Tuesday, June 21, 2011

GLAAD Co-Chair is Straight

(Russell Simmons, GLAAD's Roxanne Jones, Al Sharpton and GLAAD's Scott E. Miller attend the 22nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards presented by ROKK Vodka on March 19, 2011 in New York City. Credit: Larry Busacca, Getty Images.)

Do you recall my post in September about many problems at the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, including the fact that a board co-chair was a straight woman and GLAAD omitted that info from a number of releases? Exactly a year ago, Roxanne Jones of EPSN Publishing was elected co-chair of the group, and nothing was mentioned about her heterosexuality in the GLAAD announcement.

Given the recent hoaxes of phony lesbians at the Gay Girl in Damascus and LezGetReal sites, and the ensuing community-wide discussion about straight allies speaking either as lesbians or on behalf of them, I would think there would be some attention paid to the straight woman who is GLAAD's co-chair.

But Jones' straight identity is not referenced in any of the news accounts in the past few days about the resignation of GLAAD's abysmally incompetent leader Jarrett Barrios and the controversy surrounding their view on the AT&T/T-Mobile merger.

Not in the Boston Globe:

Roxanne Jones, cochairwoman of the board of directors, confirmed in a statement that Barrios had resigned and said the board would discuss the matter tomorrow.

Same goes for a DC gay publication:

Beyond that, however, Roxanne Jones was unable to provide Metro Weekly with many specifics in a discussion about recent happenings at the media watchdog organization over recent weeks.

Also silent her straight status is the Boston Herald:

GLAAD co-chair Roxanne Jones said the board received Barrios’ resignation letter and discussed it on a conference call Sunday night.

Nothing from 365gay.com:

Roxanne Jones, co-chair of  GLAAD’s board of directors, emailed us this statement ...

One online source confirming Jones' non-gay identity comes from GLAAD's page on her, bolding mine:

And she was also elected co-chair of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) becoming the first straight ally to head a national LGBT organization.

Very odd, even by GLAAD's low and dubious standards, that this straight ally distinction was omitted from their announcement about her election as co-chair.

As far as I can tell, Jones is the only voice and face right now for GLAAD before the media and gay community. Yep, a straight woman is speaking for this gay group and by extension the LGBT community.

Here's a radical idea. Each time a gay blogger or reporter, or someone in the mainstream press writes about GLAAD or quotes Jones, it is clearly stated that she is a heterosexual and that the group's co-chair is not a lesbian.


Anonymous said...

odd. odder that tony dungy who supports right wing doctrine wrote the introduction for her book.

Anonymous said...

Does GLAAD have an official policy outlining how people are added to their board?

Unknown said...

excellent question about how folks get on the GLAAD board. sorry, but i don't have the answer for you. we really need tons of transparency and accountability from this group and all gay inc groups.

Anonymous said...

It appears, and I stress "appears", that a high number of board members were added over the last 24 months. Was that due to terms ending, exits or the desire to increase the size of the board for fundraising purposes? Also, what is the criteria for joining the GLAAD board?

Stephen R. Stapleton said...

I think the entire point of the gay rights movement is to make one's sexual orientation not an issue in hiring and employment. I would oppose the ACLU asking about the sexual orientation of a potential staff member and would expect GLADD doesn't ask their prospective employees. There are some states, California being one of them, where such a question would be illegal.

Unless there is some actual evidence of wrong-doing, I think we need to assume Roxanne Jones was the best candidates of those who applied. I think we should assume her sexual orientation was not a consideration in hiring. I would certainly hope so.

Anonymous said...

Would the NAACP allow a White board co-chair? Just asking. Or the co-chair for the Anti-Defamation League being a non-Jew? Or the co-chair of the National Organization for Women be a male? If these other organizations "justify" having co-chairs on their boards as relevant to the communities they represent, GLAAD can, too. Why is it these other organizations "hire their own", but the gay organization can't??

Anonymous said...

I have no problem at all with the fact that Jones is straight, even if that is not mentioned each time her name comes up related to GLAAD. However I do have a problem that she was absent until this crisis. The reason that she is the voice of GLAAD now is because the other co-Chair is a Conservative Republican and has a history with Troup Coronado (the Board member who started this mess). My guess is the other co-Chair does not want to speak on this because he might be asked what he knew, and when he knew it.

Unknown said...

and the other glaad co-chair is a guy named scott e. miller and his glaad bio mentions his work for president george herbert walker bush:

Earlier in his career, Scott served in the George H.W. Bush administration in Washington, D.C. He worked at the U.S. Department of Labor in the areas of Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity, and later at The White House in Presidential Personnel where he recruited individuals for political appointments within the administration. Scott earned his bachelors degree in communications with a focus in public relations from the University of Alabama in 1988. He is a native of Birmingham, Alabama.


miller also served on the board of SF's now-defunct academy of friends. search the BAR archives for the recent history on AOF. miller left the AOF board before the group collapsed. BAR articles are here:

Anonymous said...

Has there been any statement from Miller about his involvement, and when exactly he knew about the AT&T letter? He does not seem to have done anything for the community that did not come with a chance to rub elbows with the stars (if he has, it is not on his bio). He and Jones both seem unqualified for their positions, but Miller seems to have stayed under the radar and will exit this much cleaner than his friend Troup Coronado.

Unknown said...

no, i have not seen any comments from scott miller about the AT&T flap or related controversies at glaad.