GLAAD, an organization that routinely holds the mainstream media’s feet to the fire when they cover the LGBT community in a negative way, has ignored multiple SFGN inquiries regarding its recently published supplement, Southern Stories: A Guide for Reporting on LGBTQ People in Florida.
The guide was heavily criticized by the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council [PBCHRC], contains information about the LGBT community in Florida, including a timeline of events and LGBT-related organizations and resources.
SFGN first contacted GLAAD on Jan. 22 regarding the story “GLAAD Criticized for Incomplete LGBT Guide to Florida.” But GLAAD never responded. In a follow-up to that story on Feb. 2, GLAAD again failed to respond to a request by SFGN.
In the original story, Rand Hoch, a former judge and the president and founder of PBCHRC, criticized GLAAD. He said the guide had some false information and was missing a lot of key events in its LGBT timeline and even failed to include the PBCHRC on its list of organizations. One of the mistakes was stating SAVE was founded in 1973 when 1993 was the correct year.
GLAAD responded to some of Hoch’s requests for changes, including adding PBCHRC to the organizations list and fixing the SAVE date, but Hoch still wasn’t satisfied and made additional requests. Also not included in the list of organizations were Pride Center at Equality Park and SunServe. The only Broward organization listed was Fort Lauderdale chapter of PFLAG, a national organization based in Washington, D.C.
Previously, GLAAD defended its timeline by stating that it tried to just give readers a basic overview of certain milestones.
But for Hoch that was insufficient.
“If GLAAD wants to include firsts in the timeline, why not include Palm Beach County's 1990 Fair Housing Ordinance and West Palm Beach's 1991 revision to the municipal employment anti-discrimination policies? Why not include West Palm Beach as the first public employer in Florida to provide domestic partnership benefits for municipal employees, which occurred in 1992? Why not include the 1995 referendum to repeal gay rights ordinance in West Palm Beach in 1994, the repeal effort was rejected by 56% of the voters? That was the first time in Florida that a gay rights law was upheld by the voters – in a landslide, no less,” wrote Hoch.
“And while it was great to see the inclusion of Darrin Gayles as the first out gay Black man confirmed as a federal judge in 2014, why not include me? I became the first openly gay judge in Florida's history twenty two years earlier – in 1992. If GLAAD can't be accurate, fair and consistent, maybe deleting the timeline would make more sense than making any further corrections,” added Hoch.
In response to Hoch, Zeke Stokes, GLAAD’s vice president of programs, wrote, “We very much appreciate your keen eye and will make the correction you spotted to the founding year of SAVE DADE. A new version reflecting that correction will be posted to GLAAD’s site in the coming days. If there are other factual errors, we are happy to correct those as well. We spent a great deal of time researching and fact-checking this document, but of course, we sometimes make mistakes and always welcome corrections.”