#GiveItBack – The History of GLAAD saying “A is for-” and #WeGotYourBack

To save the history of disability friendly online activism, one must recap it. So this is about the blog’s 2015′s #GiveItBack campaign and how cool @glaad was about it, and how they continue to really show the fuck up lol 

The earliest post I can find is from 2003 debating if aces wanted to add an A letter to the English speaking alphabet soup that is the common acronym. It’s been a long standing question however. There’s always been thoughtless reasons, and thoughtful reasons why A could be ally or an endless amount of things.

But our story really starts in 2015. With GLAAD’s #GotYourBack campaign. GLAAD as a nonprofit is huge, and media watchdogs for the community at large. They will praise good representation of LGBTQ characters, and call out harmful stereotypes or the lack of diversity itself. 

#GotYourBack started as an ally focused event. As you can see in this screen cap below it’s focus was #GotYourBack but also [A] if for Ally.

#GiveItBack GLAAD Allyship

And for much of the non-AVEN ace community that this centered allies at the cost of our communities. This was on the heels of years of feeling excluded from the community at large. While that wasn’t GLAAD’s intent, it was a sign that the asexual community was not on their radar.

Awareness and fighting invisibility was key issue to the community at that time.

#GiveItBack was the hashtag coined by Fuck Yeah Asexual on tumblr. They asked GLAAD to change their phrasing towards inclusion. And not at a cost to others. We started with A for Asexual, but very quickly we realized could ask more than that. Why not share the A with any queer identity that inherently facing a negative? Within the first day of reaching out to GLAAD, A stood for Asexual, Aromantic, and Agender. While aces and aros didn’t feel included at all, tons of agender people also didn’t feel seen in ‘big tent’ organizations. So a-specs said, ‘We get that, you can be heard with us.’ 

GLAAD agreed within 3 days. An impressive feat for a group that large. (AVEN disagreed. And made its first public statement in 3 months. Belittling the work of non-AVEN activism, and was a message that stayed on AVEN’s front page for at least another year. Despite their founder praising FuckYeahAsexual’s lead activism.)

#GiveItBack GLAAD Allyship

“Acceptance of LGBT people, not just among non-LGBT folks, but also members of our own community. And this includes increasing acceptance of and being good allies to the Asexual, Agender, and Aromantic community.

“Let us say without equivocation, the ‘A’ in LGBTQIA represents millions of Asexual, Agender, and Aromantic people who are far too often left out of the conversation about acceptance.

“Part of being a good ally is learning how and when to do better for those people you support. For us, that means making sure the Asexual, Agender, and Aromantic community knows we’re #GotYourBack.” 

This is the best apology I’ve even seen in my life. May ever see. It not only says sorry, it says it is their duty to constantly do better based on community sentiment. It also absolutely follows the meaning of their #GotYourBack campaign. 

Not only in that, but in next few days did GLAAD further change the campaigns branding to no longer center A is for Ally.

#GiveItBack GLAAD Allyship

This is absolutely how you do it.

This was asexuality’s first huge endorsement of “Yeah, you’re us, we see you. #GotYourBack.”

And the following year in 2016, #GiveItBack was used against to call out American Apparel’s ally focused rainbow capitalism. Further raising awareness for asexuals, aromantics and agender people. It trended as an article on Buzzfeed, Yahoo News wrote about what the A was supposed to mean. 

#GiveItBack Allyship

And American’s Apparel also used both hashtags from the GLAAD precedent in their apology. Not as good as GLAAD’s declaration of acceptance but again it’s a clothing company. 

#GiveItBack American Apparel Allyship

And not only did GLAAD help set the standard by listening to use “tumblr aces” it also continued to include more queer diversity in other projects they did. Like in these 2016 #SpiritDay posts.

#GiveItBack GLAAD Allyship #SpiritDay

And in 2020, I learned that because of the 2015’s #GiveItBack campaign, GLAAD reached out to ace communities to include such a-spec heavy arcs in Bojack Horseman from 2016-2020.

Like GLAAD originally said, your voice matters. Use it. You just might accidentally sent a new standard for how people treat you, and your whole community, with respect. Continue reading about our asexual activism here.

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