This month the Gay Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) announced a new series of “Be an Ally a Friend” public service announcements featuring 22 top entertainers.

Sports stars John Amaechi, and Martina Navratilova, join award-winning actors like Marlee Matlin and T.R. Knight in these spots about acceptance and the harmful power of anti gay words.

Formed in 1985 GLAAD was established to educate Hollywood’s entertainment industry on the importance of more accurate and realistic portrayals of gay people on the screen.

Since its inception it has created opportunities for gay people and has raised awareness of the gay community.

Because of their work, negative and imbalanced portrayals of the community have decreased while lesbians and gay men have been increasingly incorporated in nearly every type of media platform.

The new “Be an Ally a Friend” is a series of 20-30 second spots that are designed to stress the importance of accepting gay friends and family members.

They also warn about words of hate and encourage a meaningful coexistence between straight and gay people.

“[The] campaign empowers each and every one of us to make a difference in the lives of loved ones by listening to and supporting those who come out.

“The straight allies and community members who gave their time and energy to this campaign deserve our deepest thanks for participating in this effort to reach a critical audience,” said GLAAD President Neil G. Giuliano.

The new ads will feature some of the most influential gay and gay-friendly celebrities and a new one will be released every two weeks.

To view a full list of stars or to watch the first ad, featuring Amaechi, Rachel Griffiths, Knight, Matlin, Navratilova and Jerry O’Connell visit www.glaad.org.

Dylan Vox © 2007 GaySports.com; All Rights Reserved.