Pride Flag at the top of Blackpool Tower June 2015

LGBT media advocacy group, GLAAD is setting up a UK operation to support work overseas.

GLAAD, the American advocacy group working to promote positive media portrayals of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, has launched its UK operation as part of its growing global work to accelerate acceptance of the LGBT community. A celebrity launch event saw the likes of Made in Chelsea star Ollie Locke, ‘queen of shops’ Mary Portas, Coronation Street actor Charlie Condou and former NBA player John Amaechi mingle on Thursday (Oct 1st) as GLAAD UK officially landed in Great Britain.

Later this month a series of further announcements will be made at the group’s first-ever international board meeting, taking place at the House of Lords in central London. The two-day board meeting will see celebrities joining activists and politicians to discuss how to best address global LGBT issues.

“This is a timely and vital step forward to bring GLAAD’s critical work to the international community in a meaningful and powerful way. As a British Citizen, I am deeply proud GLAAD choose the United Kingdom to base our international operations. From London GLAAD will be able to help promote positive portrayals of LGBT people in the media – not only across the UK, but across Europe and further afield. I’m excited for GLAAD to partner with local organisations, media networks & companies and governments in supporting the international LGBT community.” – Anthony Watson, member of GLAAD’s Board of Directors

GLAAD will devote more than $1million to its international programme and has from the 1st October set up its new UK operation with one full-time member of staff solely devoted to LGBT global issues.

The launch marks the springboard for GLAAD’s international work, which to date includes lending ground support to activists in Ireland’s marriage equality referendum earlier this year, and ensuring FIFA addressed anti-LGBT slurs at the 2014 World Cup. GLAAD is also currently working to support LGBT activists in Nigeria, Russia, Jamaica, and China.

Additionally, GLAAD will be announcing the extension of its celebrated Spirit Day campaign, now in its sixth year, with special initiatives for London planned to take place on 15th October, when the world will “go purple” in a stand against bullying and in support of LGBT youth. The day of awareness has previously seen celebrities, corporations, schools, and U.S. landmarks, including the White House, Times Square, and the Empire State Building turn purple in support of LGBT youth.

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