GLAAD Shortens Name, Adds Transgender Equality to Its Agenda

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) spokesperson Wilson Cruz went on MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry this weekend to announce the organization's decision to formally include the rights of trans and bisexual people as part of the organization's mission.

In a bid to affirm their commitment to trans and bisexual rights, the organization that was previously known as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has shortened its name to simply GLAAD, the LGBT Media Advocacy Organization.

Cruz told Harris-Perry: 

"It is a natural progression that reflects the work GLAAD's staff is already leading [...] We respect and honor the full name that the organization was founded with, but GLAAD's work has expanded beyond fighting defamation to changing the culture. Our commitment to marriage equality, employment nondiscrimination, and other LGBT issues is stronger than ever, and now our name reflects our work on transgender issues as well as our work with allies."

The move has been welcomed from advocates for trans and bisexual rights who have often felt excluded from gay rights organizations. Laverne Cox, a transgender advocate told MSNBC that she is "happy to hear GLAAD has committed to prioritize trans issues [...] They really need to be."

Still, for every bold defense of transgender rights comes a callous inconsiderate comment reinforcing transphobia. Unfortunately, we still live in a world where Joe Rogan can go on cable television and tell a transgender woman: "You're a f****** man. [...] I don't care if you don't have a dick anymore." When comments like these are tolerated, it comes to no surprise that recent studies show that being transgender makes you 30% more likely to be a victim of violence.

It's encouraging to hear that GLADD will be officially standing up and fighting for these injustices.  As the Supreme Court prepares to hear the arguments on DOMA, let's hope their decision gives the LGBT community another victory to celebrate this week.

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Elizabeth Plank

Elizabeth is a Senior Correspondent at Mic and the host of Flip the Script.

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