Tag Archives: GLAAD

Even NPH Can’t Say ‘Tr*nny’ : A Teachable Moment

2 Dec

It’s time for some education around Transgender issues and what is now seen as transphobic or discriminatory language.

A few months ago, I was on a bus trip from NYC to DC and the two young collegiates next to me were having a really intelligent discussion about the current political atmosphere. While I don’t think they were LGBT, they were certainly progressive enough. I smiled as I listened to them banter on about the environment and the damage that some Republican candidates would do to our country. When all of a sudden, they started discussing a party they’d been to the night before and out popped the sentence “She looked like a tranny.” To me, this was jarring because as an activist, I’ve been trained that “tranny” is an offensive and downright unacceptable term to be using.

I interrupted the young men, apologized for eavesdropping for the past hour or so and let them know that the term they were using was hurtful towards transgender people. They immediately apologized and thanked me for letting them know.

At the beginning of this month on Huffington Post, the bastion of liberal blogs, there was a little survey entitled “Who looks more like a Tranny? Sofia Vergara or Blake Lively.” When it was brought to their attention that they were using an anti-trans slur, they immediately removed it and issued an apology.

And then just a few weeks ago, Kelly Osborn issued an apology for using the word in a Glamour UK interview, with regards to a transgender friend of hers. Kelly was under fire immediately and reached out to GLAAD for advice on how the word was offensive and education on how she could reach out to apologize for her gaffe. She wrote a wonderful piece, ironically enough, for Huffington Post titled “I’m retiring the word ‘Tranny’…will you join me?

And then this morning, I was referred to a video of our very own Neil Patrick Harris co-hosting “LIVE with Kelly”. The two were inhaling a gas which was the opposite of helium, whose properties actually lower your voice in the same way helium raises it. Neil made the comment “I’ve never sounded more like a tranny in my life.”

I’ve met Neil on several occasions now and have worked with his partner David a few times, and I can tell you that if Neil had ever been informed that what he said might be offensive to some people, he never would have used it. If one of the most out, positive LGBT role models out there has not been educated on this issue, then we need to be doing better work.

I know among some, there will be the desire to break out the pitchforks and torches and make an example out of NPH. But the truth of the matter is, when even members of our own community don’t know about these things, or know and use them anyway, we should pivot to education, not attack. Each moment like this is a chance to move the ball forward. I urge people to avoid jumping to the conclusion that he is a “transphobe” or that he “doesn’t give two shits about trans women.” It comes off as not only extreme, but potentially counter productive. We make a lot of assumptions about the use of a word that many have not yet been trained to avoid.

Trans issues are happily, finally coming to the forefront. With Chaz Bono’s appearance on “Dancing with the Stars” and the doors that has opened, I’m hoping to see far more attention paid to the T of the LGBT – it’s about time. But in doing so, we must find as many opportunities as we can, to educate. If we start out by attacking people who honestly have not been told otherwise, we will lose potential allies.

I’ve reached out to Neil and it would surprise me if we don’t hear from him soon about this. But again, I can almost guarantee that he was not aware that his language was seen as offensive.

I would like to ask all who read this to take a little time and read this GLAAD Media Reference Guide and transgender glossary of terms. The education has to start somewhere.

UPDATE:

As expected, NPH has come through with an apology for his use of the slur. Please continue to help educate others on potentially offensive language. Many responses to this post have been met with “I had no idea that we shouldn’t use that word” or “My friends use it all the time, I’ll ask them not to now.” All it takes is a little education.

And take a look at this excellent explanation of transphobic language from Bilerico.com (thanks Vincent Villano at National Center for Transgender Equality)

PHOTOS: Queer as Folk’s Clunie and Supermodel Kroell Visit DC for GLAAD Panel

13 Oct

Last night, at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium, GLAAD’s DC Leadership Council in cooperation with the Reel Affirmations LGBT Film Festival presented “Out of the Closet and on to the Screen: A Generation of Queer Film.”

The panel was moderated by award-winning journalist Chris Geidner and featured Ronnie Kroell - Star of Bravo’s Make Me a Supermodel, June 2010 Playgirl Cover Model, films – Eating Out: Drama Camp, Into the Lion’s Den, Michelle Clunie Queer as Folk, Make It or Break It, Brad Bell – star and writer of “Husbands,” Bob Mondello – National Public Radio’s Arts Critic, and Stephen L. Forssell - GWU Lecturer, LGBT Family Research Expert and GW student filmmaker of I Am Sara Snyder.

The discussion was thorough and covered everything from the first appearance of gay people on film to the evolution of gay film on the internet. Please enjoy our photos from last night. All photos copyright Jamie McGonnigal, EqualityPhotography.com.

Meet Ronnie Kroell: Playgirl Cover Model, Actor, Activist and in DC This Week!

10 Oct

Ronnie Kroell in June 2010's Playgirl Magazine

On Wednesday, October 12th at 7pm, the GLAAD DC Leadership Council in cooperation with Reel Affirmations is proud to present Out of the Closet and Onto the Screen: A Generation of Queer Film. Happily, both writers on this site sit on the Leadership Council and  are thrilled to be helping with this event.

Moderated by MetroWeekly’s Chris Geidner, the star-studded panel is scheduled to include Ronnie Kroell - Star of Bravo’s Make Me a Supermodel, June 2010 Playgirl Cover Model, films – Eating Out: Drama Camp, Into the Lion’s Den,  Michelle Clunie – Queer as Folk, Make It or Break It, Bob Mondello – National Public Radio’s Arts Critic, and Stephen L. Forssell - GWU Lecturer, LGBT Family Research Expert.

We spoke to our friend, Ronnie Kroell about his own history, his career as an out actor and model and the premiere of his film, Into the Lion’s Den, happening at the Reel Affirmations Film Festival on Sunday, October 16th at 9pm.

Me & Ronnie Kroell

TAE: Before coming out, did you find any inspiration from LGBT films?

RK: Broken Hearts Club really had a major impact on me because it showed gay men in a very real and everyday way. The story of this particular group of friends was heartwarming and really made an impact on my life. And of course, I had a major crush on Dean Cain.

TAE: As an out actor and model and Playgirl cover, have you had any career challenges that you think may be due to your being out?

RK: If I have, I am not aware of them. I have never let my personal orientation stand in my way of getting what I want.

Ronnie Kroell in Into the Lion's Den

TAE: What can you tell us about the premiere of your latest film, Into the Lion’s Den?

RK: Into the Lion’s Den, written by Philip Malaczewski, is a cross between the warm depiction of the relationship between three close friends and a horribly twisted and dark nightmare. Working alongside Jesse Archer and Kristen Alexzander-Griffith was a real treat! It felt like we really were on a road-trip together – much like that of the story of our characters, but minus all the blood and suspense. We certainly had fun making this film and hope that the audience will enjoy this dark, yet humorous thriller – directed by Dan Lantz in association with Breaking Glass Pictures.

Ronnie Kroell as MC at a New York Fundraiser

RK: Our biggest challenges believe it or not reside within the community itself. We must take it upon ourselves to clean up our own act and start practicing what we are preaching to the community at large. At the heart of the work that must be done is ACCEPTANCE. We still are a community that is having trouble reconciling differences with-in the sub-groups of LGBT, especially where race and gender identity is concerned. Furthermore, if we want the community at large to be more accepting of us we too have to be more accepting of them by eliminating words like, “breeder” from our vocabulary and purposefully tearing down the walls between the “gay neighborhoods” and the “straight” neighborhoods. It’s important to have a sense of community and to celebrate our diversity, but true equality will be reached when we no longer have the need for a “Gay Neighborhood”.

When we can finally live amongst each other without fear of holding our boyfriend or girlfriend’s hand in public, when we can stop focusing on the superficial layers of who we are and celebrate our similarities, when we can reach down and find compassion once again in our hearts – that is when we will have achieved success in this movement. We must stay the course and continue to build bridges between the LGBT Community and our Allies, we must remember to say thank-you and appreciate the victories along the way, and we must never EVER give-up. I envision a more perfect Union where we move beyond these labels and can focus all of our energies on issues that desperately need our attention, ie: healthcare, education, and economy. We cannot afford to sit on the side-lines in complacency, now is the time for ACTION.

Ronnie Kroell

TAE: Do you believe more mainstream LGBT films such as Brokeback Mountain and Milk will ultimately help or hurt the production of more independent films such as the Eating Out series or Trick?

RK: Producing more mainstream LGBT films will never hurt the production of more independent films – there will always be a market for them. I do hope that more mainstream films are produced because it effectively reaches a much larger audience and educates the masses about the community, past – present – and future goals. I don’t think mainstream and independent LGBT film are necessarily mutually exclusive – we can have both, that’s the cool part!

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS TO WEDNESDAY'S PANEL!


Cee Lo Green Tweets Homophobic Comments Following Negative Review

17 Jun

Cee Lo Green on this year's Grammy Awards

This afternoon, in response to a negative review by City Pages’ Andrea Swennson, Cee Lo Green has taken to twitter.

The review read, in part:

“Though Green has risen to be one of the hottest pop singers of the past year, his set at the Target Center failed to measure up to the fun factor of his recorded material. Green spent most of the set stationed in front of a mic at the center of the stage, barely moving an inch while he sang and flanked by two forgettable back-up singers and a DJ that was all but hidden behind a giant LCD display. “

Green, assuming the reviewer was a man, questioned if the reviewer was “gay” and “offended” by Green’s “masculinity.”

Some of his twitter followers responded with anger at his tweet and he issued a non-apology and clearly did not understand what could be offensive about the things he said.

Green needs to hear immediately from GLAAD and it must be explained to him that his response was not only inappropriate, but harmful. His assumption that gay men could somehow be “offended” by his masculinity intimates that he clearly sees gay men as less masculine than him. He should be introduced to the many gay rugby players, truck drivers, police officers,and fire fighters and be taught that gay is not equal to the stereotypes he seems to assume represent the LGBT community. And maybe he should consider a different costume designer while he’s throwing around his “masculinity.”

As a former fan of Green’s, I can say I am very disappointed at his irresponsible statement which only spreads further intolerance and ignorance. He must be educated on the fact that LGBT people come in all shapes, sizes and shades and they fall on every color of the spectrum of Green’s masculinity scale.

The writer of the review has responded here.

Tracy Morgan Apologizes for Homophobic Rant – Meets With Homeless LGBT Youth

14 Jun

Tracy Morgan

After being one of the first sites to share the news of Tracy Morgan’s homophobic rant at his Nashville show last week, we forwarded the story on to GLAAD’s Jarrett Barrios. From there, Jarret and the team at GLAAD worked hard to communicate with Tracy Morgan and his team.

Almost immediately after Truth Wins Out‘s article and some calls from GLAAD, Tracy’s publicist issued what has become a standard form letter apology when it comes to these things.

“I want to apologize to my fans and the gay & lesbian community for my choice of words at my recent stand-up act in Nashville. I’m not a hateful person and don’t condone any kind of violence against others. While I am an equal opportunity jokester, and my friends know what is in my heart, even in a comedy club this clearly went too far and was not funny in any context.”

Following that, Tina Fey issued an incredible statement:

“I’m glad to hear that Tracy apologized for his comments,” Tina Fey said. “Stand-​up comics may have the right to ‘work out’ their material in its ugliest and rawest form in front of an audience, but the violent imagery of Tracy’s rant was disturbing to me at a time when homophobic hate crimes continue to be a life-​threatening issue for the GLBT Community. It also doesn’t line up with the Tracy Morgan I know, who is not a hateful man and is generally much too sleepy and self-​centered to ever hurt another person.

“I hope for his sake that Tracy’s apology will be accepted as sincere by his gay and lesbian coworkers at 30 Rock, without whom Tracy would not have lines to say, clothes to wear, sets to stand on, scene partners to act with, or a printed-​out paycheck from accounting to put in his pocket.” Fey added, “The other producers and I pride ourselves on 30 Rock being a diverse, safe, and fair workplace.”

Tracy Morgan, Russell Simmons

GLAAD continued to work with Tracy and his handlers and we’re thrilled to see that some incredible good is coming out of this horrible situation – and it’s all because we stood up and said something when bigotry was being spread. Tracy had a conversation with LGBT advocate, Russell Simmons. The transcript of their conversation is on Simmons’ hip-hop blog. Among the revelations is that Tracy would like to attend a gay marriage rally and wants to work to advance LGBT rights.

GLAAD released a statement from Tracy Morgan yesterday:

“I know how bad bullying can hurt. I was bullied when I was a kid. I’m sorry for what I said. I didn’t mean it. I never want to use my comedy to hurt anyone. My family knew what it was like to feel different. My brother was disabled and I lost my father to AIDS in 1987. My dad wasn’t gay but I also learned about homophobia then because of how people treated people who were sick with that. Parents should support and love their kids no matter what. Gay people deserve the same right to be happy in this country as everyone else. Our laws should support that. I hope that my fans gay, straight, whatever forgive and I hope my family forgives me for this.”

Additionally, Tracy will be doing some personal outreach to help LGBT youth.

-THIS WEEK: In NYC, Tracy will meet with LGBT teens from the Ali Forney Center who were shunned or left homeless by their parents as well parents who lost their children to anti-LGBT hate crimes including Elke Kennedy.

-NEXT WEEK: Tracy will return to Tennessee with GLAAD and Russell Simmons to meet with those offended by his remarks and make a public statement about how he supports LGBT people.

-ALSO: Tracy will film a PSA as part of GLAAD’s upcoming ‘Amplify Your Voice’ PSA campaign

Great work to all involved and let this be a lesson that if you see or hear something that’s not right, speak up about it and change can happen.

PHOTOS: GLAAD Awards Featuring Ricky Martin, Andy Cohen and More

20 Mar DSC_0581

The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and the issues that affect their lives.

Over the years, GLAAD has done the work which has paved the way for so many of us to live openly in the world. This year, they celebrate their 25th anniversary and their history shows us exactly how far we have come.

Enjoy the photos from tonight’s event. Other awards not presented this evening are listed here. Additional categories will be presented at the GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles on April 10 and in San Francisco on May 14. The following were the awards presented last night.

  • Excellence in Media Award: Russell Simmons
  • Vito Russo Award:  Ricky Martin
  • Outstanding Drama Series: True Blood (HBO) [Accepted by: Denis O'Hare]
  • Outstanding Individual Episode (in a series without a regular LGBT character):  “Klaus & Greta” 30 Rock (NBC) [Accepted by: Tina Fey]
  • Outstanding Digital Journalism – Multimedia: “Bridal Bliss: Aisha and Danielle” by Bobbi Misick (Essence.com) [Accepted by: Aisha Mills and Danielle Moodie, with Essence.com editor, Emil Wilbekin]

The following is a list of all other award recipients announced at the 22nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York.

  • Outstanding Talk Show Episode: “Ricky Martin Coming Out as a Gay Man and a New Dad” The Oprah Winfrey Show (syndicated)
  • Outstanding TV Journalism – Newsmagazine: “Gay Teen Suicides” (series) Anderson Cooper 360 (CNN)
  • Outstanding Newspaper Article: “Rutgers Student Tyler Clementi’s Suicide Spurs Action Across U.S.” by Judy Peet (The Star-Ledger [Newark, N.J.])
  • Outstanding Newspaper Columnist: Frank Rich (The New York Times)
  • Outstanding Newspaper Overall Coverage: Denver Post
  • Outstanding Magazine Article: “What Happens When You Find the One…And He’s Nothing – Nothing – Like You Expected?” by Allison Cooper (O, The Oprah Magazine)
  • Outstanding Magazine Overall Coverage: The Advocate/Out
  • Outstanding Digital Journalism Article: “View From Washington” (series) by Kerry Eleveld (Advocate.com)
  • Outstanding Blog: Joe. My. God. (http://joemygod.blogspot.com/)
  • Outstanding Music Artist: Scissor Sisters, Night Work (Downtown Records)
  • Outstanding Comic Book: X-Factor by Peter David (Marvel Comics)
  • Outstanding Los Angeles Theater: Something Happened by L. Trey Wilson
  • Outstanding New York Theater: Broadway & Off–Broadway: The Pride by Alexi Kaye Campbell
  • Outstanding New York Theater: Off–Off Broadway: When Last We Flew by Harrison David Rivers

All photos copyright Jamie McGonnigal, TalkAboutEquality.com – for reprint permission, please email talkaboutequality@gmail.com


Ricky Martin

Ricky Martin

 

Wilson Cruz

 

Tina Fey

 

Sandra Lee and her niece

 

Sahara Davenport, Manila Luzon and friends

 

Sandra Lee and the Fabulous Beekman Boys Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge

 

True Blood's Denis O'Hare

 

Wilson Cruz and his boyfriend

 

Tina Fey

 

Erik Bottcher and friends

 

The team from ALL OUT

 

Ru Paul's Drag Race's Manila Luzon and Sahara Davenport

MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell and his chief of staff

 

Outstanding Blog winner, Joe Jervis of JoeMyGod.com

 

The Fabulous Beekman Boys Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge

 

Prayers for Equality: An Interview with Sigourney Weaver

13 Feb

Ryan Kelley and Sigourney Weaver in "Prayers for Bobby"

In our struggle for equality, we are so often met with the question “Can people really change?” We so frequently run up against the wall of having a conversation with someone who seems unmoveable. And sometimes, the sad truth of the matter is that some people are indeed unmoveable. In the case of Mary Griffith, it wasn’t until her young gay son took his own life that she saw the repercussions of her ignorance.

Mary’s story “Prayers for Bobby” by Leroy Aarons, tells the story of life with her son, Bobby. And most importantly, it tells the story of how someone can change when presented with irrational fears of what they don’t understand. The book was made into a film last year by the Lifetime Network and it garnered several recognitions including Emmy nominations for Outstanding Made for Television Movie and Outstanding Leading Actress in a Miniseries or Movie, for Sigourney Weaver. The film won the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Miniseries or TV Movie and Sigourney took home a Trevor Life Award from the Trevor Project for her portrayal of Mary Griffith.

On the occasion of the DVD release, Sigourney took a few moments to chat with Talk About Equality about the film, on playing Mary Griffith and how things can get better.

Talk About Equality is devoted to telling our stories and we believe that these stories are what will help us win our equality. In your travels, have you had the opportunity to see or hear about the impact your telling of Mary’s story has had on someone?

Mary Griffith

A young person had confided in her mother a few days before that she was gay and her mother had freaked out and taken her phone away and grounded her. Then they saw the movie together and the mother started the process of being able to talk about it with her child and it went from impossible to…let’s start this dialogue. And it was such an immediate heartening result from watching the movie together. It [the movie] takes you through people coming out with such disasterous results.

I thought my friends surely didn’t have that big a problem but the four people I talked to had such terrible stories to share with me. One of them, who goes out in drag quite a bit – his grandmother actually helps him get ready, but they’ve never discussed it..it defies logic..so there’s a real need for more stories like this to be told.

The transition Mary had after the loss of Bobby is one that so many kids fantasize will happen with their own intolerant parents. Speaking as a parent, what would you tell these intolerant parents and how did you personally handle Mary’s transition from intolerance to pride?

 

Sigourney Weaver and Ryan Kelley in a scene from "Prayers for Bobby"

The main thing to remember is that you love your child and we as parents must love and respect our children and listen to them. I think the one thing I feel was so tragic about what Mary did was not her belief or her ignorance, but that she refused to listen to Bobby. She just refused to, and that actually is what cost him his life. If she’d been able to listen, if she had been able to keep that door open, then things might have worked out differently.

As a parent we all have a tendency to want our children to lead very safe regular lives. Lives that are protected somehow- Its really a fallacy. Its not what any of us did and we have to be brave enough as parents to trust our children and encourage them to be who they are and all that they are. It takes such incredible courage to be gay in this society, in this world right now and your child really needs your support – really needs you to be there for him or her. It’s the most important way you can  express your love to your child – by listening and supporting.
You’re an actor who never shies away from a challenge when it comes to the roles you choose – from the big commercial hits like Avatar or Aliens to smaller releases like Prayers for Bobby or Snow Cake – and each of these characters I’m sure brought something new to your life. Did you have a “seeing the world with new eyes” moment with this character and movie?

Bobby Griffith

I definitely did. When I read the script I was a little horrified by Mary – I thought there was this huge chasm between myself and her. My immediate thought was she must live in this kind of place that’s far away from a metropolis-where there might be a big gay community. And then of course when I visited her – she’s about 30 minutes away from downtown San Francisco. I realized that we can be closed-minded wherever we are-even in a big city. I think I had used that geographical idea to sort of marginalize Mary and once I realized that she was in a city and I met her – mother to mother – I realized how much she loved Bobby, how much she loved all her children.

Her house is filled with things he made – his dolls, his drawings, his little attic room is just as he left it. We just met as mothers. She is so courageous and so honest and so candid about who she was then and what the repercussions had been of her prejudice and ignorance. And after a day with Mary, I felt-  ya know -that I get fearful for my daughter when I think of her doing things and I found the Mary in myself. We are parents who want to protect our children from things we don’t understand, things that frighten us.

I stopped being the East Coast judger. This can happen to any of us. It creeps up on us because we love our children and we think by loving them, we should keep them from being who they are. If I just say no, they can change their minds. The more you talk to Mary – she thought he was making a lifestyle choice. It took her forever to understand that this was part of God’s plan for Bobby. And that’s what the story is, of the terrible mistakes she made and that he was perfect as he was. She just couldn’t see it. She didn’t have any help or support until she reached out to PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). PFLAG saved her and made it possible for her to share her story with all the rest of us.

I’m sure you’ve heard about Dan Savage’s It Gets Better Project, designed to reach out to LGBT kids who may be contemplating suicide. In that vein, if you could, if things were different, is there anything you would want to say to Bobby Griffith?

Wow…I would say…Dear Bobby, give your mother [a chance...]…these are all things he did do because he loved his family so much. He tried so hard to give them the time to embrace him as who he was. So it’s very hard for me to know what to say to Bobby except – we’re going to do everything we can to make sure kids don’t feel that way.

It’s so hard to say ‘go live your life’ and eventually your family will come around and you will find out that you can be this magnificent gay man with so much to offer, with a community and with a family you can have – a family of your own and eventually your family will hopefully meet you halfway. And if not, you’ll have your own family and your own community and it will get better. What could be more painful than what you’re going through now? So just hang in there. And know there are people who love you and care about you and value you and you should be around, because you’re a terrific young person.

For Bobby, everything hinged on the approval of his family. I think there wasn’t The Trevor Project or all these other places where he could have maybe had more people reaching out to him. Where he could finally get the message. It was a message he felt he didn’t have the right to accept.  He couldn’t allow himself to love someone and be loved if his family didn’t love him first. That’s the lesson from this story really – it’s really hard for someone to love themselves without ever learning how to from their family.

Many thanks to Sigourney for taking the time out to speak with us about this incredible film.

If you have not seen it, please order the DVD by clicking here. And if you have seen it, go buy a few copies of the DVD to give to friends and family who might be able to use it.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 929 other followers