On the morning that GLAAD announced the expansion of its commitment to global LGBT work, the organization sat down with 22 UK-based LGBT advocacy organizations and leaders to hear the work that is being done, and spark ideas for possible collaboration.
The discussion centered on the various issues the LGBT community is facing, both in the UK and abroad. GLAAD’s base in the UK will compliment, enhance and shine a spotlight on the ongoing LGBT advocacy that several LGBT organizations are doing in the UK and around the world.
The range of topics, values, and goals represented in the room included discrimination against transgender people, LGBT youth homelessness, political engagement on the LGBT front, and moving religious communities to be more affirming of LGBT people. Advocates expressed a desire to create more positive and diverse representations of the LGBT community, moving beyond the stories of coming out, or of constant victimhood.
GLAAD and the UK advocates discussed the balance of working with major mainstream media outlets like the BBC, The Guardian, the Telegraph, etc., and using new forms of media to tell the stories that mainstream media won’t. UK advocates expressed a strong interest in the media and messaging training that GLAAD provides for everyday LGBT people to be most effective in telling their stories, sharing their messages, and accelerating acceptance across the globe.
GLAAD UK officially launched in October and will be part of a series of announcements made at the group’s first-ever international board meeting, taking place at the House of Lords in central London. The two-day board meeting will see celebrities joining activists and politicians to discuss how to best address global LGBT issues.
Additionally, GLAAD announced the extension of its celebrated Spirit Day campaign, now in its sixth year. On October 15 the world will “go purple” in a stand against bullying and in support of LGBT youth. For the first time, GLAAD’s Spirit Day Resource Kits – which are used to help individuals, organizations, and businesses stand up to bullying by participating in the annual awareness campaign – are now available in six additional languages: Spanish, French, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, and Mandarin for greater impact around the globe.
Having gained considerable investment from underwriters, including brands like Google and the Louis F. Borick Foundation, GLAAD will devote more than $1 million to its international program and from 1st October will set up its new UK operation with one full-time member of staff solely devoted to LGBT global issues.