News - April 1996

GLAAD urges media to challenge anti-gay statements

NEW YORK --The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) urges the news media to challenge the anti-gay statements that have been made by some candidates seeking the Republican party 1996 presidential nomination.

"The gay and lesbian community is being used as a scapegoat and is clearly the target of much prejudice, bigotry, and misinformation by some of the Republican party candidates, particularly Patrick Buchanan," said Mark F. Johnson, News Media Director.

"Such insensitivity and prejudice would not be tolerated if these comments were aimed at any other minority group," noted Johnson. "The gay community is just as important and worthy of respect . Politicians should not make controversial statements against lesbians and gays nor should the news media allow them to go unchallenged."

The press plays a valuable role in educating the public and should be equally strident in exposing bigotry against gays and lesbians as it is about exposing racism, sexism, ageism or any other form of discrimination, he added.

"Gays and lesbians are looking to America's chief opinion-makers to do the right thing," Johnson asserted. "Hopefully, the time has passed that people can make negative public comments against any group in this country and get away with them."

Nor is it acceptable to appeal to homophobia by vilifying gays and lesbians. There are scores of lesbian and gay representatives available to the news media to balance out these misrepresentations and to correct any misconceptions. GLAAD is willing to work with the media at identifying some of these individuals, so that news coverage more accurately reflects the lives and values of gay and lesbian Americans.

GLAAD is a national organization that promotes fair, accurate and inclusive representation as a means of challenging discrimination based on sexual orientation or identify.

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