The 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots have passed, and as an integral part of the anniversary and the 50 years leading up to it, I have an inside track and knowledge as to who the players were and how they did their jobs for our community.
Two organizations failed our community this year. That failure led to misinformation of our history. Professional organizations should preserve our history, not rewrite it. The worst offender? GLAAD
The organization that is supposed to monitor and provide LGBTQ information to the media and that claims to be a resource to TV networks, contributed a media guide to Stonewall 50. The history it provided of our community was misleading and left out important elements of the event as well as the resources appropriate to cover them, leaving larger media on their own.
Of the 50 or so people who are documented as participating in the riots and the first gay pride, none, to my knowledge, were contacted by GLAAD for their knowledge of history or to be utilized as a resource or even as a factchecker.
Maybe it’s ageism or GLAAD’s need to use celebrities rather than the rank and file of our community, but those of us who were at Stonewall, created Gay Liberation Front from the ashes of the riots, created the first gay youth organization, created the first LGBT community center, and the first gay pride march were all ignored by GLAAD.
Those, like myself, who were young and among the first to end invisibility by the media are still alive but ignored. The people that made it possible for GLAAD’s existence were neglected — a lack of professionalism in their supposed area of expertise.
Mainstream media wanted to understand how coverage had changed in 50 years. From GLAAD, they received a false timeline and a lack of resources. Media sources actually did the homework and changed GLAAD’s timeline, making a mockery of the LGBT org’s guide.
On page one of that guide is a picture and message from GLAAD’s President and CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis, that includes only two lines regarding the history of Stonewall and states, “This guide is intended to help journalists cover Stonewall 50 with fairness, depth and accuracy.”
GLAAD’s failure is obvious with the guide’s inaccuracies, historic omissions and lack of resources. GLAAD gets an F.