GLAAD, the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy organization, Wednesday launched GLAAD 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 raises 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.
GLAAD Southern Stories will elevate the experiences of LGBT people in six of the nation’s southern states. The initiative amplifies stories of ongoing discrimination, as well as the everyday indignities endured by LGBT people who simply wish to live the lives they love.
“Nothing builds acceptance and understanding like the power of storytelling,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “As legal advances for equality continue to sweep the nation, it’s now more important than ever that we redouble our efforts to move hearts and minds. GLAAD Southern Stories will help reshape the narrative about equality in the American South, where LGBT people and families are an integral part of the cultural fabric.”
GLAAD Southern Stories will complement statewide and on-the-ground advocates’ ongoing initiatives; mobilize LGBT individuals and their allies to share their stories with the media; interact with local media outlets; and amplify stories of family, faith, communities of color, sports, and military personnel.
Throughout 2015, GLAAD will release resources, geared toward each of the six included states, promoting best practices for media professionals to accurately and effectively cover LGBT-related topics.
GLAAD Southern Stories launched at GLAAD Atlanta, a celebration of national and local leaders advancing LGBT equality through the media. Special guests at the event included TV personality Sam Champion (America’s Morning Headquarters) and his husband acclaimed artist Rubem Robierb; actor Wilson Cruz (Red Band Society); recording artist and TV personality Frenchie Davis (The Voice); comedian and TV personality Fortune Feimster (Chelsea Lately); actor Kat Graham (Vampire Diaries); anti-bullying advocates David and Tina Long; transgender student trailblazer Sage Lovell; employment non-discrimination advocate Brian Martin; LGBT homeless youth advocate Daniel Pierce; football player Michael Sam; GLAAD National Spokesperson Omar Sharif, Jr.; actor Eva Tamargo (The Haves and the Have Nots); and GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.
Atlanta-area LGBT advocate Paul Horning 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. Horning, who is a Senior Vice President at the Horning-Link Group of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, has been a longtime leader in Atlanta’s LGBT community, working to advance LGBT equality in Atlanta and across the nation. Horning was recently nominated by the Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (AGLCC) as the Business Man of the Year.
GLAAD Atlanta is presented by The Coca-Cola Company, Delta Air Lines, Ketel One Vodka, and Legendary Events. All proceeds benefit GLAAD’s work to rewrite the script on LGBT equality.
For more information about GLAAD’s Southern Stories program, visit glaad.org/southernstories.