GLAAD Global Voices stories from 2014

More than ever, LGBT advocacy took on an international flavor in 2014. Take a look at some of the biggest LGBT stories from 2014.


Tensions were already high in the months leading up to the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. Russia's anti-propaganda law had already led to calls to boycott or move the games, which were not heeded.

GLAAD's work was to make sure that the media frenzy in Sochi was fairly and accurately reporting on the climate in Russia while the Olympics Games were being held.  GLAAD released the GLAAD Global Voices Olympic Playbook to provide background, list pitfalls to avoid, and recommend spokespeople and organizations to speak to while reporting on the LGBT situation in Russia.

Additionally, GLAAD awarded the GLAAD Gold to media outlets, newsmakers, LGBT advocates, and those who raise awareness of LGBT people in Russia and around the world. Winners of the GLAAD Gold included NBC Olympic anchor Bob Costas and his guest Vladimir Pozner, a Russian-American journalist; ABC World News Tonight for a segment talked to LGBT Russians, as well as those who target and attack them; and Russian LGBT advocate Anastasia Smirnova, for her protests and detention that occurred during the Olympic Games.

After the Olympics, the Russian Open Games, an LGBT-inclusive sports festival, kicked off right after the closing of the Olympic Games in Sochi. American diver Greg Louganis attended, but the events, including the opening, were marred by bomb threats, smoke bombs, and the refusal of venues to honor their contracts.

At the 25th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles, actress and entertainment correspondent, Maria Menounos presented GLAAD's inaugural International Advocate for Change Award to Manny de Guerre, director of the Side by Side LGBT Film Festival in St. Petersburg. And later that year, the film, Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine, won the audience award at the Film Festival. Filmmakers Michele Josue traveled to Russia with Matthew's parents, Dennis and Judy Shepard. They spoke to the gathered crowd at the screening and met with Russian parents of LGBT children in Moscow. GLAAD helped to prepare the Shepards and film makers for the travel, connected them with media outlets, and shared images from the trip.

GLAAD's partnerships also included sharing photos and stories from the QueerFest in St. Petersburg, Russia. Despite last-minute venue cancellations and harassment by anti-LGBT activists, QueerFest was able to open on time. GLAAD shared reporting and photos from festival organizers, which was subsequently covered in outlets including The Advocate, Towleroad, and Joy My God.



After passing the long-threatened anti-LGBT legislation (sometimes called the "kill the gays" bill, although the final version excluded the death penalty), Uganda found itself under incredible international scrutiny, particularly from countries that provide aid. The new bill could sentence a gay person to up to life in prison and punishes those who do not "inform" on LGBT people in their surroundings.

Later in the year, Uganda's high court dismissed the law on a technicality, stating that there wasn't a quorum to pass the law. Anti-LGBT lawmakers in Uganda are already crafting an even stronger law. When Ugandan LGBT advocate, Clare Byarugaba, spoke to "GLAAD: All Access," she discussed her advocacy organization, The Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law, and talked about her personal experience being treated poorly by doctors, her family, and her community as an openly queer advocate. The interview brings a humanistic view to the violence and oppression for LGBT Ugandans as GLAAD continues to work with advocates internationally.


World Cup fans to help #StoptheSlurs

Anti-LGBT slurs are sadly very common still in FIFA stadiums around the world. Some soccer teams, in England for example, have started campaigns to call attention to the problem, but much more needs to be done. GLAAD launched a multifaceted #StoptheSlurs campaign for the 2014 World Cup in Rio.

GLAAD's Spanish-Language Media Team helmed creation of two public service announcements, in both English and Spanish, that call for World Cup fans to help #StoptheSlurs. The PSAs star GLAAD's National Spokesperson Wilson Cruz (Red Band Society) and Laura Patalano (Mosquita y Mári) and were directed by Patricia Ovando (Ojos Que No Ven), who is the partner of Spanish-Language Media Strategist Janet Quezada. The PSAs were part of a larger campaign to call attention to anti-LGBT attitudes in soccer.

GLAAD created a World Cup Playbook, which was sent to media nationally and internationally, as well as advocates in Latin America, to ensure LGBT inclusion in the World Cup coverage. Along with the guide, GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis released an open letter to FIFA, the international organization responsible for the World Cup, calling on the organization to do more to educate fans about the power of anti-LGBT attitudes. GLAAD also released #StoptheSlurs graphics in English and Spanish. You can see more at


UN makes Spirit Day history

United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, went purple for Spirit Day, along with High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid. The men shared their support via Twitter and showed off their purple ties. It was the first time that the United Nations officials participated in the campaign. The Secretary General also spoke about Spirit Day during a press briefing and made a point to show off his purple socks. In his remarks, he also took the time to highlight the UN's Free and Equal campaign.

Australian couples get anniversary wishes for #5DaysOfEquality

GLAAD launched #5DaysOfEquality to celebrate the one year anniversary of 31 Australian couples who were married during December 7-12, 2013. Their marriages were later nullified by the Australian government. GLAAD is asking people to post on social media using the hashtag #5DaysOfEquality.

The messages were transcribed into paper cards and delivered to the couples at an amazing card party.

"For the 31 couples in Australia whose marriages were robbed from them, we want them to know that there are many people across the globe who recognize and celebrate their love and commitment," said GLAAD CEO and President, Sarah Kate Ellis.