Thursday, April 8, 2010

Gay Activist Jarrett Barrios Speaks OUT

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson, Host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Jarrett Barrios, President of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. GLAAD is dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a way of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. At the upcoming L.A. GLAAD Media Awards on April 17th Constance McMillen the gay student that was not allowed to bring her girlfriend to the Prom in the Mississippi Prom-gate will be presenting the Stephen F. Kolzak Award to Wanda Sykes. This award is given to an openly gay member of the entertainment or media community for his or her work toward eliminating homophobia.

LGBTQ teens are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. When asked about the current climate of bullying and homophobia in our schools Barrios stated, “You can certainly legislate aspired-to behaviors but you can’t legislate fairness. You can’t legislate the way people treat their lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender families, friends and neighbors. What gets people to change their minds is seeing (LGBT) people in the community and understanding them as siblings, as neighbors, as friends and understanding the barriers they face. The aspirations we have are exacting what everyone else wants out of life. To be accepted, respected and understood for the work that we do in our community. That’s not something unfortunately which everyone agrees with or everyone appreciates. The visibility that we try to promote with the GLAAD Media Awards is really about holding out those best examples of our visibility in entertainment, in media, so we can encourage other outlets like newspaper cover stories, visual media, television, movies to continue pushing forward with these sort of images and raising the bar because these images are transforming America and making it easier for the Constances of the world who want to go to the prom because classmates and parents will have a better understanding of who we are. Not that we’re the antithesis of America, we are in fact the heart of what the American experiment was about in the very beginning. ‘Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness’, that’s our goal.”

Barrios also commended Ricky Martin for coming out which provides a positive role model for LGBT youth. In addition to Wanda Sykes, Drew Barrymore will be honored with the Vanguard Award. Singer Adam Lambert will perform and cast members of Glee are scheduled to attend the Los Angeles ceremony. The San Francisco GLAAD Media Awards are on June 5. Here Media will be televising the edited version of the events combined with the New York GLAAD Awards that we covered on the Red Carpet last month.
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