GLAAD @ Work: Trans Awareness Week, Ty Herndon comes out, Matthew Shepard's parents head to Russia, and more

Wonder what we're up to at GLAAD? Be sure to check out GLAAD's Newsroom each week for updates about our latest work to build support for LGBT equality through news, entertainment and online media.

GLAAD's advocacy with Ty Herndon

Country singer Ty Herndon made leading entertainment news headlines when he came out as gay this week in People, with GLAAD's help. GLAAD President & CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis, released a statement that was picked up by Billboard, The Advocate, and PinkNews. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, which was picked up by Billboard, Ty spoke about working with GLAAD when he said, "I also have hopes of starting this coalition and getting some LGBT centers opened in Nashville, because there aren't any, and joining forces with GLAAD and GLSEN and organizations I'm already working with to make a positive presence in Nashville. So this has very little to do with me and my career but a lot to do with the work that has to be done in the future. And I really have high hopes that Nashville is ready for that." GLAAD's work with Ty further unites the country music and LGBT communities. Read more here.

GLAAD assesses media representation of trans community
In recognition of Trans Awareness week, GLAAD's entertainment team released the third edition of their annual report examining transgender representation on television, and also created a timeline to examine nearly four decades of important milestones in trans representation in film and television. GLAAD's Trans Images report and interactive timeline were picked up by numerous outlets including, Xfinity, Yahoo! Canada, Huffington Post Gay Voices (whose post was syndicated widely), and New Now Next. Xfinity also made the report the cover story for their homepage carousel in honor of Trans Day of Remembrance. GLAAD's report and timeline showed how trans representation has grown in the last 30 years and how the landscape is changing for trans people in television. Read more here.           

Matthew Shepard's parents connect with GLAAD before heading to Russia
Dennis and Judy Shepard have gone to St. Petersburg to screen Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine and to meet with parents of LGBT children in Moscow. The film was screened at the Side-by-Side LGBT International Film Festival, which is thriving despite Russia's anti-LGBT laws. The festival seeks to establish a supportive environment where LGBT people are able to affirm and extend their identities. Last year, GLAAD worked with the festival to bring Dustin Lance Black, Bruce Cohen, and Gus Van Sant and their film, MILK, to the festival. GLAAD also honored Side by Side director, Manny de Guerre, with the International Advocate for Change Award at the GLAAD Media Awareds in Los Angeles. With GLAAD's help, the Shepards' international advocacy in Russia was written up by the Associated Press, shared by ABC News, Towleroad, Queerty, and PinkNews. GLAAD's Video & News Strategist, Claire Pires, interviewed the Shepards and film makers, Michele Josue and Liam McNiff, about the film and their approach to how they'll confront the anti-LGBT attitudes in Russia. Watch the interview here.

Networks focus on transgender presence in entertainment
Last week, GLAAD's Director of Communications & Special Projects, Nick Adams, and GLAAD's Director of Entertainment & Sports Media, Matt Kane, met with a dozen senior executives at the E! network and with NBCUniversal's Chief Diversity Officer for a discussion about fair, accurate, and inclusive media representations of transgender people in entertainment. GLAAD presented a brief history of transgender people who have appeared in scripted and reality television, outlined best practices for telling transgender stories, and encouraged the network to find ways to incorporate transgender people into their current and upcoming programming. GLAAD previously conducted similar trainings on trans issues for Bravo, Oxygen, and MSNBC.  Research shows that 90% of Americans personally know someone who is gay, lesbian or bisexual, but only 8% personally know someone who is transgender. This means that most Americans can weigh firsthand knowledge when considering defamatory or insensitive media coverage of the LGB community, but the vast majority of Americans have no personal connection to someone who is transgender, so they rely solely on the media for information.

GLAAD amplifies trans women of color's voices
In honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), GLAAD's Senior Strategist, Tiq Milan, and GLAAD's Video & News Strategist, Claire Pires, created an original video featuring three trans women of color talking about their experiences with violence and the ongoing epidemic of anti-trans violence. The Advocate, Out, Bustle, SheWired, Joe.My.God., and Elixher shared the video. The video garnered over 3,000 views in one day and currently has over 7,000 views. The video informed viewers about violence that trans women of color endure and the importance of Trans Day of Remembrance. Watch the video here.

GLAAD teaches intersection between LGBT issues, religion, and ethnicity
The Daily Trojan, the University of Southern California's student newspaper, quoted Monica Trasandes, Director of Spanish-Language and Latino Media, who spoke about the media's portrayal of LGBT equality in Latin America during "Out Abroad: LGBT, Public Diplomacy and Global Rights," an on-campus event. "Whenever I speak to people who insist to me their faith really tells them homosexuality is a sin, I just tell them that I know lots of people who are devoutly Catholic who do not see faith and supporting homosexuality as an either-or situation," said Monica.

GLAAD discusses immigration with a lesbian Peruvian immigrant woman
GLAAD's Video & News Strategist, Claire Pires, released two interviews (one in Spanish and one in English) with Yenny, a young woman who is a lesbian and Peruvian immigrant, as part of GLAAD's video series, "GLAAD: All Access." The video; in which Yenny describes her experiences going from being undocumented to gaining citizenship, the intersections of her Peruvian and lesbian identity, and her family members who are undocumented; was picked up by Huffington Post Voces and The Advocate, which spotlighted the video as a featured story all weekend long. The video came about because of GLAAD's work with United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation that advocates for the dignity of immigrant families, regardless of immigration status. The video provided a unique perspective of immigration from someone within the LGBT community who has various U.S. residence statuses in her family. Watch the interview here.

GLAAD is recognized for work on transgender-related healthcare
GLAAD's Design & Mutlimedia Manager Chris Carlon, Senior Strategist Dani Heffernan, and Senior Strategist Tiq Milan were honored by the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) at its Attorneys and Advocates Awards for work on an ongoing campaign about access to transgender-related healthcare. Specifically, GLAAD worked with SRLP to create shareable resources and graphics, and to bring media attention to New York's ban on Medicaid coverage for trans people's healthcare.

Bringing attention to violence towards transgender community for Trans Day of Remembrance
GLAAD's Senior Strategist, Tiq Milan, spoke at services and advocacy at LGBT elders (SAGE), Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC), and Rutger's University for Trans Day of Remembrance in conclusion of Trans Awareness Week. He also organized and moderated the Google Hangout co-presented by GLAAD and the Trevor Project that featured four trans advocates all with diverse backgrounds. GLAAD's Senior Strategist, Dani Heffernan, shared resources about Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) with MTV and Logo TV with which the two networks created graphics for social media and interstitials to run on-air. MTV News and Logo TV's New Now Next sites also published editorial coverage of TDOR with links to GLAAD's TDOR page. Spreading the word about Transgender Awareness Week and the plights that the transgender community faces raises the visibility of the community and addresses those issues.

Larry King hears about anti-transgender discrimination and violence
GLAAD's Director of Communications & Special Projects, Nick Adams, and one of GLAAD's transgender staffers, was a guest on "Larry King Now," along with rock star Laura Jane Grace, and actor Alex Newell who plays trans teen, Unique, on Fox's "Glee." The conversation ranged from the discrimination and violence faced by trans people to the importance of media images in educating the public about transgender lives. The conversation allowed various experiences within the trans community to be heard on an internationally recognized program. 

Children's book complete with lesbian mothers and transgender prince                           
GLAAD's Director of Spanish Language & Latino Media, Monica Trasandes, and Strategist, Janet Quezada, met with Flor Bermudez, whose daughter Angela wrote a book "Tell Your Story, Tell A Dream Birthday Cake." The book's protagonists are an adopted princess from Sierra Leone, a princess who is a daughter of a single mother by choice, a princess whose lesbian mothers come from Iran and Mexico, and a transgender prince. Flor and Angela knew they would appear on Telemundo, and they wanted GLAAD's help to prepare for the interview. They were interviewed this week on the program as well as English-language television. Angela, who is only 6-years-old, sheds light on same-sex families with her open book and allows children to read about fantastical worlds that have incorporated LGBT characters.

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