State Department Brings Overseas Journalists to GLAAD

Friday afternoon, GLAAD staff had the extraordinary opportunity to meet, speak with, and answer questions from a group of seventeen foreign journalists who cover LGBT issues in their home countries. Reporters from Uganda, Moldova, Nigeria, Singapore, Chile, India, Guyana, and ten other nations joined us in our New York offices.

We were one of several stops on a tour of the American LGBT media landscape including the Washington Blade, that was organized and sponsored by the U.S. State Department. Journalists learned about GLAAD's history, about some of the battles we've had to overcome in order to get journalists to listen to us, and how accurate and inclusive media coverage of a community can open hearts and change minds.

Organizers of the event told us that all of the participants began by viewing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's inspirational and historic speech on LGBT rights as human rights.

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Speaking to the assembled journalists were myself, Daryl Hannah (Director of Media and Community Partnerships) Rich Ferraro (Vice President of Communications) and Herndon Graddick (President). It was an absolute honor to be considered by the State Department as an essential stop for their guests as they learn about how American media deals with LGBT issues, and it was a wonderful experience getting to meet journalists like Hana Marku from Kosovo 2.0, Wai Pang Au from Singapore's Yawning Bread blog and Okechukwu Emmanuel Effoduh from BBC Media Action in Nigeria.

The journalists challenged us with many difficult questions, about several difficult issues, including one inquiry about what we would do if the LGBT media were to cause harm to the community. They asked us about how we deal with stereotypes, how we speak with reporters about the GLAAD Media Reference Guide, and how we would encourage good journalism in the face of cultural bias. It was a great discussion that could have gone on for several more hours.

We want to sincerely thank the State Department for allowing us this incredible opportunity, and all of the journalists who listened to us and took part in this discussion. It truly was an honor.