×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

GLAAD President on How the ‘Together’ Movement Can Unite Divided Communities (Op-Ed)

GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis explains why the ampersand symbol, worn by Sting, Colleen Atwood and others on Oscar night, was chosen as the new Together symbol to support marginalized communities. 

What’s in an &?

In these first weeks of the Trump administration, the attacks against Americans have been so quick and harsh that turning on the news can feel like whiplash. One day Muslim Americans are being targeted; another day, it’s undocumented immigrants — or even those with green cards; last week, transgender youth were sent an alarming message that under this administration, their rights will no longer be defended.

The Trump administration is seeking to divide Americans — to turn us against one another, to take advantage of prejudices and fears for their gain. There is no more important time for Americans to come together, to celebrate our unique and layered identities, our complexity, and our many intersections, and to fight for every single person to be accepted exactly as we are.

The truth is, none of us has just one identity. For example, I’m gay, but that’s not all I am — I’m a woman, a wife and mom, a New Yorker and an American. When the Trump administration reduces us to a single component of who we are, they dehumanize us, which makes it easier to strip away our rights.

At GLAAD, we have no intention of letting that happen. That’s why we’re proudly unveiling the Together movement as a rallying point for all people to come together and fight for full acceptance. Using platforms from local protests and sit-ins all the way to the Oscar’s red carpet and the media, Together is about showing solidarity and speaking up to resist forces that try to divide. This movement’s presence on television, social media, and in everyday life will help form an unyielding bond of unity that cannot be ignored.

In the 1960s and 70s, the American LGBTQ rights movement chose a rainbow as its symbol — at that time, the goal was visibility. In the 90s and 2000s, as the movement evolved to be inclusive of LGBTQ people, our symbol became an equal sign to reflect our shared struggle for equal rights and protections under the law.

The LGBTQ community intersects with with every community in America, so it doesn’t make sense to fight for LGBTQ acceptance in a vacuum. The fight for immigrant rights is an LGBTQ fight. The fight for black lives is an LGBTQ fight. We have to wage and win these fights together.

That’s why the symbol of the Together movement is not a rainbow flag, not an equal sign, but an ampersand: &. Because every single one of us contains multiple identities, and every single one of us has the right to be loved, accepted, and treated with dignity and equality in all of our communities. The & means that our differences don’t divide us; they unite us. They make us strong.

In his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. famously wrote that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. It’s worth remembering what he wrote next:

“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly… Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.”

At a time when so many of us feel outside and forgotten — or worse, targeted and afraid — we must remember that we are all part of something special. This nation was founded on the idea that people of varying faiths and ideologies could determine our own destinies, and over time, that idea has evolved to include people of all races, genders, and identities.

We’re still evolving, and we still have so much work to do. We can only achieve full acceptance for all Americans if we all accept and embrace our full identities. Together, we can build a brighter, more accepting future for everyone in America.

 

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • In ‘Motherless Brooklyn,’ Edward Norton Takes

    In ‘Motherless Brooklyn,’ Edward Norton Takes on Timeless Power Struggles

    In Edward Norton’s “Motherless Brooklyn,” the ‘50s-set New York noir detective story he produced, directed, wrote and stars in, politics are never far from the surface. But they’re not the obvious parallels to any racist autocrats from New York of modern times, but instead focus on more timeless politics – the way disabled people and [...]

  • 'Joker' Cinematographer Lawrence Sher Wins at

    'Joker' Cinematographer Lawrence Sher Wins at EnergaCamerimage Film Festival

    “Joker” cinematographer Lawrence Sher’s bid, along with director Todd Phillips, to try something “perhaps even a bit artful” won big Saturday in Torun, Poland as he took the top prize at the EnergaCamerimage Intl. Film Festival. The Golden Frog for cinematography, along with the audience prize, went to his work filming Joaquin Phoenix in the [...]

  • Roberto Schaefer

    Netflix Image Enhancement Rules Take Cinematographers by Surprise

    A Netflix requirement that cinematographers capture films in HDR, or high dynamic range, has taken many by surprise, filmmakers say, but those at the 27th EnergaCamerimage festival in Poland seem increasingly accepting of the change. DP Roberto Schaefer, whose “Red Sea Diving Resort” screened at the cinematography fest in the historic city of Torun, said [...]

  • Lech Majewski and Josh Hartnett

    Lech Majewski on ‘Valley of the Gods,’ Navaho Mythology, Josh Hartnett, Keir Dullea

    TORUN, Poland – In his latest work, “The Valley of the Gods,” director Lech Majewski explores the ancient mythology of a downtrodden people and the absurd wealth of the world’s richest man in a surreal vision of modern America. The film screened at the EnergaCamerimage Intl. Film Festival as part of special showcase honoring Majewski, [...]

  • The Red Sea Diving Resort

    Cinematographer Roberto Schaefer on Gideon Raff's Thriller ‘The Red Sea Diving Resort’

    TORUN, Poland – While Gideon Raff’s Netflix thriller “The Red Sea Diving Resort” shot largely in South Africa and Namibia, the project was a welcomed opportunity for cinematographer Roberto Schaefer due to his own memorable travels through Ethiopia. The film, which screened in the EnergaCamerimage Intl. Film Festival’s Contemporary World Cinema section, is loosely based [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content