San Francisco Leadership Council Provides Voice for Local Community

San Francisco Leadership Council Provides Voice for Local Community

Over the past few years, GLAAD has worked to institute a policy of thinking globally, but acting locally. Through the eight GLAAD Leadership Councils in Boston, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, South Florida and San Francisco, GLAAD is able to expand our work within the local community. Leadership Councils play an important role relaying local stories to GLAAD which, in turn, are amplified on a national level.

The City of San Francisco is known as a accepting and embracing home for the LGBT community. When other places around the country instituted policies of discrimination and hate, San Francisco offered LGBT people a safe harbor where they could express themselves freely. It is a place that brought the country the election of Harvey Milk as the first openly gay elected official and still today, the passion for LBGT equality is a front and center priority that grows with each new generation of activists.

As a community, San Francisco has always valued the importance of acting locally. It is in that spirit that the GLAAD San Francisco Leadership Council works to build a strong coalition of community members in telling our stories, holding local media accountable for the words and images they present, and helping local organizations to communicate effectively. The council hosts numerous events to engage supporters in GLAAD’s work and participates in community activities like the LGBT film festival and Pride celebration. It is only through the support of the local community that GLAAD is able to reach out to millions of Americans to say that words and images matter.

According to longtime San Francisco Leadership Council Co-Chair John Marez, “ our goal in San Francisco is to implement our 5 year strategic plan as outlined on our website as follows: to optimize growth and assure we meet the full potential of our media advocacy and anti-defamation mission as our cultural change influence expands.  “As Leadership Council members, it is our job to make sure that these goals are being met on a local level and to bridge all LGBT communities on GLAAD’s work in a more strategic way.” Over the years, John has witnessed the increase in power and influence held by the LGBT community in San Francisco. John became involved with GLAAD because “I believe that the media in all forms is the most powerful tool to reach everyday Americans to change hearts and minds on LGBT cultural issues and full equality. I am extremely proud to be associated with the work that GLAAD does as educators and defenders of defamation of the LGBT community. Through GLAAD’s messaging I have learned that it is up to every single person to take charge and make sure that our lives as LGBT citizens are portrayed as fairly, accurately and inclusively as possible. Defamation of any form is unacceptable. It is through the passion and efforts of people and organizations like John and the San Francisco Leadership Council that local voices are heard.

If you would like more information about getting involved with the San Francisco Leadership Council or another existing Council or want to know where the next Leadership Council will be forming please contact GLAAD Senior Director, Juan Barajas by email at