GLAAD @ Work: Southern Stories, Tavi Gevinson talks feminism, Eastern European advocacy, & more

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"Southern Stories" strengthens LGBT equality in the American South


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 raised 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. Paul Horning, Atlanta-area LGBT advocate, received the GLAAD Champion Award at the event. The GLAAD Champion Award is presented to an LGBT advocate in the community, who has increased the visibility and understanding of the LGBT community. Additional featured advocates included anti-bullying advocates David and Tina Long, transgender student trailblazer Sage Lovell, employment non-discrimination advocate Brian Martin, and LGBT homeless youth advocate Daniel Pierce. GLAAD Southern Stories elevates the experiences of LGBT people in six of the nation's southern states by working with statewide and on-the-ground advocates. 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. Read more here.

Tim Cook comes out and Sarah Kate Ellis pens Time Magazine op-ed
After Apple CEO Tim Cook came out publicly as gay, GLAAD CEO & President Sarah Kate Ellis penned an op-ed for TIME on the significance of the announcement. Additionally, Sarah Kate appeared on NPR, CNBC, CNN International, and BBC to comment when Apple CEO Tim Cook became arguably the world's most visible, openly gay CEO after he penned a "coming out" op-ed last week. Ellis wrote, "To those who think that we might be past the point of caring about another coming out story, think again. At a time when LGBT people can still be fired in a majority of states simply for being who they are, not to mention the staggering rates of discrimination and violence that inflict the community, we still have a lot to learn from hearing the stories of LGBT people," and further explained the economic, international, and profound impact Cook's statement has. Ellis was also quoted on the subject by NBC News, USA Today, and Mashable, among other outlets.

Mother of trans daughter has story told on popular morning show
GLAAD's Spanish-Language Media team helped prepare Ofelia Barba, mother of trans daughter Zoe, for an interview for "Un Nuevo Día" on Telemundo, Telemundo's Spanish-Language morning show. Barba spoke about what it's like to have a trans daughter and why it's important to support her. The team also worked with the segment producers to ensure the terminology and other aspects of the story were correct. Telemundo reaches over 100 countries in thirty-five languages.

Eastern European advocates come together for equality
GLAAD's Director of Spanish-Language Media, Monica Trasandes, addressed a group of advocates from Eastern Europe through a program organized by Global Jewish Advocacy. Los Angeles Leadership Council member Cole Ettman has invited GLAAD to participate for many years. Among those present were community leaders from countries including Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan. Trasandes presentation helped strength GLAAD's global work to achieve LGBT equality internationally.

North Carolina couple shares moving story of how they can now be legal parents to their son
GLAAD's Video and News Strategist, Claire Pires, exclusively interviewed North Carolina couple, Tina Weaver and Briana Plautz-Weaver, about what it feels like now that they can both be legal parents to their son now that North Carolina has marriage equality. The phone interview, for GLAAD's Southern Stories initiative, brought a personal story to what else affects a same-sex family when marriage equality becomes legal, and the interview shed a light on what it's like to identify as LGBT in North Carolina. Read more here.

Russian LGBT couple highlighted in BBC segment
The BBC aired a segment about the influence of pro-LGBT American television in countries with anti-LGBT laws. In addition to speaking to GLAAD's Director of Annual Giving, Omar Sharif Jr, the segment also spoke with LGBT Russians Oleg Duaev and Dmitriy Stepanov about what programs would appear in Russia. The segment brought a humanistic approach to the struggles LGBT people face in Russia. Read more here.

Tavi Gevinson on feminism, LGBT storylines, and inclusive readership
GLAAD's Video and News Strategist, Claire Pires, interviewed Tavi Gevinson, editor-in-chief of popular teenage website Rookie Magazine, for the fourth episode of GLAAD's video series, "GLAAD: All Access," which features interviews with newsmakers, hit-makers, and people making a difference for LGBT equality. Pires and Gevinson discussed the importance of incorporating LGBT stories into Gevinson's new book, Rookie Yearbook Three, feminism, and how she wants to move away from the magazine's current tagline, "a magazine for teenage girls," in the interest of inclusion. The interview shed light on how young readers are learning about LGBT people and what changes need to be made. Gevinson, who has over 270,000 Twitter followers, is among the most visible teen moguls today. The interview helped emphasize the importance of a young audience reading about LGBT people every day and intersecting feminism with LGBT issues to highlight the problem areas for this budding generation. The interview was picked up by The Huffington Post and more. Watch the interview here.

Mother writes op-ed addressing silence in her church for her gay son
In conjunction with the launch of Southern Stories, GLAAD worked with Ada Demlow, a former Georgia mom of a gay son (now in Boise) to write, edit, and place a personal essay and op-ed in the religion site Red Letter Christians. Ada talked about how the silence surrounding LGBT people in her family and in her church needs to end. Demlow's op-ed brought a personal story to the juxtaposition of religion and LGBT issues. Read more here.

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