A month-and-a-half after a GLAAD Media Awards event that saw Madonna present an award to Anderson Cooper dressed as a Boy Scout, the group is once again in search of a leader after the resignation of Herndon Graddick — who filled the position for only one year.
On Friday afternoon, GLAAD released a statement saying Graddick had resigned after a brief tenure at the helm of one of the gay community’s most visible and vocal organizations.
A spokesperson from GLAAD — known best as the media watchdog of the LGBT community — prior to this announcement had told the Blade that Graddick had taken a personal leave of absence, but gave no further details.
During Graddick’s tenure, GLAAD increased public awareness of anti-gay policies at the Boy Scouts of America, and made notable hires including television actor Wilson Cruz, veteran gay journalist Rex Wockner, and former Gill Foundation Program Officer Dave Montez — who serves as the organization’s chief of staff.
The group was leaderless for eight months prior to Graddick, after Jarret Barrios resigned under pressure following questions about letters he had sent through his official capacity as leader of GLAAD to the Federal Communications Commission in support of the now-failed AT&T and T-Mobile merger. Several board members also resigned at that time.
In a statement today announcing Graddick’s departure, GLAAD did not give a reason for the sudden transition, but indicated Montez will take on leadership of the organization in the mean time.
The full statement follows:
New York, NY, May 17, 2013 – GLAAD, the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy organization, today announced the resignation of President Herndon Graddick.
Under Herndon’s tenure, GLAAD began campaigns including a national call for the Boy Scouts of America to end their ban on gay scouts and scout leaders. The organization also announced a continuation of its commitment to incorporate bisexual and transgender people as well as allies from diverse backgrounds in GLAAD’s work to shape the media narrative and build public support for LGBT people.
“GLAAD is very grateful for Herndon’s work championing LGBT rights, especially his work on behalf of the trans community,” said GLAAD Board of Directors Chair Thom Reilly. “On behalf of the entire organization, I want to wish him the best.”
“I’m proud to leave GLAAD with a stronger, more efficient organization and an incredibly talented and experienced Board and staff. I’m happy the role I was able to play in advancing the need for our community to fully support the rights of our transgender brothers and sisters. Our movement is benefited by the leadership not only of heroes like Evan Wolfson, Chad Griffin, Mara Keisling, and Kate Kendell, but of the necessary and vital blogger and grassroots communities. I look forward to returning to a private life and supporting the fight from behind the scenes,” said Graddick.
GLAAD’s Chief of Staff Dave Montez is serving as Acting President. In addition to continuing to lead GLAAD’s development team, he will over GLAAD’s staff on the ground in Dallas next week throughout the Boy Scouts of America’s vote on whether to end their ban on gay scouts and leaders as part of GLAAD’s Boy Scouts campaign. GLAAD staff members are continuing work to share stories in the media of marriage equality in advance of next month’s Supreme Court decision as well as pushing for comprehensive immigration reform, increased trans visibility in the media, LGBT acceptance in professional sports, and building acceptance of LGBT people.
“GLAAD makes a great impact and the Board has complete confidence that Dave’s proven leadership in building coalitions across diverse communities, advocating for lasting change, as well as fundraising for social justice causes will continue to forward the work of GLAAD in his role as Acting President,” said Reilly.
The GLAAD Board of Directors is scheduled to meet later this month in New York City to determine next steps.
The Washington Blade will continue to monitor this story and provide updates.