Fair and Balanced



Originally called the Gay and Lesbian Anti-Defamation League, the organization is born when a group of gay writers protests the New York Post’s offensive AIDS coverage. After the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith threatens to sue over the name, the organization becomes the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

GLAAD convinces The New York Times to change its editorial policy and begin using the word gay in place of homosexual.

After using “fag” in a joke on The Tonight Show, Bob Hope meets with GLAAD and then creates—at his own expense—a national public service announcement condemning antigay violence.

The first GLAAD Media Awards—held in April in New York City—honor fair, accurate, and inclusive images of LGBT people on television, in film, and in the news. That same year GLAAD protests Andy Rooney’s insensitive remarks about AIDS on 60 Minutes; CBS suspends and reprimands Rooney, and he apologizes in The Advocate.

GLAAD protests outside theaters showing Basic Instinct, the latest in a long line of movies depicting bisexual killers. The group’s campaign against homophobic rap prompts Mercury Records to produce a pro-gay PSA.

GLAAD calls on ABC to broadcast an episode of Roseanne featuring a lesbian kiss. Homophobic lyrics for a planned stage production of Victor/Victoria are changed after GLAAD intervenes.

The six-month “Let Ellen Out” campaign ultimately results in the announcement that the lead character on Ellen (Ellen DeGeneres) will come out as a lesbian; she is the first gay lead television character. GLAAD sets up a satellite screening for 3,000 residents of Birmingham, Ala., when the local ABC affiliate refuses to air the coming-out episode. GLAAD also successfully counteracts a Southern Baptist boycott of the Walt Disney Co. for its fair treatment of gays and lesbians.

GLAAD helps manage the media coverage of the murder of Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyo.; arranges a vigil in Washington, D.C.; and pushes for passage of federal hate crimes legislation.

GLAAD meets with Paramount Television over antigay radio host Laura Schlessinger’s move to TV, but Paramount refuses to guarantee that Schlessinger will not defame gays and lesbians on the program. The antigay lyrics on Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP are a launching point for GLAAD’s national debate on hate.

GLAAD declares victory when, after a vigorous PR campaign, Schlessinger’s television show, Dr. Laura, is canceled. Soap Opera Digest notes that GLAAD had a part in the development of the character of Bianca, a teenage lesbian on All My Children.

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