GLAAD launches new "Southern Stories" program at GLAAD Atlanta

Tonight, GLAAD launched "Southern Stories," a new program that aims to build support for equality in the American South. The launch was announced at GLAAD Atlanta, a celebration of national and local leaders advancing LGBT equality through the media.

The event, which raises critical funds in support of GLAAD’s year-round work to rewrite the script for LGBT equality, featured a special surprise appearance by football player Michael Sam. GLAAD Southern Stories will elevate the experiences of LGBT people in six of the nation's southern states. The initiative amplifies stories of LGBT people thriving in the South, ongoing discrimination, as well as the everyday indignities endured by LGBT people who simply wish to live the lives they love, including:

Stories of Family

  • Real life stories of LGBT families in the South
  • Youth who are being forced out of their homes by unaccepting parents
  • LGBT parents who are treated differently than their straight peers
  • Parents and grandparents of LGBT people who fear for their loved one’s safety and acceptance

Stories of Faith

  • People who are being shunned from their places of worship
  • LGBT ministers who are building inclusive communities

Stories of Sports

  • LGBT athletes who don’t have the same chances on the field because they worry about how they are treated in the locker room
  • Allied athletes who are speaking out for the LGBT community

Stories of Patriotism

  • Military personnel who aren’t treated equally in the country they protect

In 2015, GLAAD will release resources geared towards each of the six included states, promoting best practices for media professionals to accurately and effectively cover LGBT related topics.

"Nothing builds acceptance and understanding like the power of storytelling,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “As legal advances for equality continue to sweep the nation, it’s now more important than ever that we redouble our efforts to move hearts and minds. GLAAD Southern Stories will help reshape the narrative about equality in the American South, where LGBT people and families are an integral part of the cultural fabric.”

GLAAD Southern Stories will complement statewide and on-the-ground advocates' ongoing initiatives; mobilize LGBT individuals and their allies to share their stories with the media; interact with local media outlets; and amplify stories of family, faith, communities of color, sports, and military personnel.

For more information about GLAAD Southern Stories, visit