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SAAD all over

SAAD all over


I'm still trying to wrap my head around the hard fact that the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation is steadfastly refusing to even consider giving its Media Awards to programming from gay media outlets. Even more distressing than GLAAD's policy of exclusion are the public comments the organization has used to defend itself in the wake of a scathing open letter from Stephen Macias, vice president of Here Networks, which announced that the company would be boycotting GLAAD's award ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York. First, GLAAD president Neil Giuliano said, "We don't try to tell Logo or Here what kind of content they need to have, because they already are fair...and inclusive." Does he really mean to say that gay people never unfairly represent other gay people? Has only Tony Kushner heard of Roy Cohn? If Here launched a show tomorrow called Killer Tranny Hookers Want Your Husband, would GLAAD respond?

The organization's mission statement reads, "GLAAD is dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate, and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation." But now, according to a decision made by a dizzying series of ad hoc committees, GLAAD has decided to honor only programming that comes from "mainstream media outlets." Never mind that the term "mainstream media" appears nowhere in GLAAD's mission statement. Never mind that up until now the term "mainstream media" was traditionally used by Fox News to describe any news outlet that didn't present the liberal side of the issue with a commentator who was either a felon or deformed. Now it's being parroted by gay

people to justify excluding other people. But there's a reason for this, as Media Awards PR man Nick Adams informed Gabriel Rotello in a written statement for the Huffington Post. The awards must focus on "those whose attitudes about our right to fairness, dignity, and equality" need to be transformed. Gotcha. So it's all right to exclude other gay people as long as we're trying to make people who don't like us like us some more?

In all fairness, GLAAD's policy doesn't specifically exclude gay people. It's very inclusive of gay people who work for straight people who don't like us, and it's also very inclusive of straight people who throw us a bone every now and then. The only ones excluded are all of the gay people who work for gay media outlets that are generating content for gay people. Is their content any good? Who cares? GLAAD isn't even going to consider it. FYI, for those keeping score, this year's award for Best Film went to the action-packed red-state phenomenon Little Miss Sunshine. Honestly. If the GLAAD Awards get any more mainstream, they'll be held on the south lawn of the White House.

Just for the record, I don't think either Logo or Here has yet produced Emmy-worthy programs, but with this kind of treatment from powerful gay groups, I wonder if they'll ever get there. Both networks are relatively new ventures and as such are making the most

obvious choices available to them in order to establish a core audience and financial base--Logo through ad revenue and Here through programs with DVD sales potential. But I'm not demanding that they win all the awards; I'm asking that they be considered for them.

GLAAD excels in the role of media watch-dog, which is why it's so astounding that no one in the organization can recognize that its behavior is making as destructive a slur as any hurled by Ann Coulter. The message is clear: Gay content created by gay media

outlets is not important to our community's growth. I'm far more offended by this message than by any predictable explosion from a shock jock. What does Giuliano think of this? Not much, apparently. When the Washington Blade asked what he thought of Macias's letter, Giuliano said, "That kind of rhetoric and that kind of tone should be reserved for our adversaries." Sorry, Neil. Look at the message you've sent, and you'll realize you've become your own adversary.

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Christopher Rice