Fair, accurate, and inclusive news media coverage has played an important role in expanding public awareness and understanding of LGBTQ people. However, many reporters, editors, and producers continue to face challenges covering LGBTQ issues in a complex, sometimes rhetorically charged, climate.
Media coverage of LGBTQ people has become increasingly multi-dimensional, reflecting both the diversity of the community and the growing visibility of LGBTQ people's families and relationships. As a result, reporting that remains mired in simplistic, predictable "progay"/" anti-gay" dualisms does a disservice to readers seeking information on the diversity of opinion and experience within the LGBTQ community. Misinformation and misconceptions about LGBTQ people's lives can be corrected when journalists diligently research the facts and debunk the myths (such as pernicious claims that transgender people pose a danger in public bathrooms) that often are used against LGBTQ people.
There continues to be a need for journalists to distinguish between opposing viewpoints on LGBTQ issues and the defamatory rhetoric that fuels prejudice and discrimination. While defamatory comments may be newsworthy, they should not be used simply to provide "balance" in a news story.
Unfortunately, anti-LGBTQ individuals and organizations continue to see their incendiary rhetoric and inaccurate, sensationalistic distortions of LGBTQ people's lives legitimized through news stories, features, and profiles. Such inclusion, despite the best efforts of reporters striving for fair and accurate coverage, devalues the quality of journalism and misinforms audiences.
In an era when LGBTQ people's lives increasingly intersect with mainstream media coverage of family, faith, the economy, health care, politics, sports, entertainment, and a myriad of other issues, we at GLAAD are committed to providing timely and accurate resources for media professionals. GLAAD believes the best coverage allows readers, viewers, and listeners to form their own conclusions based on factual information, compelling stories, and appropriate context. We ask that you help give audiences that opportunity in your coverage of LGBTQ people and issues.
GLAAD's Media Reference Guide is intended to be used by journalists reporting for mainstream media outlets and by creators in entertainment media who want to tell the stories of LGBTQ people fairly and accurately. It is not intended to be an all-inclusive glossary of language used within the LGBTQ community, nor is it a prescriptive guide for LGBTQ people.
Sarah Kate Ellis
President & CEO, GLAAD