At the 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York this past weekend, GLAAD President Herndon Graddick spoke about the evolving mission of the organization, and the importance of the transgender community in his vision for the future of equality. During his opening speech, Graddick was joined onstage by transgender model and advocate Lauren Foster, as well as film director and GLAAD Ally Award recipient Brett Rattner.
"If I could get five things done as the head of GLAAD, one of those would be make life better for transgender people across the country," said Graddick. "And I don't think we've done enough. And so, that's why I'm getting up here to say that, the new GLAAD is making transgender equality a priority, and a priority in a way that it's never been before."
Later in his speech, Graddick invited two transgender young people, Jazz and Coy, to join him on the stage with their families. "Jazz fought tirelessly to be treated like any other girl," Graddick said. "And 12-year-old Jazz, by owning her own power, is winning."
Speaking about the story of 6-year-old Coy Mathis, who was denied access to the girl's bathroom at her school, Graddick added, "Thanks to GLAAD, Coy's story has been seen on the Katie Couric Show and CNN, and tens of thousands have already signed a Change.org petition, demanding her school take her out of harm's way and do the right thing." He then urged those attending the show to sign the petition and support Coy.
GLAAD works on a daily basis toward equality for transgender people by bringing stories like Coy's to wider attention, and helping to change hearts and minds. Recently, GLAAD worked with transgender MMA fighter Fallon Fox and informed the media of rules regarding transgender people in sports. After the New York Post refused to discuss its history of anti-trans coverage, GLAAD refused the newspaper's request for a press pass to the GLAAD Media Awards.
In addition to Lauren Foster, Jazz, and Coy, several transgender advocates attended the GLAAD Media Awards in New York, including actress Laverne Cox, spoken word poet Kit Yan, performer Carmen Carrera, and author and GLAAD board member Jennifer Finney Boylan.
The Annual GLAAD Media Awards series will continue in Los Angeles on April 20, 2013, and later in San Francisco on May 11, 2013. For a complete list of nominees, special guests and ticket information, click here.
The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the LGBT community and the issues that affect their lives.
The 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards were presented nationally by Ketel One and Wells Fargo, and presented locally in New York by Delta Air Lines.
Learn more about how you can support Coy and her family: www.glaad.org/coymathis