^ "Commentator Accountability Project (CAP)". GLAAD. Archived from the original on 2013-01-16. Retrieved 2013-02-16.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ ""GLAAD Publications", as archived on 5 February 1997". 1997-02-05. Archived from the original on 1997-02-05. Retrieved 2013-12-03.
  15. ^ "Media Reference Guide – 9th Edition". GLAAD. Archived from the original on 2015-07-29. Retrieved 2015-08-04.
  16. ^ "Take the Together Pledge". GLAAD. 2017-01-31. Archived from the original on 2017-09-29. Retrieved 2017-09-29.
  17. ^ 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: 08/01/2016 Volume: 19 Issue: 8 Page: 16

Further reading[edit]

  • Myers, Daniel J.; Daniel M. Cress (2004). Authority in Contention. Emerald Group Publishing. ISBN 0-7623-1037-5.

External links[edit]