Per the article: "Unfortunately the larger problem here is that the word 'tranny' has become an easy punchline in popular culture, and many still don't realise that using the term is hurtful, dehumanising and associated with violence, hatred and derision against transgender people - a community that is nearly invisible in media today."
I can't comment on Jersey Shore...where would one even begin? But I watch gLee (when I can...I caught the Rocky episode). And I actually have friends who are transgendered or otherwise "gender queer". For the record, they don't all agree with which words are offensive and which should be "taken back". Some of them, I think, would opt to take ironic offense at GLAAD, an organization that acronym-ized the transgendered community out of their front line of their mission, taking such umbrage on their behalf.
Shum Jr.'s character is minor, and mostly comic relief...gangly, hapless, and one-dimensional, but generally sympathetic. Things that would hurt another character are just a canned-laughter cue for the Gilligans and Screeches of the television world. The scene where he used the word was peripheral and banter-y, and as a writer, I would say the lines did bear the marks of words having been chosen for comic effect alone, not to show any conflict or confusion in the character as a result of their being used. I have to agree with the quote from the report on that account, and even more strongly on the very real problems of fear and violence that gender-queer people face daily. I've coached a friend who was legitimately frightened for his life on the particulars of testicular cancer and the side-effects of treatment so he would have an alibi in case his co-workers at the mechanic shop ever catch on that he's strapping down his breasts. "Boys Don't Cry" is not fiction. The level of entitlement that people feel to abuse, torture, and dehumanize transgendered people would chill you if you ever saw it directed at someone who was real in your life.
In this case, I think that GLAAD *is* picking their battle wisely...gLee is a show that is very popular, and, more importantly, has a good chance of listening to the criticism and considering it. They're not wasting their breath, nor are they stepping outside of their functional purpose. It's not like they're trying to get the show canceled or anything. I doubt they will have any effect on the makers or lab animals of Jersey Shore, but the comparison serves to point out the sort of dogs one lies down with when capitalizing on ugliness for laughs.
Generally, if people hear "GLAAD" they tune out. But include the name of a show they're interested in and they might pay attention long enough to find out what was said and have some kind of counter-message enter their awareness.
Hence this thread, right?