Southern Stories

Building on-the-ground capacity and amplifying the stories of LGBTQ people and their allies in the U.S. South.

"Closing the gap to full acceptance of LGBTQ people will not come from legislation or judicial decisions alone, but from a deeper understanding and empathy from Americans themselves. Accelerating acceptance will require the help of not just LGBTQ people, but also their allies -- everyday Americans who feels strongly and take an active role to make sure that their LGBTQ friends and family are fully accepted members of society."

- Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President & CEO

Why the South? Why now?

In late 2014, GLAAD commissioned Harris Poll to measure attitudes towards LGBTQ Americans. What we found is that even though 2015 has been (and is poised to continue to be) an historic year for the rights of LGBTQ Americans, beneath legal and policy progress lies a layer of uneasiness and discomfort. While the public is increasingly embracing LGBTQ civil rights and equal protection under the law, many are still uncomfortable with having LGBTQ people in their families and the communities where they live. Within these numbers we find that Southerners feel significantly more discomfort about their LGBTQ family, friends, and neighbors than is found in other regions of the country.


Americans' attitudes and behavior on LGBTQ equality are not just influenced by what they see and hear, but who they know. GLAAD's Southern Stories initiative tells the stories of LGBTQ people and their allies in the South to create a cultural shift towards LGBTQ acceptance and understanding in the region.

Southerners continue to report higher levels of discomfort in situations with LGBTQ people, compared to the general US population.

Complacency with issues facing the LGBTQ community is just as strong in the South as in the rest of the US. The one exception was that non-LGBTQ Southerners are more likely to believe that politicians support pro-LGBTQ policies than the general American population.

Southerners are slightly more unconcerned or unaware of important issues facing the LGBTQ community than the rest of the country.

Recent news from Southern Stories

Amid nationwide rise in anti-LGBTQ legislation on the state level, GLAAD and Equality Florida release media guide | January 10, 2018

The guide contains story leads, a glossary of terms and definitions frequently used in reporting, terms to avoid, and common pitfalls – useful for the convening of the Florida State Legislature on January 9. It also includes a general timeline outlining Florida’s history on LGBTQ issues from 1972 to today

Supreme Court refuses to hear challenge to Mississippi anti-LGBTQ law | January 8, 2018

HB 1523 allows individuals, businesses, and religious-affiliated organizations to openly discriminate against members of the LGBTQ community

Supreme Court refuses to take up Texas case undermining marriage equality | December 4, 2017

SCOTUS upheld a ruling threatening spousal benefits for LGBTQ couples by declining to hear Pidgeon v Turner

LGBTQ organizations across the U.S. South go purple for #SpiritDay | October 23, 2017

LGBTQ advocacy organizations throughout the U.S. South joined GLAAD by going purple for #SpiritDay this year.

GLAAD condemns State Rep. Betty Price for suggesting Georgians living with HIV and AIDS should be quarantined | October 20, 2017

Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD, calls on Rep. Betty Price to apologize and denounce her vicious statement 

Wells Fargo pledges to go purple for #SpiritDay | October 18, 2017

This October 19, Wells Fargo is a proud Presenting Partner of Spirit Day. Wells Fargo is firmly committed to standing against bullying and supporting efforts to end LGBTQ harassment. No child deserves to be bullied, and by addressing this issue, Wells Fargo hopes to help create an environment where all students can thrive and find opportunity. They have been a consistent supporter of Spirit Day.

Mississippi’s HB 1523 becomes law today and allows residents to legally deny services to LGBTQ people | October 10, 2017

HB 1523 cites the same so-called “religious exemption” argument as the Department of Justice’s recent anti-LGBTQ guidance

Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn’s anti-LGBTQ activist history | October 5, 2017

GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, today released the following background on Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn which highlights her anti-LGBTQ activist record during her time as a public servant. This backgrounder is in response to media coverage of Blackburn’s decision to run for the open seat in the U.S. Senate following the unexpected retirement of current Senator Bob Corker.

Show the people of Charlottesville - and those that seek to divide - that we will not stop fighting for each other | August 15, 2017

All of us at GLAAD are disgusted and heartbroken by the deadly violence led by white nationalist groups in Charlottesville, Virginia.

As we mourn the victims of this unimaginable act of terror, we are sending messages of love and support to the people of Charlottesville to tell them that we are with them, and we will never stop fighting for all people to be loved and accepted exactly as we are.

Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ushers in broad discrimination against LGBTQ people in Mississippi | June 23, 2017

Court decision follows groundbreaking survey showing a majority of Americans oppose anti-LGBTQ laws like HB 1523