On Sunday's Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC, GLAAD announced that the organization has formally dropped the words 'Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation' from its name and will be known going forward as simply GLAAD, the LGBT media advocacy organization.
Accompanying the change in name is a renewed commitment to incorporate bi and trans people, as well as allies from diverse backgrounds in GLAAD's work to shape the media narrative and build public support for the LGBT community.
GLAAD's Wilson Cruz made the announcement on a panel alongside author and advocate Janet Mock and Mel Wymore, a community activist and Democratic candidate for New York City Council. Mel's victory would mark the first election of a transgender candidate to public office in New York State.
"It is a natural progression that reflects the work GLAAD's staff is already leading," said Cruz. "We respect and honor the full name that the organization was founded with, but GLAAD's work has expanded beyond fighting defamation to changing the culture. Our commitment to marriage equality, employment nondiscrimination, and other LGBT issues is stronger than ever, and now our name reflects our work on transgender issues as well as our work with allies."
GLAAD will continue a broad range of important media work, from holding the media accountable for coverage of LGBT issues, to elevating the important LGBT stories that make headlines and ultimately inform the conversations that are happening at dinner tables, in boardrooms, and schools around the country. GLAAD also reaffirmed its commitment to combatting the misinformation and hateful rhetoric that anti-LGBT activists like the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins put forth through the media.
"The enemies of the LGBT community have gotten louder and more desperate," said Cruz. "As we move into a media cycle that will include decisions around marriage equality from the Supreme Court and on inclusion from the Boy Scouts of America, our community needs GLAAD to work overtime on fair and accurate media coverage."
Melissa Harris-Perry received a GLAAD Media Award this year in the Outstanding TV Journalism – Newsmagazine category, for a segment entitled "Being Transgender in America."
"I was happy to hear GLAAD has committed to prioritize trans issues," actress and transgender advocate Laverne Cox told NBCNews.com.
GLAAD is currently working the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund as well as the family of 6 year-old Coy Mathis, who was told she would not be permitted to use the girl's restroom in school. GLAAD has been securing media attention for the Mathis family and prompted tens of thousands to sign a Change.org petition in support of Coy at http://glaad.org/coymathis
"I'd like to see other kids able to be themselves because they know there's a community that supports them," said Jazz, a 12-year-old whose fight to be allowed to play soccer on a girls' soccer team in a local youth-recreation league led the United States Soccer Federation adopting a trans inclusive policy in 2012.
With the change, GLAAD's formal name now more accurately reflects the work that has been the organization's focus for many years. Whether out in front of an issue or incident, or working behind the scenes to inform and empower media and communitiy members, GLAAD's "alliance" is now a much bigger tent than it was in 1985, and it is ever-growing.