Pride Conversations: A Q&A with Ross Murray of GLAAD

by Anna Dreves

Pride Month this year is unlike any other. With so much change in the world around us, one thing remains the same: the significance of Pride to LGBT people, their friends and families. To help share and spread Pride this month, we’re conducting a series of Pride Conversations. These brief Q&As are designed to help expand on the meaning of Pride by involving people from various national LGBT organizations.

We’re so pleased to continue this series with Ross Murray, the senior director of education and training at GLAAD. Ross was instrumental in GLAAD’s initial support for the launch of Believe Out Loud and continues to work with us today through GLAAD’s Religion, Faith and Values Program. Thank you Ross!

At GLAAD, Ross “provides activist, spokesperson, and media engagement training and education for LGBTQ and allied community members and organizations desiring to deepen their media impact.” He helps to train a new generation of advocates to accelerate acceptance for LGBT people and other marginalized communities.

Of special note, Ross is also a consecrated Deacon in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and he is focused on efforts to bridge the LGBT and faith communities. What a fantastic person to participate in this series! You can read more about Ross in his bio here.

We asked Ross a few questions about Pride and about GLAAD’s plans. Here’s what he shared with us.

Q: What does Pride mean to you?

A: The beauty about a concept like Pride is that it is many things, and we get out of Pride what we put into it. For some, Pride is about being surrounded by a community of people who share or support your identity, maybe for the first time ever. The awe and wonder by first-time attenders I’ve seen demonstrate that they never knew that the LGBTQ community was so vast, diverse, and powerful. Pride is a march to remember a riot, so it is a physically stepping out of the shadows of oppression and discrimination. And we are still marching for an end to oppression and discrimination.

Q: How are you celebrating Pride this year?

 A: Both coronavirus and the uprising against white supremacy has changed how I participate in Pride this year. A lot more of the activity is moving to a virtual space, but Pride remains an action against oppression and discrimination. This year, the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmed Arbury have turned our Pride energy toward the murder of people who are Black and Brown. The murder and violence against Tony McDade, Layleen Cubilette-Polanco, and Iyanna Dior remind us of the overlap between the LGBTQ community and people of color. As a Christian, I remember these saints in my prayers for us to do better and be better as humans.

Q: How is GLAAD celebrating Pride this year?

 Recent events have changed many of our plans, but the core continues to be about lifting up the LGBTQ community in struggle and triumph. We are remembering the shooting at the Pulse Nightclub, four years later. I am speaking on behalf of GLAAD at the virtual New York City Pride Rally, asking people to take the pledge to vote this year to make our country live up to the values of freedom and justice for all. We are also doing a lot of work focused on training and education. Everyday people, corporations, and partner organizations are using this month to educate themselves about the LGBTQ community, and figure out what they can do, and we are working our best to give tangible actions that will positively benefit the LGBTQ community.

Thank you, Ross, for sharing your perspectives and insight with us. And thank you for the work you do!