GLAAD, the United States’ premier advocacy group working to promote positive media portrayals of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, today announces the launch of a UK operation as part of its growing global work to accelerate acceptance of the LGBT community. GLAAD UK officially launches this month and will be part of a series of announcements made at the group’s first-ever international board meeting, taking place at the House of Lords in central London. The two-day board meeting will see celebrities joining activists and politicians to discuss how to best address global LGBT issues.
Having gained considerable investment from underwriters, including brands like Google and the Louis F. Borick Foundation, GLAAD will devote more than $1million to its international programme and from 1st October will set up its new UK operation with one full-time member of staff solely devoted to LGBT global issues.
The launch marks the springboard for GLAAD’s international work, which to date includes lending ground support to activists in Ireland’s marriage equality referendum earlier this year, and ensuring FIFA addressed anti-LGBT slurs at the 2014 World Cup. GLAAD is also currently working to support LGBT activists in Nigeria, Russia, Jamaica, and China.
Additionally, GLAAD will be announcing the extension of its celebrated Spirit Day campaign, now in its sixth year, with special initiatives for London planned to take place on 15th October, when the world will “go purple” in a stand against bullying and in support of LGBT youth. The day of awareness has previously seen celebrities, corporations, schools, and U.S. landmarks, including the White House, Times Square, and the Empire State Building turn purple in support of LGBT youth.
For the first time, GLAAD’s Spirit Day Resource Kits – which are used to help individuals, organisations, and businesses stand up to bullying by participating in the annual awareness campaign – will be released in six additional languages (Spanish, French, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, and Mandarin) for greater impact around the globe. Spirit Day is made possible with the generous support of its presenting partners Target and Wells Fargo; official partners the Dow Chemical Company, Google, NBA, NFL, WNBA, WWE; and supporting partners American Eagle Outfitters, Barilla, Chobani, Comcast-NBCUniversal, Kirkland & Ellis, and Toyota Financial Services.
GLAAD’s international board meeting will convene a roundtable of globally influential LGBT leaders to speak and strategise about how to accelerate acceptance of LGBT communities in the UK and abroad. One member of the roundtable will be Anthony Watson, listed 19th in Fortune’s “40 under 40”, fourth in the Financial Times’ list of influential LGBT executives and 10th in The Guardian’s World Pride Power List.
Anthony Watson, member of GLAAD’s International Board of Directors, comments on the planned international expansion: “This is a timely and vital step forward to bring GLAAD’s critical work to the international community in a meaningful and powerful way. As a British Citizen, I am deeply proud GLAAD choose the United Kingdom to based our new international operations. From London GLAAD will be able to help promote positive portrayals of LGBT people in the media – not only across the UK, but across Europe and further afield. I’m excited for GLAAD to partner with local organisations, media networks & companies and governments in supporting the international LGBT community.”
CEO and president of GLAAD, Sarah Kate Ellis expands: “For 30 years, GLAAD has worked to reshape the way Americans think about LGBT people, building understanding through visibility and increasing acceptance across the nation. Now, as LGBT people around the world continue to face great injustice, GLAAD is expanding its global footprint to support the tremendous work of LGBT activists across the globe. Together, we will accelerate acceptance for LGBT people everywhere.”