GLAAD Is In The Midst of Major Board and Financial Problems, Lack of Transparency Issues And Now The Possibility Of Grant Misappropriations. We Need To Ask More Questions and We Need To Get Some Answers

There have been many problems exposed with The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation Organization over the past two weeks thanks to the diligent research and effort by Michael Petrelis of the The Pertrelis Files.   Since New president Jared Barrios has taken over internal strife within the organization has GLAAD Board Members are leaving in the droves and with their departure fundraising is dropping seriously and now there are questions about a 2009 Foundation Grant given by the Arcus Foundation to GLAAD to “help LGBT Bloggers” might be being misused.  But as usual getting any straight, answers or information from GLAAD is like banging your head against a brick wall.

Here is hat we know thus far.

Last year Jarret Barrios who is former member of both the Massachusetts House of Representatives , the Massachusetts Senate and  the former President of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation became President of GLAAD and since that time according to former GLAAD co-chair Laurie Perper GLAAD’s inner workings have been spiraling out of control. 

According to Pepar  9 board members have left since the arrival of Jarrett Barrios, 5 senior team leaders out of 8 have left and the reserve fund is down by 2/3rds. Many other board members have agreed to stay thru Oct. for appearances.  There are serious behind the scenes problems at GLAAD that many say lead back to Barrios. 

In full disclosure I know Jarrett Barrios from back when I lived in Boston, MA.  Here’s an antidote that sums up Jarret nicely.  Back in 2005-2006 when same sex marriage was still a hot button issue and anti-gay marriage foes were attempting to push legislature through to overturn it and there were mass debates, fights and actions at the State House, Barrios instead of focusing 100 percent on lobbying against the legislation found it more important to take time to work on and introduce legislature banning the FLUFFERNUTTER SANDWICH because he was pissy that his son was served one at school as lunch.  Barrios later dropped his legislative crusade against the Fluffernutter when he learned after the fact that Jelly, jam, and honey had more sugar and calories.  What does this have to do with GLAAD you might say?  Maybe nothing.  But It does give insight into the man that seems to be tearing the organization apart.

Now another recent GLAAD problem Mike Petrelis had found had to do with a 2009 Foundation Grant to GLAAD from the Arcus Foundation to help LGBT Bloggers. 

Screenshot from the Arcus Page:

Petrelis reached out to popular LGBT Bloggers across the web including myself, Pam’s House Blend, Joe. My. God, Towleroad, The Billerico Project, Good As You, AmericaBlog Gay and Queerty asking if we have ever heard of this or if GLAAD had ever been in contact.  To which the unanimous answer was no.  In the past two weeks Mike Petrelis has written to both GLAAD and The Arcus Foundation asking about this and his emails have not been returned.
I took it upon myself to follow-up on what happened to the LGBT Blogger Foundation Grant.  I emailed Jarret Barrios who forwarded my email to Richard Ferraro who answered my questions about the Grant in one sentence missives.  The grant was not intended or given for this reason. It was given to build GLAAD’s internal capacity to better work with bloggers and in the digital space”  
Now that really does not sound like what is written on the Arcus Grant page so I pressed Ferraro further and this was his second and last response on the matter. “GLAAD’s digital team is still developing web advocacy tools and the formal program – and we will be enlisting the help of many in the blogosphere on its development.”
So let me get this straight.  The $80,000.00, Grant that was made is supposed to help almost 2 years ago to GLAAD to work with LGBT bloggers to “strengthen their message and get them to the mainstream media and make our sites more financially responsible”  what The  Arcus Foundation granted the money for will be used so GLAAD can better work with Bloggers in their “internal space” and they want us to help them build a program that they got $80,0000.00 to build.  A  grant and program that none of us would have heard of if Mike Petrelis didn’t stumble upon it on the Arcus Grants page.  There is something definitely wrong there.
(And here’s a personal note to Richard Ferraro and Jarret Barrios.  If you want to better work with LGBT Bloggers. perhaps you should try to actually answer some of their e-mails, and the ones that you do answer perhaps something more than a one sentence condescending missive might actually get your message out better.  And build some bridges.  That might help GLAAD and it costs nothing.)
So here it is in a nutshell.  GLAAD is falling apart, Board members who worked hard and gave the organization their all  for so  many years are jumping ship left and right, there is absolutely no transparency In the organization,  Barrios seems to feel that he is above\answering to anyone, fundraising is down, and now there is a possibility that GLAAD is misusing Grant monies.  And yet only one blogger, Mike Petrelis has picked up on the story and has the guts to run with it
GLAAD is in serious trouble and that trouble is being caused internally and there are many serious questions that need to be answered,   Both Barrios and Ferraro seem to think that  they and GLAAD  are above answering them  to “lowly bloggers”.  (Even thought hey received 80k to do just that)
I do know that other LGBT Blogs and a few Mainstream news sites do actually read my posts from time to time so I am asking you to look into and report on this story and to push GLAAD for some answers.  They are not above being questioned about their internal working and any possible misappropriations, and they are not above having to give answers for them. 
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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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