Clay Aiken fans have been excited since it was announced on March 11th that Clay will present the Excellence in Media Award to Tyra Banks at the 20th Annual GLAAD Media Awards. Presented by IBM and New York presenting partner Prudential, the celebration will be held at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City on March 28, 2009.
After being “on a Break” for a few months, fans are looking forward to seeing Clay on the Red Carpet and hearing him speak about his good friend and colleague, Tyra Banks.
Most people have heard of GLAAD in the news, but how much do you know about the association and its history? It is a very interesting organization.
GLAAD was formed in 1985 to protest the New York Post’s defamatory and sensationalized AIDS coverage. Although the organization was started in New York, it spread quickly to Los Angeles and began to educate the Hollywood entertainment industry on the importance of more accurate and realistic portrayals on the screen.
The organization evolved from chapter-based to a national organization as its work grew. There are now offices in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
GLAAD’s list of accomplishments is long and significant. In 1987, after a meeting with GLAAD, the New York Times changed its policy to use the word “gay” instead of more derogatory names.
Today, because of GLAAD’s work, gay and lesbian stories and issues are covered in national and local news publications, in film and on TV. There are less negative and imbalanced portrayals of the community and lesbians and gay men have been incorporated more in all types of media platforms.
To quote GLAAD: “The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation 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.”
An important purpose of GLAAD is to help change the hearts and minds of people through what they see in the media. What people see on TV and read in their newspapers shapes how they feel and treat different people. GLAAD feels that they have an obligation to make sure that the images foster awareness, understanding and respect. When images perpetuate stereotypes and misinformation, gay men and lesbians become vulnerable to anti-gay forces. These people work to create a world where gay men and lesbians do not exist.
GLAAD’s website is full of interesting facts and information and this paragraph from their site sums up their work in a concise manner.
“In step with today’s always-changing media landscape, GLAAD continues to provide journalists and media professionals with timely, inclusive and authoritative resources, expanding the representation of our community one story at a time through an effective, forceful mix of advocacy, education and visibility.”
The Los Angeles Times described GLAAD as “possibly the most successful organizations lobbying the media for inclusion.”
Clay Aiken has been an advocate for inclusion for many years. GLAAD picked a dedicated man to present the Excellence in Media Award on Saturday night. Congratulations to Tyra Banks, Clay Aiken, GLAAD, and all the wonderful people involved in the celebration Saturday night.