Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s "The Best & Worst of National News" October 2008


Op-ed in Chicago Sun-Times Voices Need for Inclusive Hate-Crime Legislation

The Chicago Sun-Times published an opinion piece reflecting on the prevalence of hate crimes against LGBT people at the 10-year remembrance of Mathew Shephard's murder. In his October 17 op-ed, "Expand hate-crimes law to cover transgender people," Ricky Garcia, the Public Policy Director of Equality Illinois, highlights the dangerous lack of comprehensive federal and statewide hate-crime legislation. Garcia draws upon his personal experience working in Illinois, and speaks to the need for gender identity to be included in the state's hate crimes law, which currently only encompasses sexual orientation. Most brutal attacks in the state have been against transgender people and those who do not fit traditional gender stereotypes. Garcia says, "unfortunately, as shown by the news, gay and transgender folks here in Illinois and across the country are too often the victim of brutal hate crimes."Â He also points to the recent murders of Lawrence King in California and Angie Zapata in Colorado as two tragic examples that highlight the dire need for inclusive state and federal hate crime legislation.

READ ARTICLES:,CST-EDT-open17.article

GLAAD encourages you to contact Ricky Garcia and the Chicago Sun-Times to thank them for drawing attention to the urgent need for inclusive hate crime legislation.
E-mail Rick (Just click here, pre-filled fields, all you'll have to do is 'SEND')

Denver Post Shares Moving Story of Family's Loss.

Monica Zapata, the sister of Angie Zapata, an 18-year-old woman who was brutally murdered in her home because she was transgender, shared her story in the Denver Post on October 7. In "Ten years after Matthew Shepard, no change," Monica paints a moving portrait of her sister Angie and the ramifications her murder has had on her family and friends. She calls upon readers to stop hate crimes, pointing out that not enough change has happened since Matthew's death, and that LGBT youth continue to be victims of hate-motivated violence. She says, "My sister and Matthew were both torn down in their prime. At the threshold of their lives, they were brutally torn down and denied the opportunity to achieve their hopes and dreams." Monica highlights the need for federal hate-crimes legislation and reminds readers that the time has come to end violence against LGBT people.


GLAAD encourages you to contact the Denver Post to thank them for giving space to Monica Zapata's powerful story about her sister Angie and for encouraging readers to take a stand against hate.
E-mail Denver Post (Just click here, pre-filled fields, all you'll have to do is 'SEND')

Associated Press Explores Experiences of Gay Seniors

The Associated Pressdrew attention to the estimated 2.5 million gay seniors in America and the challenges they face in an October 4 article titled, "Gay elders' distinctive challenges get a closer look." In his story reporter David Crary highlights the recent partnership between the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE), and shares the stories of several LGBT seniors and how they have worked to overcome a lack of familial and institutional support. Ruth Juster, an 85-year-old lesbian Crary profiles, illuminates the need for increased outreach to gay and lesbian seniors, explaining, "Society looked down on us. A lot of people remained under the influence of that prejudice and kept their lives secret. We have to reach these seniors and let them know life is much different now. You have to speak up."


GLAAD encourages you to contact David Crary and the Associated Press to thank them for increasing awareness about LGBT seniors and the challenges they face.
E-mail David Crary (Just click here, pre-filled fields, all you'll have to do is 'SEND')

"Choice" Issue Debunked Los Angeles Times

Following Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin's comments prior to the election implying that being gay is a "choice," the Los Angeles Times published an October 8 opinion piece by Nathaniel Frank titled, "Gay is a choice?" Frank, of the Michael Palm Center, a public policy group that works on LGBT issues, debunks the legitimacy of the choice argument. He says, "calling homosexuality a choice is the time tested way politicians signal their belief that it is the wrong choice." On Palin's assertion that her gay friend has made a choice to be gay, Frank writes, "if Palin's gay friend is like other gays and lesbians, her sexual orientation is neither a choice to be tolerated nor a sentence to be served. It's an expression of her freedom to be herself, a freedom that, as Palin said in the debate, 'is always just one generation away from extinction.'" Frank's op-ed is a reminder that rhetoric that inaccurately suggests sexual orientation is a choice can be used as a justification for discrimination and intolerance towards LGBT people.

READ ARTICLE:,0,7682829.story

GLAAD encourages you to contact the Los Angeles Times to thank them for providing a space for this clear and convincing argument against the baseless assertion that being gay is a "choice" and the discrimination that is validated by this argument.
E-mail Los Angeles Times (Just click here, pre-filled fields, all you'll have to do is 'SEND')


Glenn Beck and James Dobson Make False Claims About Prop 8

Prior to the elections, an episode of CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck featured an interview with James Dobson, head of the anti-gay organization Focus on the Family. The subject of the interview was Proposition 8, which since has passed, and will eliminate future marriages for same-sex couples in California. Beck and Dobson made repeated false and misleading claims about Prop 8, suggesting that if it was not passed churches would be called "organizations of hate." Dobson continued by saying "There's no question about it. If Proposition 8 fails, there will be a spate of lawsuit against churches …." Dobson then repeated discredited assertions about schools, saying, "all textbooks would have to be republished" and "everything in schools will change." By giving an uncontested platform to an anti-gay activist to state falsehoods about Prop. 8, CNN Headline News and Glenn Beck perpetuated the kind of fear and misinformation that contributed to the passage of Prop 8.

Glenn Beck, whose program will move to Fox News in 2009, has made repeated anti-LGBT remarks on his program. GLAAD urges you to contact the Fox News Channel and remind them that the LGBT community and our allies will continue to hold Beck accountable if he continues to make inaccurate and misleading claims about our community.
E-mail Mr. John Moody Senior Vice President, News Editorial, FOX News Channel (Just click here, pre-filled fields, all you'll have to do is 'SEND')
E-mail Ms. Sharri Berg, Senior Vice President, News Operations - FOX News Channel (Just click here, pre-filled fields, all you'll have to do is 'SEND')

Radio Station Gives Anti-Gay Activist Platform to Attack Transgender Youth

Kentucky News Talk radio station WKYX's gave Richard Nelson of the anti-gay group The Family Foundation of Kentucky a platform on the outlet's website to perpetuate misinformation about medical care for transgender youth. Nelson made a baseless and fallacious attack on Dr. Norman Spack, a pediatric endocrinologist in Boston who provides care and treatment to transgender youth. Nelson falsely claims both that the treatment is permanent and makes the false assertion that it is "the first step necessary for a sex-change operation." Expressing a blatant disregard for the struggles transgender children encounter, Nelson dispassionately states, "When little Johnny comes in for a checkup wearing a dress and women's jewelry, has it ever occurred to anybody, including his parents, that he should be told to wear pants and stop playing with Barbies?" These kinds of uninformed attacks disregard the expertise of medical and psychological professionals, and only serve to perpetuate distortions and fear of transgender people.


GLAAD urges you to contact WKYX news editors and tell them not to make cheap, sensational grabs for ratings by attacking transgender youth and deceiving audiences about medical decisions that they make with their families and doctors.
E-mail WKYX News (Just click here, pre-filled fields, all you'll have to do is 'SEND')

Dr. Phil Show Fails to Present a Fair and Accurate Dialogue on Transgender Children

On the October 29th episode of Dr. Phil, Dr. Phil McGraw interviewed transgender children and their parents. Also on the show to discuss gender identity were Dr. Dan Segal, a clinical psychologist from UCLA, and Glenn Stanton of the anti-LGBT organization Focus on the Family. While Segal's dialogue was backed by research and medical experience, Stanton was not a credited or unbiased source in any way. While we encourage informative dialogue, the Focus on the Family representative was not an expert on developmental issues or transgender children and should not have been presented as a professional counterpart to Dr. Segal. Stanton baselessly asserts that children develop transgender identities when their parents fail to enforce gender roles.

GLAAD encourages you to contact the Dr. Phil Show and voice your concerns about the platform afforded to the anti-LGBT organization, Focus on the Family, which allowed them to perpetuate misinformation about transgender children. Ask why producers presented Glenn Stanton as an equal counterpart to Dr. Dan Segal when Stanton lacks expertise or credentials in the fields of psychology, medicine or transgender issues.
E-mail Stephanie Granader, Dr. Phil Producer (Just click here, pre-filled fields, all you'll have to do is 'SEND')

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