social sciences
special features
about glbtq

Advertising Opportunities
Press Kit
Research Guide
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
site guide
search tips
research guide
editors & contributors
contact us
send feedback
write the editor
Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter to receive a spotlight on glbtq culture every month.
e-mail address:
Popular Topics in Literature
García Lorca, Federico García Lorca, Federico
The works of García Lorca, internationally recognized as Spain's most prominent lyric poet and dramatist of the twentieth century, are filled with thinly veiled homosexual motifs and themes.
Musical Theater
There has always been homosexual involvement in American musical theatre and a homosexual sensibility even in straight musicals, and recently the Broadway musical has welcomed openly homosexual themes and situations.
Michelangelo Buonarroti Michelangelo Buonarroti
Best known for his genius in art and architecture, Michelangelo was also an accomplished author of homoerotic poetry.
African-American Literature: Gay Male African-American Literature: Gay Male
The African-American gay male literary tradition consists of a substantial body of texts and includes some of the most gifted writers of the twentieth century.
Camp Camp
Combining elements of incongruity, theatricality, and exaggeration, camp is a form of humor that helps homosexuals cope with a hostile environment.
Hughes, Langston Hughes, Langston
Langston Hughes, whose literary legacy is enormous and varied, was closeted, but homosexuality was an important influence on his literary imagination, and many of his poems may be read as gay texts.
Baldwin, James Arthur Baldwin, James Arthur
James Baldwin, a pioneering figure in twentieth-century literature, wrote sustained and articulate challenges to American racism and mandatory heterosexuality.
Wilde, Oscar Wilde, Oscar
Oscar Wilde is important both as an accomplished writer and as a symbolic figure who exemplified a way of being homosexual at a pivotal moment in the emergence of gay consciousness.
Topics In the News
GLAAD: A New Direction or More of the Same?
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 09/19/12
Last updated on: 09/19/12
Bookmark and Share

Herndon Graddick.

In April 2012, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) announced the appointment of Herndon Graddick as its executive director. The appointment seemed to herald a return to the kind of activism implicit in its founding as a watchdog organization that fights back against defamation in the media. Despite some promising new initiatives by the organization, however, its response to the slurs of major league baseball player Yunel Escobar may indicate that not enough has changed.

GLAAD was founded in 1985 by activists and writers Arnie Kantrowitz, Darrell Yates Rist, and Vito Russo to protest the sensationalized and defamatory New York Post coverage of the emerging AIDS epidemic.

Over the years, the organization has become best known for its annual Media Award galas and its work in the entertainment industry. It continues to monitor incidents of defamation in the media and works to redress biased representations, but that central mission has in recent years come to seem secondary.

Indeed, in recent years GLAAD has come under fire from grassroots activists who have argued that the organization has lost its way, that in effect it has been coopted by the media groups that it was formed to monitor and lobby.

Jarret Barrios, the immediate past executive director of GLAAD, resigned in the wake of revelations that he had sent letters to the Federal Communications Commission supporting the merger of AT&T and T-Mobile, apparently at the behest of AT&T, which is a major corporate sponsor of GLAAD.

Critics who charged that GLAAD has become too closely identified with the very entities it is tasked with monitoring have pointed out that too often the organization has worked harder to save the careers of celebrities who have defamed the glbtq community than it has to defend the community.

For example, when comedian and actor Tracy Morgan ranted against gay people in his concert performances in 2011, even saying that he would murder his own son if he were gay, many critics felt that GLAAD was more interested in salvaging Morgan's career than in defending the glbtq communities.

At the same time that many grassroots gay people were calling for Morgan to be fired from his lucrative acting job on NBC's 30 Rock, GLAAD arranged an "apology tour" media blitz for the besieged comedian, who retained his job.

Many of us hoped that Graddick's appointment as executive director was a signal that the organization would return to its original vision and purpose. An increased militancy, we believe, is needed to counter the perception that instead of being a watchdog GLAAD has become corporate media's lapdog.

The reaction to the recent incident involving Toronto Blue Jay short stop Yunel Escobar is not encouraging. The Cuban-born Escobar got into trouble by painting "Tu Ere Maricon" ("You are a faggot") in his eye black as he mounted the field last weekend.

As the result of an international outcry, the Blue Jays announced yesterday that Escobar will face a three game suspension and will undergo sensitivity training by GLAAD. He will also donate his lost salary to GLAAD and to the Canadian group, You Can Play, which is dedicated to combating homophobia in sports.

Escobar's offense is, admittedly, less serious than Tracy Morgan's, more annoying than threatening. It may reflect machismo as much as homophobia and may reflect a lack of understanding of Canadian culture. Escobar claims that the did not intend to offend the gay community. Still, it was a stupid and offensive breach of civility, and deserves to be punished.

GLAAD's involvement with this incident is troubling. GLAAD apparently continues to believe its mission is one of rescuing the careers of celebrities who make offensive remarks.

I do not believe that GLAAD should be involved in providing sensitivity training or serving to resurrect the careers of people who attack the glbtq community.

Interestingly, however, GLAAD's intervention on behalf of the Toronto Blue Jays coincides with the release of a video that reassures us that the organization has embarked on the new direction we called for last year.

The video, produced by the Gill Foundation, reports on recent initiatives undertaken by GLAAD. Those initiatives give hope that GLAAD may return to its militant roots. But I think that to be taken seriously the organization must refuse to be involved in rehabilitating the careers of those who defame our community.

Related Encyclopedia Entries
browse:   arts   literature   social-sciences   discussion boards
learn more about glbtq       contact us       advertise on glbtq.com
Bookmark and Share

glbtq™ and its logo are trademarks of glbtq, Inc.
This site and its contents Copyright © 2002-2015, glbtq, Inc.

Your use of this site indicates that you accept its Terms of Service.