In a recent piece for Time, Brandon Ambrosino offered an interesting observation concerning the recent imbroglio between the gay advocacy group GLAAD and the A&E cable network. In his piece, Ambrosino wondered aloud if GLAAD had reached its “expiration date.”
Ambrosino, a gay writer from Baltimore, was conscientious to point out that when it was first founded in 1985, GLAAD did good work for the gay and lesbian community by holding the media to inclusive standards and aiding in the normalization of gays in our society.
However, with the decision by A&E to ignore GLAAD’s demands that Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson be fired, the Time columnist wondered if GLAAD had lost its once formidable powers to force its will on businesses.
Ambosino was not shocked that a family of Christians from Louisiana had strict, Biblically based ideas about homosexuality, nor was he surprised that A&E had a “kneejerk response” to GLAAD’s early demands. What did surprise him was that, in the long run, A&E ignored GLAAD’s demands and reinstated Phil Robertson to his reality TV show.
“A few years ago, I couldn’t imagine a network disregarding GLAAD’s recommendations. A&E is certainly setting a precedent — which makes me wonder about where we are today with queer politics,” Ambrosino wrote.
Could GLAAD be superfluous now? That was Ambrosino’s thought provoking question.
The writer said, “as America edges closer and closer to unqualified and full inclusion of LGBT persons, I wonder if an organization whose raison d’etre is to find and shame instances of discrimination isn’t just a bit archaic.”
As he ended his editorial, Ambrosino fully expounded on his premise that GLAAD was fast coming to the end of its outsized powers.
If our goal is to progress beyond defamation against LGBT persons, then that means GLAAD has a sell-by date. To put it in a different, albeit cheekier way: Defamation is good for GLAAD’s business. To bankrupt our society of LGBT defamation would certainly put GLAAD out of work. It’s hard for me to imagine I’m the only one who’s wondered about this. In fact, GLAAD’s recent name-change only confirms that their leadership has been reexamining and revising their purposes moving forward. Again, I’m not suggesting our world doesn’t need GLAAD: There certainly is a place for them. But A&E’s latest reversal should make us question what exactly that place is.”
One might say the same about other advocacy groups; there certainly is a sell-by date for all of them. After all, do we still have a large and powerful Women’s Suffragist group out there? Where are the Prohibitionists? They are all history now. As Ambrosino might say, they’ve reached their “expiration date.”