18 photos give a fun look behind the scenes at GLAAD's #SouthernStories Summer Tour

GLAAD embarked on the Southern Stories Summer Tour on June 12th, traveling through Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, South Carolina and Georgia. We met with LGBT advocates and allies on the ground in each state, and even premiered two mini-documentaries about being LGBT in South Carolina and Georgia. Check out some photos from the tour below!

GLAAD boarded a bus in Nashville after the Concert for Love and Accceptance, the first-ever LGBT inclusive concert during CMA Fest.

GLAAD partnered with Birmingham AIDS Outreach on its annual Smith Lake Poker Run. On Saturday June 13, guests set off in their pontoons, ski boats, and jet skis to various checkpoints around the lake and drew one poker card at each destination. Thanks to the generosity of Sally Ringo and Michele Tanner (pictured here), this year GLAAD helped operate one of those checkpoints. 

GLAAD's Zeke Stokes and YouTuber Raymond Braun hard at work on the bus while traveling between states. Check out Raymond's video from the tour here.

In Birmingham, GLAAD's President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis and other members of the staff met with local advocates and allies working to accelerate acceptance in Alabama. 


In Jackson, Mississippi, GLAAD hosted a screening of L Word Mississippi: Hate the Sin,  the documentary that garnered the Outstanding Documentary GLAAD Media Award this year. Following the screening, GLAAD led a panel discussion featuring the subjects from the documentary.

GLAAD joined St. Alexis Episcopal Church on Sunday morning as a part of the GLAAD Southern Stories Summer Tour. In addition to GLAAD's President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis bringing a greeting to the congregation, GLAAD's Director of Programs, Ross Murray, delivered the sermon to the congregation. Watch it here.

GLAAD's President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis, along with Vice President of Programs Zeke Stokes, joined LGBT service members and their families for dinner to hear firsthand their stories of service, sacrifice, and patriotism.

GLAAD stopped on Monday June 15 in Charleston, South Carolina to screen "GLAAD Presents: State of Change – South Carolina," a short documentary profiling the experiences of LGBT advocates and their allies in South Carolina.

On Tuesday June 16, GLAAD screened the documentary at the Nickelodeon Theater in downtown Columbia to a sold-out crowd followed by a panel discussion and reception.

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis talked about accelerating acceptance with the media while on the Southern Stories Summer Tour. Here, she is pictured appearing live on WIS-TV in Columbia, SC, with anchor Judi Gatson.

GLAAD President and CEO dined with LGBT advocates in Columbia, S.C., including Crystal Moore (pictured at left), the openly gay police chief of Latta, S.C. 


In Atlanta, GLAAD hosted a screening and panel of the documentary "GLAAD: Presents: State of Change -- Georgia" at Turner Broadcasting.

GLAAD hosted a screening and panel discussion of "Blackbird," a film about a young African American singer who struggles to be accepted for being gay in his Southern Baptist community. The panel was hosted by Danielle Moodie-Mills of Politini Media and featured "Blackbird" director Patrik-Ian Polk, the film's star Julian Walker, and television star Lawrence Washington. aka Miss Lawrence. 

On the final day of the tour, GLAAD held a youth & family event at Lost-n-Found Youth, a homeless LGBT youth center in Atlanta.

To find out more about GLAAD's Southern Stories Summer Tour and see the schedule, visit glaad.org/summertour.

GLAAD's Southern Stories Summer Tour was produced with support from Major Partner, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, and Official Partner, Honey Maid.