Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation
Year Founded1985 in New York City
Key PeopleJarrett Barrios (President)
FocusDiscrimination in media
MethodMedia monitoring

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is a media monitoring organization that works to prevent the defamation of LGBT people in the media and to work toward public acceptance of LGBT people. It was founded in 1985 in New York City in response to sensationalized coverage of the AIDS epidemic in the media.


GLAAD was founded in 1985 in New York City in direct response to allegedly inaccurate, defamatory and sensationalized coverage of the AIDS epidemic by the New York Post. 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 became the first Executive Director, Darryl Yates Rist, Allen Barnett [1] and Jewelle Gomez the organization's first treasurer, among others. Initial meetings focused on the media coverage of AIDS and began to establish a clipping archive documenting that coverage. Members were able to convene the first ever meeting with a major New York newspaper (the NY Post) and gay activists. Making use of the 'phone tree' successful demonstrations were called whenever the group saw an opportunity to shine a spotlight on perceived defamation. Some members of GLAAD established the Committee of Swift and Terrible Retribution whose participants became the early members of ACT UP. GLAAD's influence soon spread to Los Angeles, where organizers began working with the entertainment industry to change the way gay men and lesbians were portrayed on screen.

Current programs

GLAAD continues to encourage positive portrayals of LGBT people in media, helping journalists, writers and other creators with using preferred terminology and portraying the LGBT community in an unbiased and inclusive way. The organization uses action alerts to combat defamation in the media. Since the formation of GLAAD 20 years ago, outright defamation in the mainstream press has decreased substantially. GLAAD continues to monitor regional, national and Internet media to help improve coverage of the LGBT community. The organization has recently started departments to work with faith communities, press for people of color and sports writing. GLAAD also pitches stories to media outlets that involve members of the LGBT community that may otherwise be overlooked. The organization has been criticized by LGBT activists for being overly cozy with the entertainment industry and focusing on glitzy celebrity parties rather than grassroots level work.

The GLAAD expressed opposition to the Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders, a 2005 Vatican document barring seminarians with "deep-seated homosexual tendencies".[1]

GLAAD Media Awards

Main article: GLAAD Media Awards

One of GLAAD's more visible programs is the annual GLAAD Media Awards, which honor individuals and projects in the mainstream media and entertainment industries for their fair, accurate, inclusive and favorable representations of the LGBT community and the issues that affect their lives. Since 2006, four events are held annually, one each in Los Angeles, New York City, Miami, and San Francisco.


The president of GLAAD is Jarrett Barrios.[2]

See also


  1. GLAAD Calls on Media to Scrutinize Vatican Document Barring Gay Seminarians
  2. "Board of Directors Names Jarrett Barrios as President of GLAAD." Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation Media Release. 2009-06-17. Retrieved on 2009-07-06.

External links