GLAAD's Alabama and Mississippi media guides help journalists tell more #SouthernStories

GLAAD has released two media guides in its Southern Stories series -- one for journalists reporting on LGBT people in Alabama and another for reporting in Mississippi. The guides are designed for journalists and media outlets who are reporting on LGBT people in the two states. These guides come following GLAAD's second annual Accelerating Acceptance report continued to show increased discomfort with the LGBT by Americans living in the U.S. South, compared respondents overall nationally.

"Acceptance of the LGBT community in both Alabama and Mississippi is making steady progress, but our survey findings show that there is still more work to be done," said Ross Murray, Director of Programs, Global & U.S. South, at GLAAD. "With heightened levels of discomfort in the region, media have an even more important role to fairly and accurately tell LGBT stories. These guidelines will serve as useful tools for the media to do just that."

For the second year in a row, the Harris Poll conducted a survey on GLAAD's behalf to gauge the comfort levels on Americans towards their LGBT coworkers and neighbors. The survey findings show that Americans living in the U.S. South consistently have lower comfort levels than other regions of the nation in situations like seeing same-sex couples hold hands, having LGBT people at their religious place of worship, or seeing an LGBT coworker's wedding photo.

Despite important milestones like marriage equality, there is still much progress to be made for full LGBT acceptance and equality in both states. Many counties in Alabama and Mississippi do not have laws protecting members of the LGBT community from employment, housing, and public accommodations discrimination. Furthermore, transgender people are not guaranteed necessary medical care.

The new resources are part of GLAAD's Southern Stories initiative, which aims to positively showcase the lives of, and build acceptance for, the LGBT community in Southern states. This is done through sharing the stories of people from a wide array of backgrounds, including faith-based organizations, sports teams, military personnel, and more. The guides were developed in collaboration with the ACLU of Mississippi, AIDS Alabama South, Birmingham AIDS Outreach, Equality Alabama, and The PRISM Center. GLAAD will continue to work with the media to ensure positive portrayal of the LGBT community in both Alabama and Mississippi.