In a surprising announcement, the Gay &
Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) said Neil G. Giuliano
would step down from his post as president, a position he has held
since September 2005.
In a statement released to the media on
Wednesday, the group said Giuliano was departing to “pursue
The decision comes a day after the
group announced its
nominations for the 20th annual GLAAD Media Awards.
Under Giuliano's leadership, the
group's budget grew from $7.5M to $11M. He was critical in bringing
new programs online and elevating the group's visibility, GLAAD said.
Criticism of traditional suit-and-tie
gay activists, and how they manage their political capital, began to
mount soon after voters in California passed a controversial
constitutional amendment on November 4 that yanked back the right of
gays and lesbians to marry in the state. The loss energized a
burgeoning grassroots gay movement that rejected checkbook activism
in favor of protests and demonstrations, while questioning the tone
of the gay movement, its playbook and many of its leading
The choice of Giuliano to head the
second largest gay and lesbian U.S. organization had always been
considered unorthodox. The former Tempe, Arizona mayor built a 10
year political career as a Republican, while the politics of most gay
advocates run blue.
And what's to become of Giuliano's
newly launched outreach project that addresses gay and lesbian
defamation in the vast sports media world?
Giuliano, 52, avoided all these topics,
only saying a book about his public and political life was in the
“I have informed the national board
of directors of my decision to step down as president late this year
and look forward to a successful and smooth transition of leadership
for GLAAD,” Giuliano said.
“It's been an honor and privilege to
work professionally in the movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender (LGBT) equality for the last three and a half years. The
views of the American people on LGBT issues are clearly moving in the
right direction, toward supporting full equality, and it has been a
great experience to serve on the front lines, leading an amazing
organization at such a historic time in the movement.”
Giuliano will remain at GLAAD until his
replacement is found.