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GLAAD leaderless again with Graddick resignation

One year after high-profile hire, LGBT group back to square one

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Herndon Graddick, gay news, gay politics dc

GLAAD is back on the search for a new leader after the resignation, today, of Herndon Graddick. (Courtesy photo)

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.

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Florida House committee passes “Don’t Say Gay” bill

Equality Florida quickly condemned the measure

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The Florida State Capitol (Washington Blade photo by Yariel Valdés González)

The Republican majority Florida House Education and Employment Committee on Thursday passed House Bill 1557, the Parental Rights in Education bill, colloquially referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill advancing the measure to the full House.

HB 1557 and its companion bill, Senate Bill 1834, would ban classroom discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity in schools, erasing LGBTQ identity, history, and culture — as well as LGBTQ students themselves.

The bill also has provisions that appear to undermine LGBTQ support in schools and include vague parental notification requirements which could effectively “out” LGBTQ-identifying students to their parents without their consent.

“The Trevor Project’s research has found that LGBTQ youth who learned about LGBTQ issues or people in classes at school had 23 percent lower odds of reporting a suicide attempt in the past year. This bill will erase young LGBTQ students across Florida, forcing many back into the closet by policing their identity and silencing important discussions about the issues they face,” said Sam Ames, director of advocacy and government affairs at the Trevor Project. “LGBTQ students deserve their history and experiences to be reflected in their education, just like their peers.”

In an email to the Los Angeles Blade, Brandon J. Wolf, the press secretary for Equality Florida noted; “Governor DeSantis’ march toward his own personal surveillance state continues. Today, the Don’t Say Gay bill, a piece of legislation to erase discussion of LGBTQ people from schools in Florida, passed its first committee and became another component of an agenda designed to police us in our classrooms, doctor’s offices, and workplaces. Make no mistake — LGBTQ people are your neighbors, family members, and friends. We are a normal, healthy part of society and we will not be erased.”

The Trevor Project’s 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that more than 42 percent of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and non-binary youth.

According to a recent poll conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of The Trevor Project, 85 percent of transgender and non-binary youth — and two-thirds of all LGBTQ youth (66 percent) — say recent debates about state laws restricting the rights of transgender people have negatively impacted their mental health.

When asked about proposed legislation that would require schools to tell a student’s parent or guardian if they request to use a different name/pronoun or if they identify as LGBTQ at school, 56 percent of transgender and non-binary youth said it made them feel angry, 47 percent felt nervous and/or scared, 45 percent felt stressed, and more than 1 in 3 felt sad.

If you or someone you know needs help or support, the Trevor Project’s trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386, via chat at TheTrevorProject.org/Get-Help, or by texting START to 678678. 

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NCAA adopts new policy amid fervor over transgender athletes

Sport-by-sport approach requires certain levels of testosterone

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NCAA, gay news, Washington Blade
The NCAA has adopted new policy amid a fervor over transgender athletes.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association has announced it has adopted new procedures on competition of transgender athletes, creating a “sport-by-sport” approach that also requires documentation of testosterone levels across the board amid a fervor of recently transitioned swimmers breaking records in women’s athletics.

The NCAA said in a statement its board of governors voted on Wednesday in support of the “sport-by-sport” approach, which the organization says “preserves opportunity for transgender student-athletes while balancing fairness, inclusion and safety for all who compete.”

Although the policy defers to the national governing bodies for individual sports, it also requires transgender athletes to document sport-specific testosterone levels beginning four weeks before their sport’s championship selections. The new policy, which consistent with rules for the U.S. Olympics, is effective 2022, although implementation is set to begin with the 2023-24 academic year, the organization says.

John DeGioia, chair of the NCAA board and Georgetown president, said in a statement the organization is “steadfast in our support of transgender student-athletes and the fostering of fairness across college sports.”

“It is important that NCAA member schools, conferences and college athletes compete in an inclusive, fair, safe and respectful environment and can move forward with a clear understanding of the new policy,” DeGioia said.

More specifically, starting with the 2022-23 academic year, transgender athletes will need to document sport-specific testosterone levels beginning four weeks before their sport’s championship selections, the organizational. These athletes, according to the NCAA, are also required to document testosterone levels four weeks before championship selections.

In terms of jurisdiction, the national governing bodies for individual sports are charged determines policies, which would be under ongoing review and recommendation by the NCAA, the organizational says. If there is no policy for a sport, that sport’s international federation policy or previously established International Olympics Committee policy criteria would be followed.

The NCAA adopts the policy amid controversy over University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas smashing records in women’s swimming. Thomas, which once competed as a man, smashed two national records and in the 1,650-yard freestyle placed 38 seconds ahead of closest competition. The new NCAA policy appears effectively to sideline Thomas, who has recently transitioned and unable to show consistent levels of testosterone.

Prior to the NCAA announcement, a coalition of 16 LGBTQ groups, including the Human Rights Campaign and Athlete Ally, this week sent to a letter to the collegiate organization, urging the organizations strengthen non-discrimination protections as opposed to weakening them. The new policy, however, appears to head in other direction, which the LGBTQ groups rejected in the letter.

“While decentralizing the NCAA and giving power to conferences and schools has its benefits, we are concerned that leaving the enforcement of non-discrimination protections to schools will create a patchwork of protections rather than a comprehensive policy that would protect all athletes, no matter where they play,” the letter says. “This would be similar to the patchwork of non-discrimination policies in states, where marginalized groups in some states or cities are protected while others are left behind by localities that opt not to enact inclusive policies.”

JoDee Winterhof, vice president of policy and political affairs for the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement after the NCAA announcement the new policy was effectively passing the buck.

“If the NCAA is committed to ensuring an environment of competition that is safe, healthy, and free from discrimination, they cannot dodge the question of how to ensure transgender athletes can participate safely,” Winterhof said. “That is precisely why we and a number of organizations across a wide spectrum of advocates are urging them to readopt and strengthen non-discrimination language in their constitution to ensure the Association is committed to enforcing the level playing field and inclusive policies they say their values require. Any policy language is only as effective as it is enforceable, and with states passing anti-transgender sports bans, any inclusive policy is under immediate threat. We are still reviewing the NCAA’s new policy on transgender inclusion and how it will impact each and every transgender athlete.”

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Transgender rights group’s Los Angeles office receives bomb threat

[email protected] Coalition evacuated

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(Public domain photo)

A bomb threat was phoned in Wednesday afternoon to the Wilshire Boulevard Koreatown offices of the [email protected] Coalition, Bamby Salcedo, the president and CEO of the non-profit organization told the Los Angeles Blade.

According to Salcedo, an unidentified male caller told the staff person who answered at approximately 3 p.m., while delivering the threat said; “You’re all going to die.” The staff immediately evacuated everyone from their offices and then contacted the Los Angeles Police Department for assistance.

Officers, specialists and detectives from the Rampart Division of the LAPD responded and swept the building. A spokesperson for the LAPD confirmed that the incident is under active investigation but would make no further comment.

On a Facebook post immediately after the incident the non-profit wrote; “To ensure the safety of our clients and staff members, we ask that you please NOT come to our office.”

In a follow-up post, Salcedo notified the organization and its clientele that the LAPD had given the all-clear and that their offices would resume normal operations Thursday at 9:00 a.m. PT.

“Thank you for your messages and concern for our staff and community,” Salcedo said.

“No amount of threats can stop us from our commitment to the TGI community,” she added.

The [email protected] Coalition was founded in 2009 by a group of transgender and gender non-conforming and intersex (TGI) immigrant women in Los Angeles as a grassroots response to address the specific needs of TGI Latino immigrants who live in the U.S.

Since then, the agency has become a nationally recognized organization with representation in 10 different states across the U.S. and provides direct services to TGI individuals in Los Angeles.

In 2015, the [email protected] Coalition identified the urgent need to provide direct services to empower TGI people in response to structural, institutional, and interpersonal violence, and the Center for Violence Prevention and Transgender Wellness was born.

Since then, the organization has secured funding from the state and local government sources as well as several private foundations and organizations to provide direct services to all TGI individuals in Los Angeles County.

The [email protected] Coalition’s primary focus is to change the landscape of access to services for TGI people and provide access to comprehensive resource and services that will improve the quality of life of TGI people.

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