GLAAD

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  • GLAAD Urges Journalists To Debunk Anti-LGBT "Bathroom Predator" Myth

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL PERCELAY

    In response to the growing prominence of myths surrounding bathroom access in coverage of LGBT nondiscrimination ordinances, GLAAD has released a media guide to aid journalists in accurately reporting on transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination laws.

    On February 25, the national LGBT media advocacy organization GLAAD released a media guide for journalists reporting on LGBT nondiscrimination ordinances. Opponents of public accommodations protections falsely claim laws protecting transgender people from discrimination will allow men to sneak into women's restrooms to commit sexual assault. Debunking the "Bathroom Bill" Myth focuses on the need for journalists to refute the anti-LGBT "bathroom predator" talking point:

    If journalists repeat the characterization of LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination laws as "bathroom bills," or overly focus on the application of these far-reaching policies to the narrow issue of bathrooms, they impair the public's understanding of how these laws protect people from discrimination, harassment, unfair treatment, and more. While these laws often allow transgender people to use the restroom which matches the gender they live every day, the benefits of nondiscrimination laws are much more extensive, typically covering employment, housing, education, jury service, credit, and more.

    Advocates for victims of sexual assault, law enforcement and government officials, a Pulitzer-prize winning columnist, and experts in 15 states have all debunked the "bathroom predator" talking point, calling it "beyond specious." Yet media coverage of nondiscrimination battles continues to perpetuate the myth. Last November, voters in Houston repealed the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) after local television media uncritically repeated the "bathroom predator" myth, essentially providing free airtime to HERO opponents:

    Emboldened by the success of the bathroom predator talking point in Houston, anti-LGBT activists have seized on the strategy to oppose nondiscrimination measures across the country. Recently, the bathroom myth has dominated the debate over a proposed nondiscrimination ordinance in Jacksonville, FL, and a measure that was passed in Charlotte, NC.

    GLAAD's media guide includes best practices journalists can follow in reporting on LGBT nondiscrimination ordinances, including:

    • Avoid using bathroom images and B-roll when discussing nondiscrimination policies
    • Challenge politicians and pundits with accurate information about transgender people
    • Mention the many places that have trans-inclusive nondiscrimination protections
    • Interview transgender people themselves

    With 32 states lacking comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people, the "bathroom predator" myth isn't going away anytime soon. As journalists cover nondiscrimination debates in the future, they should heed GLAAD's guidelines to ensure accurate reporting and to avoid providing free advertising for anti-LGBT activists.

  • The Washington Post's Editorial Board Denounces "Tragic Discrimination" Of Transgender Students

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LOPEZ

    The Washington Post's editorial board denounced the "fear-mongering" that "has become a staple" of debates over transgender student rights and led to "tragic discrimination" against transgender students. The fearmongering is based on the debunked "bathroom" myth hyped by right-wing media.

    Conservative media have repeatedly and falsely claimed that anti-discrimination policies that protect transgender students would be exploited by students who will pretend pretend to be transgender in order to sneak into restrooms or locker rooms of the opposite sex and behave inappropriately. The myth has been thoroughly debunked by schools and experts from cities and states across the country with existing protections for transgender students.

    In a November 17 editorial, the WaPo's editorial board slammed the bathroom myth "fear-mongering" that has "unfortunately become a staple" of the debate surrounding equal-protection for transgender students, while shining a light on how these myths can dangerously foster discrimination against and stigmatization of students. The Post highlighted the "tragic discrimination" an Illinois transgender student encountered after she asked "to change clothes privately within the girls' locker room," noting that accommodating transgender students is a "critical matter for school districts everywhere" and calling for schools to replace "emotion with reason:"

    To understand the bid of a female transgender student to use the girls' locker room at her suburban Chicago high school, it is necessary to get past all the fear-mongering that unfortunately has become a staple of these debates about bathrooms. Listen instead to what this young girl has told school officials: about having her own sense of privacy, about being isolated and ostracized and about how all she wants is "to be a girl like every other girl."

    [...]

    It's mystifying that some solution couldn't be reached between the two parties, but details of the two-year investigation prompted by the girl's complaint paint a far different picture than that suggested by the rhetoric of school officials. How the girl, who is undergoing hormone therapy and is recognized by the school as a female in all other respects (including her use of bathrooms), first asked -- and was denied -- an opportunity to change clothes privately within the girls' locker room in an area such as a restroom stall. How the school's insistence she use separate facilities for the past two years has stigmatized her. It is clear from the government's investigation, which included inspection of the facilities and interviews with school staff about conduct common in the locker rooms, that the privacy of all students could be protected without singling out this girl for separate and discriminatory treatment. It is a point that was underscored by the hundreds of students and community members who signed a student-led petition in support of her access to the locker room.

    It is estimated that there are very small numbers of transgender students, but as school superintendent Daniel E. Cates pointed out in his public statements, figuring out how to best accommodate them is an emerging and critical matter for school districts everywhere. Those challenges, though, are nothing compared with the difficulties that confront transgender adolescents, so it's important that schools set the example by replacing emotion with reason.

    The Post's calls for equality for transgender students are backed by the collective experience of 17 school districts around the nation that have implemented policies protecting transgender students with no negative consequences, and falls during Transgender Awareness Week, which according to LGBT media advocacy organization GLAAD, "help[s] raise the visibility of transgender and gender non-conforming people."

  • Noticieros Nacionales Aciertan Con Ciertas Historias Transgenéro, Pero Fallan Al No Cubrir Epidemia De Violencia

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LOPEZ

    Un reciente estudio de Media Matters analizó la cobertura de historias transgénero en las cadenas televisivas de emisión nacional ABC, NBC, CBS; de cable Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, y medios hispanos Univisión y Telemundo, y encontró que en el período estudiado entre el 1 de enero y el 28 de febrero de 2015, los medios apenas han incluido en su cobertura de historias sobre personas transgénero, las historias importantes sobre la epidemia de violencia contra esta comunidad.

    Algunos medios de cable, como CNN y MSNBC resaltaron por la cantidad de cobertura dedicada a historias de personas transgénero, 46:20 y 61:20 minutos respectivamente.

  • How Not To Cover The Upcoming Sochi Olympics

    Blog ››› ››› LUKE BRINKER

    With the Winter Olympics set to kick off in Sochi, Russia on February 7, the LGBT advocacy organization GLAAD has released a media guide for covering the upcoming games, stressing the importance of highlighting Russia's anti-gay crackdown and telling the stories of LGBT Russian citizens.

    On January 29, GLAAD unveiled its Olympic Playbook, in conjunction with the group's launch of a Global Voices program designed to advocate for LGBT rights around the world via improved national and international media coverage. GLAAD offered media organizations a primer on Russia's anti-gay crackdown, noting that the country's ban on so-called "gay propaganda" could target favorable depictions of LGBT people, waving the rainbow flag, public displays of affection between same-sex partners, and simply coming out as LGBT.

    Additionally, GLAAD noted that LGBT Russians suffer under laws clamping down on free speech and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive any foreign financing; such entities must register with the government as "foreign agents."

    Continuing in the vein of GLAAD's longstanding mission to empower LGBT people through media accountability and story-telling, the organization urged media organizations covering the Olympics to:

    • Draw attention to the state-sanctioned persecution of LGBT Russians and convey the "personal stories and experiences" of LGBT individuals in the country.
    • Cover Russian LGBT life with a "personal lens," asking LGBT citizens about their experiences, relationships, and sense of security in the country.
    • In interviews, ask Olympic athletes and others involved in the games whether they're aware of the crackdown and what they think of it.

    GLAAD's advisory also listed "pitfalls to avoid," including:

    • Omitting coverage of Russia's anti-LGBT laws, as outlets like NBC and Fox News have previously done.
    • Comparing LGBT people to pedophiles, as President Vladimir Putin did in widely publicized remarks.
    • Relying on International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Russian officials for comment on the anti-gay crackdown. The IOC, GLAAD notes, has declared that Russia's anti-LGBT laws don't violate the Olympic Charter's anti-discrimination clause and that any athlete who engages in pro-LGBT demonstrations risks disqualification. Coverage should instead feature the voices of LGBT activists and citizens.
    • Drawing excessive attention to Sochi's gay bar at the expense of reporting on other LGBT clubs and organizations, many of which have come under attack.
  • Fox News Goes Purple For Spirit Day After Months Of Anti-LGBT Harassment, Bullying

    Blog ››› ››› CARLOS MAZA

    Several Fox News personalities wore purple to show their support for Spirit Day, despite the network's ever-growing track record of promoting anti-LGBT bullying and fear mongering.

    October 17 is Spirit Day - a day during which millions of Americans wear purple to stand against anti-LGBT bullying and show their support for bullying victims. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), which organizes the event, confirmed that Fox News had been sent information about participating in advance. And, as in 2012, a number of Fox News personalities wore purple throughout the day's broadcast.

    Fox & Friends First hosts Heather Childers and Ainsley Earhardt:

    Fox Business Network host Stuart Varney:

    Fox Businesses Network reporter Lauren Simonetti:

    Fox News contributor Gerri Willis:

  • News Outlets' Misgendering Of Private Manning Draws Criticism

    Blog ››› ››› JOE STRUPP

    News outlets who continue to refer to U.S. Army Pfc. Chelsea Manning, who formerly went by the name Bradley, using masculine pronouns after she announced that she identifies as female this week are drawing criticism from transgender advocates, raising the issue of how such news subjects should be covered.

    Manning, who on August 21 was found guilty of crimes related to giving classified documents to Wikileaks, on August 22 released a statement through her lawyer which said in part: "As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female." Manning requested that "starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun." 

    In response, the GLAAD and the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association each issued statements informing media outlets that they should use the name and pronouns that Manning prefers. But many media outlets have continued to refer to Manning as "Bradley" and describe her using male pronouns.

    Rich Ferraro, a spokesman for the GLAAD, specifically singled out the Associated Press and Reuters, saying the group had reached out to these two news organizations and requested a correction in their approach going forward.

    "Today our focus is on reaching out to them and asking for corrections," Ferraro said of A.P. and Reuters. 

    Ferraro also pointed out that he believes the AP had violated its own policy that states when reporting on transgender news subjects, "use the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth."

    AP and Reuters have not yet responded to requests for comment, but AP posted a statement on its website that said the service "will use gender-neutral references to Manning and provide the pertinent background on the transgender issue. However, when reporting is completed, the AP Stylebook entry on 'transgender' will be AP's guide."

    The AP, ReutersThe Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post on Thursday referred to Manning with a male pronoun throughout stories about her announcement Thursday morning that she wished to be identified as a woman and had wished to be called Chelsea, not Bradley.

    "We would probably criticize the media overall," Ferraro said when asked about GLAAD's reaction to such references. "Chelsea Manning's announcement today and subsequent media judgment reflects a lack of education on covering transgender people. Media today should respect Chelsea Manning's announcement and that includes using female pronouns when speaking about her and that includes referring to her as Chelsea."

  • GLAAD To Fox News: If You Want To Attend Our Events, Stop Attacking LGBT People

    Blog ››› ››› CARLOS MAZA

    Representatives from Fox News attended this year's annual Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) media awards, prompting the organization to condemn the network's history of anti-LGBT coverage.

    GLAAD hosted its annual media awards - meant to honor the media for outstanding representations of the LGBT community -- in New York City on March 16. According to pictures from the event, at least two Fox News personalities were in attendance -- The Five's Kimberly Guilfoyle and America's News HQ's Jamie Colby:

    In response, GLAAD Vice President of Communications Rich Ferraro issued the following statement to Equality Matters:

    If Kimberly and Jamie expect to attend future GLAAD events, they will first need to sit down with us to discuss Fox News' embarrassing, biased and misinformed coverage of LGBT issues. The invitation is open. Fox News's track record on LGBT issues is abysmal, and it makes no sense to me why any LGBT people or allies would want to be a part of that.

    UPDATE: On March 22, GLAAD vice president of communications Rich Ferraro issued the following clarification of his earlier statement:

    "My earlier statement was a reaction to Fox News' coverage of LGBT people and not any individual journalists. A GLAAD executive did invite Kimberly and Jamie to the GLAAD Media Awards, and we were happy to have them, with the belief that they signaled a change in the way Fox News would cover LGBT issues.

    But the next day, we had a flurry of reports that Fox News let anti-gay activist Tony Perkins make the false and dangerous claim on national television that 'evidence' shows that being gay is 'overwhelmingly negative to both the individual and society.'

    It was not my intention to offend Kimberly or Jamie. Part of our work at GLAAD is to raise awareness and visibility of allies from all walks of life, particularly among the growing number of conservatives who support LGBT people, and we look forward to working with voices like Kimberly, Jamie, and any other allies at Fox News to accomplish that."

  • GLAAD Calls on CNN to "Keep Away From the Anti-Gay Industry"

    Blog ››› ››› EQUALITY MATTERS STAFF

    GLAAD is calling on CNN to "Keep Away From the Anti-Gay Industry," asking supporters to sign a petition to get the network to stop hosting extreme anti-gay activists that spread false and incendiary claims to provide "balance" in discussions that impact the LGBT community. The GLAAD petition highlighted a recent December 21 John King segment which prompted their action:

    During that John King segment on the pending repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and its implementation, King featured openly gay former service member Alex Nicholson, alongside [Peter] Sprigg, who is a "senior fellow for policy studies" at the Family Research Council.

    Nicholson's qualifications were clear. As an openly gay, former Army intelligence officer, he gave firsthand accounts of how the policy played out in the day-to-day lives of gay and lesbian service members.Sprigg's qualifications, however, came exclusively from his job at the Family Research Council. There, Sprigg has worked to advance some of the most hurtful, dangerous, and demonstrably false notions about the lives of LGBT people that our country has seen in recent years. And yet, by pairing him with Nicholson in this segment, CNN told its millions of viewers that both of these men should be seen as equally valuable to this discussion.

    Is it important for the media to take these groups on? Of course it is. But that's not what CNN and other media organizations are doing when it invites these groups to take part in otherwise reasonable discussions. The media is elevating their hurtful messages and attitudes to the level of rational discourse. The media is saying that people like Alexander Nicholson, who can speak to real-life experience and firsthand facts, need to be "balanced" by people like Peter Sprigg, whose claim to fame is arguing that being gay should be outlawed. If CNN wants to interview a gay person who believes being straight should be outlawed, THEN Peter Sprigg would be an acceptable "balance."

    CNN and the rest of the media are doing nothing but exposing their viewers to dangerous anti-gay rhetoric when they invite members of these anti-gay groups onto their programming. Starting in 2011, this needs to stop.

    GLAAD is not the first group to highlight CNN's habit of hosting anti-gay groups as a balance to discussions of LGBT issues. Media Matters' Jamison Foser also highlighted Sprigg's appearence on CNN and asked why the network would host Sprigg, in light of is previous comments:

    Peter Sprigg wants "gay behavior" outlawed and has said he would "much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them into the United States because we believe that homosexuality is destructive to society." Sprigg's comments played a role in the Southern Poverty Law Center's decision to identify FRC as a "hate group." (Sprigg subsequently apologized for the comment about exporting gays, saying he was guilty of "speaking in a way that did not reflect the standards which the Family Research Council and I embrace" -- but he did not retract the substance of the comment.)

    Additionally, columnist Dan Savage appeared on the November 23 edition of CNN Newsroom and criticized the network for hosting activists from the Family Research Council (FRC) like Sprigg, noting that Southern Policy Law Center had just named the FRC a "hate group."

  • Groups run ad targeting The View over "dangerous myths about African American gay and bisexual men"

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    On the June 22 broadcast of ABC's The View, co-host Sherri Shepherd and guest-host D.L. Hughley advanced what the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has called "dangerous myths about African American gay and bisexual men." As GLAAD noted following the broadcast:

    While discussing the FDA's ban that prevents gay and bisexual men from donating blood, Shepherd and Hughley communicated misinformation about the causes of increased HIV rates among African American women and used the phrase "down low" to describe men who have sex with men but publicly identify as heterosexual.

    Here are excerpts from a transcript of the segment:

    Hughley: When you look at the prevalence of HIV in the African American Community, it's primarily young women who are getting it from men who are on the down low. That's the thing.

    Shepherd: The down low is black men who've been going out. They are having sex with men and they're not telling their girlfriends or their wives that they're gay and their husbands, as well. And it's very prevalent with African American women because they come home and have sex with their wives or their girlfriends. And they're not telling them that they're gay.

    Shepherd: It's so big in the Black community with women because they're having unprotected sex with men who have been having sex with... with men.

    As GLAAD points out, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has "debunked the dangerous myth." Noting that "Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of the [CDC]'s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention talked about his research to NNPA News in October 2009. Fenton said that the CDC 'has looked to see what proportion of [HIV] infections is coming from male partners who are bisexual and found there are actually relatively few,' and goes on to attribute most infections to other factors."

    Thus far, GLAAD has been unsuccessful in its efforts to get a retraction from The View which led to the organiztion partnering with the Black AIDS Institute and the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) to run a full-page ad in Variety this week:

    The ad reads in part, "On June 22, ABC's The View aired inaccurate information about HIV, blaming African American gay and bisexual men for increased HIV rates among straight African American women. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has publicly disproven this myth. And since June 22, thousands of people have written to ABC, asking that The View Provide correct information to viewers. Unfortunately, those requests have been greeted with silence from both ABC and The View."

    h/t Towleroad.

  • GLAAD contacting Factor sponsors following O'Reilly's mocking of gay-inclusive ad

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    As we noted yesterday, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) launched a "call to action" demanding that O'Reilly and Fox News "apologize for comparing gay people to al-Qaeda."

    Now GLAAD is following up the action campaign by contacting O'Reilly's sponsors and asking that they explain their support for Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

    Today GLAAD released a list of advertisers that supported the June 2 broadcast of Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor." During that broadcast, host Bill O'Reilly likened gay people to the international terrorist organization, al Qaeda.

    [...]

    Today we are contacting the 35 companies that advertised during the broadcast to ask how they justify supporting this type of defamation.

    Please see a complete list of advertisers below. GLAAD will keep you updated on any responses we receive.

    • Farmers Insurance Group
    • Porsche
    • Broadview Security
    • Atlantis Resort
    • EHarmony.com
    • Infinity (NISSAN),
    • Amway Global
    • Accu-Chek Aviva (ROCHE)
    • NHTSA
    • Activision
    • AT&T
    • Carbonite (CarboniteTV.com)
    • Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
    • Smart Balance Milk
    • Starbucks
    • Pulaski & Middleman LLC
    • Foundation for a Better Life
    • Merit Financial
    • Kelloggs
    • Lending Tree
    • AARP
    • Terminix
    • Mayflower
    • Holiday Inn
    • Skip Gambert & Associates
    • AmazonKindle
    • Geico
    • Lexus
    • Peachtree Settlement
    • Vonage
    • Citracal
    • T. Rowe Price
    • Dr. Scholls
    • Mercedes
    • Jack Victor

    Previously:

  • GLAAD Launches Action Calling on O'Reilly and Fox to "Apologize for Comparing Gay People to al-Qaeda"

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    As we noted earlier today in an exclusive Media Matters report, several LGBT advocacy groups have ripped Fox News host Bill O'Reilly for "equating gays" with "terrorists."

    Now the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has launched a "call to action" demanding that O'Reilly and Fox News "apologize for comparing gay people to al-Qaeda."

    GLAAD writes:

    On the June 2 edition of Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor," host Bill O'Reilly made highly offensive comments while discussing a gay themed McDonald's advertisement currently airing in France.

    After playing the ad for his viewers O'Reilly asked Jane Skinner to weigh in on the content. Skinner pointed out that the ad campaign is "part of an overreaching campaign called 'come as you are,' which you saw at the end there. So they show people in different walks of life." O'Reilly then asked, "Do they have an al Qaeda ad, you know, come as you are? You know?"

    Instead of evaluating the commercial in a fair manner, O'Reilly used the occasion to defame the LGBT community, suggesting that McDonald's might begin marketing to terrorists simply because the company produced a gay friendly television commercial. His lighthearted tone in the segment was equally disturbing.

    Cable opinion programs like "The O'Reilly Factor" have a responsibility to cover issues with a level of respect and civility. Bill O'Reilly failed to live up to that standard in making these defamatory remarks. Fox News Channel is equally accountable for allowing O'Reilly a platform for this insulting and irresponsible commentary.

    TAKE ACTION NOW!

    Please contact Fox News Channel and voice your concerns about Bill O'Reilly history of verbal attacks on LGBT people including this latest incident of comparing the gay community to al Qaeda. Urge O'Reilly and Fox News to apologize and tell the network to stop allowing its airwaves to be used for anti-gay defamation.

    For more on GLAAD's "call to action" and how you can contact The O'Reilly Factor and Fox News, click here.

  • Clear Channel responds to Jim Quinn's defamatory remarks on HIV/AIDS

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Clear Channel has released a statement to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation stating that they do not condone radio host Jim Quinn's recent defamatory comments on people living with HIV/AIDS and stating that they have spoken with Quinn about the "seriousness" of his remarks. On January 14, Quinn said that thanks to the "homosexual AIDS lobby," "[w]hen you get AIDS, pal, the door opens up to you. You have got all kinds of government goodies, including a maid to clean your house, transportation - I mean it's - there's just a wealth of wonders that come."

    From GLAAD:

    Following our Call to Action, GLAAD allies wrote numerous e-mails to Clear Channel executives and demanded that Jim Quinn be held responsible for his outrageous comments.

    As a result, Clear Channel's Chief Communications Officer, Lisa Dollinger, released the following statement to GLAAD:

    Clear Channel doesn't condone Jim Quinn's remarks and we don't share his view. Clear Channel has raised considerable funds and positive awareness for HIV/AIDS and the GLBT community over the years and we will continue to do so. We've spoken with Mr. Quinn about the seriousness of this incident.