GLAAD attended this conference to further our relationships with black journalists and expand LGBT visibility at an important media event. The stories of many LGBT people of color are hard to find in the news and entertainment media, resulting in continued misconceptions, stereotypes and invisibility about the lives of LGBT people of color within many communities. GLAAD’s Communities of African Descent (COAD) Media Program works to elevate the voices and stories of LGBT people of color by holding media trainings for individuals and community organizations to share their stories in the media and their own communities.
We also work directly with journalists by bringing stories of LGBT people of color to the media, meeting with editorial boards for fair and accurate coverage of LGBT people of color and briefing journalists on LGBT issues as part of professional journalism association conferences like NABJ.
During the presentation, I was able to review terminology that journalists had used when writing about the black LGBT community, provide examples of fair, accurate and inclusive LGBT media coverage, and also mention a recent study on talking about LGBT equality with African American communities. After the training, one NABJ participant asked GLAAD to conduct a similar briefing for a major metropolitan television news station.
The conference was held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, an establishment owned by Doug Manchester, who donated $125,000 to the campaign to pass Proposition 8 and eliminate marriage for same-sex couples in California. In 2008, GLAAD became the first organization to pull funds from the venue and also joined the Boycott Manchester Hotels campaign.
GLAAD calls on supporters to continue this boycott and withhold personal and organizational funds from this business. We stood with the LGBT and labor movements by not spending any GLAAD funds at the Manchester Grand Hyatt. I also did not spend any personal funds at the hotel.
While GLAAD fully supports the boycott and was disappointed that NABJ chose this venue, we still felt it was vitally important to reach these journalists with our messages about fair reporting on LGBT issues impacting the black community and the entire movement.
The relationships that began at the NABJ conference will bring new stories about LGBT people of color and their families to readers - stories that will build support for LGBT equality across all of our communities.