With Valentine's Day just around the corner, media professionals will soon produce their annual feature stories of couples expressing their love and commitment to one another. More often than not, these stories focus exclusively on the relationships of straight couples, and thus fail to reflect the true diversity of our society by excluding LGBT couples. LGBT couples of color receive even less attention.
GLAAD's newly-revised Valentine's Day Media Resource Kit aims to assist media professionals with making their coverage of this special holiday more inclusive -- by underscoring the prevalence of loving and committed LGBT couples. For a reporter, whose job is to tell stories fairly, accurately and inclusively, the kit goes a step further by encouraging journalists to be more thoughful about the kinds of language they choose to use. It highlights the diversity in our community, noting for example that some LGBT couples use the word "partner" to describe their significant other, while others might use the terms "spouse," "girlfriend/boyfriend," "husband/wife," etc. Just as straight people come from different walks of life, LGBT people are diverse, too. We cross lines of gender, race, age, income, class, family structure, religion, geography and political affiliation. The resource kit elaborates on these themes and much more.
GLAAD's Valentine's Day Media Resource Kit encourages journalists to integrate LGBT couples into their Valentine's Day feature stories. Here's a sampling of topics reporters might cover:
-Couples looking back at how they met
-Valentine's Day weddings and anniversaries
-Dating trends (meeting online, blind dates, etc.)
-Valentine's Day events for singles
-Anniversaries of marriage equality legislation: Massachusetts (2004), Connecticut (2008), Iowa (2009), Vermont (2009), Washington, D.C. (2009) and New Hampshire (2009)
-A reporter might also be interested in telling the story of a gay or lesbian couple that's been together for several decades...and yet still can't get married in the state they call home.
Of course these ideas are just a sampling of the many that are provided in GLAAD's Valentine's Day Media Resource Kit.
With more than 1,049 daily newspapers in the United States now accepting announcements of same-sex unions (weddings, civil unions and commitment ceremonies), it's time that more journalists weave the stories of LGBT couples into their coverage of a holiday that holds meaning for all people who are so fortunate as to have a 'special someone' in their lives.
In addition to creating this kit, GLAAD will be pitching Valentine's Day stories to reporters across the country, particularly those states where marriage equality is making headlines.