GLAAD @ Work: Indiana, Georgia, President Obama in Jamaica, and more

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Banana Republic, Honey Maid, NASCAR, and others let LGBT people in Indiana know they've #GotYourBack

After Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed the so-called "Religious Freedom Restoration Act," a law that allows Indiana businesses to refuse service to people simply for being LGBT, people nationwide spoke out against the discriminatory law. Many allies used GLAAD's #GotYourBack campaign, which empowers LGBT people and allies to voice their support for acceptance. Andi Owen, Global President of Banana Republic, wrote an email to all global employees encouraging them to take a stand for acceptance as part of GLAAD's #GotYourBack campaign. "Please join me in taking a stand. Let’s shout out that intolerance is not okay by supporting GLAAD’s #GotYourBack campaign," Owen wrote. Owen's email generated a number of photos of Banana Republic staff, some in Indiana, holding #GotYourBack signs to voice their support. Banana Republic also tweeted their support for acceptance, with a photo of GLAAD's hashtag #GotYourBack, in addition to writing a post on their blog, and along with Levi Strauss & Co., encouraged other retail and apparel companies to join them in speaking out against the new law. Honey Maid, NASCAR, and several others voiced their opposition to the law. GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis appeared on CNN and MSNBC's Now with Alex Wagner to discuss the bills' harmful implications. Along with the Reverend Al Sharpton featuring GLAAD's work on MSNBC's Politics Nation, and citing GLAAD as a leader in advocating for equality,  The Advocate, The Huffington Post, Towleroad, Gay Star News, LGBT Weekly, San Diego Gay & Lesbian News, Frontiers Media, Box Turtle Bulletin, and Politic 365 shared an infographic based on GLAAD's Commentator Accountability Project, revealing the anti-LGBT histories of the bill's supporters. The Wisconsin Gazette and Indy Star joined these outlets in noting that GLAAD was part of the Equality Coalition urging Indiana to fix the new law. Read more here.

Momastery tells LGBT people why she's #GotYourBack in a powerful post on her website
In the blogosphere, Glennon Doyle Melton shared with her readers, in a powerful post on her site Momastery, about why she, as a person of faith, supports LGBT acceptance. She wrote, "I support equal rights for my gay neighbors not even though I’m a Christian, but BECAUSE I’m a Christian." Despite push back, Melton also participated in GLAAD's #GotYourBack campaign by posting a photo to social media. Read more here.

Georgia's own "license to discriminate" bill dies at the end of the legislative session
After outcry over Indiana and Arkansas' "license to discriminate" laws, Georgia let their own version of the law die in the state legislature. Several celebrities spoke out, including Eddie Izzard, Cynthia Watros, and Elton John, who wrote an op-ed in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Additionally corporations publicly opposed the law. Entertainment and information data giant, Nielsen gave an exclusive statement to GLAAD, "We oppose discrimination on grounds including religion, race, gender, age, disability, and sexual orientation. Diversity makes our company and our business stronger and we will continue our longstanding efforts to recruit and retain a workforce that is reflective of the communities where we live and serve.” Read more here.

GLAAD talks to Spanish-language viewers about harmful Indiana law
GLAAD's Director of Spanish-Language Media Monica Trasandes and Strategist Janet Quezada were interviewed for a segment that aired on the Spanish-language network MundoFox about the "license to discriminate" laws in Indiana and Arkansas. The segment appeared on the nightly news program, "Noticias MundoFox" hosted by Rolando Nichols. GLAAD's Spanish Language Media team also appeared on "Realidades en Contexto" on CNN en Español and on the popular northern California radio show "Hecho en California con Marcos Gutierrez to discuss the law.

GLAAD continues to shine light on outdated Boy Scouts of America policies
In the midst of the national conversation about anti-LGBT exclusionary policies, the Boy Scouts of America's (BSA) Greater New York Councils made history by hiring an openly gay adult, with whom GLAAD has worked closely since 2013. This defies the national organization's lingering ban on openly LGBT adult leaders. Yahoo! News spoke with GLAAD's Director of Communications Seth Adam. "I think it’s another significant step forward for full equality in the Boy Scouts of America. It’s one of the last cultural institutions that continues to discriminate against gay and lesbian people in this country," he said. Connecting it to Indiana's RFRA, Adam added, "Discrimination will not be tolerated in any institution any longer, and the Boy Scouts need to catch up."

Millennial generation supports LGBT people, mostly seen on television
GLAAD's Director of Entertainment Media Matt Kane was interviewed by The International Business Times about how the media reflects the millenial generation's accepting attitude toward LGBT people. Kane discussed how the shift in LGBT representation on television over the past 10 years has made LGBT youth feel safer to come out, while Hollywood film still lags farther behind. Read more here.

Nick Adams speaks to national & local audiences on representing trans community in the media
GLAAD's Director of Communications & Special Projects Nick Adams was interviewed by Entertainment Weekly in its article, "Trans stories find a home on reality TV following "Orange is the New Black," "Transparent" Success." The journalist writes, "No one is more aware of the trans trend than GLAAD…which is working with the new reality shows to provide an accurate portrayal of transgender people, who number 700,000 in the U.S., according to UCLA’s Williams Institute. But GLAAD says its job is far from finished." The article goes on to quote Adams, “While it seems like there’s an explosion of new shows, we are still very much invisible in scripted shows on broadcast TV…the vast majority of portrayals on broadcast TV can be categorized as straight-up defamatory or inaccurate." Read more here.

Matt Kane serves as featured panelist at WonderCon
At the annual WonderCon convention on Sunday, GLAAD's Director of Entertainment Media Matt Kane was a featured speaker on a panel discussion on LGBT representation in animation, alongside Emily Quinn from Inter/ACT and Diane Anderson-Minshal from The Advocate. The panel was organized by the LGBT comic creators group, Prism, and covered topics ranging from The Simpsons to Japanese Anime, as well as censorship and the importance of diverse LGBT representations in media.

GLAAD works with "Revenge" star to support marriage equality
As the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments later this month in cases from four states, GLAAD worked with LGBT ally and star of "Revenge," Nick Wechsler, to take an ad out in the April issue of Esquire in support of marriage equality. The ad reads, "We met in 1976. Had our son in 1986. Paid off the mortgage (finally) in 2004. But still can't legally marry in 2015." The ad features a photo of a couple holding hands. In 13 states, loving couples who have built a life together are still waiting on legal protections in the state they call home.

GLAAD calls on President Obama and media to address LGBT safety in Jamaica
GLAAD joined twenty LGBT and human rights organizations in urging President Obama to address the persecution of LGBT people in Jamaica during his upcoming visit to the country. As part of GLAAD's Global Voices campaign, GLAAD's Director of Programs Ross Murray is also contacting media to inform them about the anti-LGBT laws and attitudes in Jamaica, and to make sure they ask questions and share the stories of LGBT people living in Jamaica during the president's visit. GLAAD is sharing a handy one-page document from Human Rights First with background on LGBT issues in Jamaica. Read more here.

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