GLAAD Media Institute alumni shine a spotlight on sports, sex, gender, suicide prevention, and discrimination in the classroom

The GLAAD Media Institute has trained nearly 7500 advocates and activists around the globe to equip them with GLAAD’s tried-and-true tools to accelerate acceptance through the media. As the GLAAD Media Institute has traveled far and wide to work with advocates on the ground, alumni have been able to find success in sharing their stories in a variety of fields. In communities around the country and world, GLAAD Media Institute alumni are prominent voices for acceptance and visibility for the LGBTQ community. Here are just a few GLAAD Media Institute alumni from this past month who have addressed the lack of visibility and have taken the initiative to become role models and examples for the youth of today.


Amazin LêThị

Amazin LêThị is a GLAAD Media Institute alumni from Atlanta. She is also a Vietnamese bodybuilder, an Athlete Ally ambassador, and a voice for accelerating acceptance. She has been quite active this past month in various media outlets advocating for LGBTQ inclusion in athletics. In the above video with the It Gets Better Project, Amazin shares her story about her youth and how she began her advocacy work. Because she never had exposure to an Asian and LGBTQ role model as a child, she hopes to act as that role model for children today through her advocacy work. In late January, she appeared at the Atlanta Women in Sports Conference and spoke on the LGBTQ Inclusion Sports Panel. Highlighted in the LGBTQ sports magazine Compete, she discussed the intersection of Asian, LGBTQ, and female identities, and that the problems that this group may face in the athletic world, at the intersection of racism, homophobia, and misogyny. Recently, she has also appeared on the BBC's LGBT Sport Podcast. For more information on her advocacy work, the Amazin LêThị Foundation website can be found here.


Emily Quinn

Emily Quinn, an intersex advocate, did a TED Talk on her own experience as well as the struggles that the intersex community faces. She describes the variety of sex organs that intersex people may have, and how forcing all newborns into the strict binary "male" or "female" completely erases intersex people. Emily discusses that many do not find out about their conditions until much later in life. When they do, doctors will often lie to them and forcibly push to "fix" their genitals to conform to the binary expectations, based on faulty beliefs that are uninformed about intersex conditions. Despite her own doctors' constant pressure, Emily resisted their demands for harmful surgeries. However, she also describes how the vast majority of intersex people are not so lucky, and have been forced to undergo surgeries that cause both physical and emotional harm. To advocate for the rights of intersex people, Emily has created a genderless puberty guidebook that is inclusive of all body types, rather than just "male" and "female." For more of Emily's work, check out her website as well as her YouTube channel.


Miranda Rosenblum

    Photo Credit: Miranda Rosenblum

Miranda Rosenblum, a former intern with GLAAD, wrote an opinion piece in USA Today about the necessity of visibility for transgender youth. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that about 2 percent of high schoolers in the USA are transgender, and that a staggering 35 percent of them have attempted suicide. These new statistics prompted Miranda, a non-binary trans person themself, to write this piece on trans youth and their struggles. Indeed, their work with the Trevor Project, as well as their own personal experience of invisibility and isolation in their youth, gives them an acute awareness of the issues that trans youth face. In order to push new policies that remedy these issues, Miranda argues that more studies and statistics are necessary since the current state of data on the transgender population is still lacking.

Chris Woodley

     Photo Credit: Next Lesson

Chris Woodley wrote an article for Metro where he shares his experience of homophobia and bullying in his all-boys secondary school, and how this pushed him to return as a teacher to bring about change and acceptance. Chris describes how there were very few LGBTQ role models in media, and that in school, education on sexuality was entirely nonexistent due to a homophobic law during his schooling. Chris was left isolated and unaware of his identity, all the while enduring bullying from his peers. But in 2005, he returned to this school as the first openly gay teacher, and despite initial problems with homophobic students, he soon noticed the difference he was making. More students were coming out as gay, but sexual education at the school remained completely inadequate in addressing non-heterosexual relationships. Thus, as a playwright, Chris created the play Next Lesson, modeled on his own experience, to depict romance and love in relationships of LGBTQ youth.


These four advocates are just a few of the GLAAD Media Institute's remarkable alumni.The GLAAD Media Institute has trained nearly 7500 advocates and activists across the globe, and we are only moving forward from here. If you are interested in learning tried-and-true skills from the GLAAD Media Institute, you can learn more about our courses and register here.