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The Papal Visit: A journalist's guide to reporting on Pope Francis and the LGBT community

The Papal Visit: A journalist's guide to reporting on Pope Francis and the LGBT community

In preparation for Pope Francis' upcoming visit to the United States, GLAAD has released "The Papal Visit: A journalist's guide to reporting on Pope Francis and the LGBT community," a resource guide for journalists covering Pope Francis and LGBT Catholics.

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Written in both Spanish and English, the guidebook contains a timeline outlining some of the Pope's most prominent actions and statements about the LGBT community as well as best, practices, pitfalls, and terms to avoid when discussing LGBT Catholics. Further, the guide highlights LGBT-supportive Catholics, LGBT Catholic organizations, story ideas focusing on both LGBT acceptance and opposition among Catholics, and more.

Though the guide quotes anti-LGBT statements for reference, "Reporting on Pope Francis & LGBT People" amplifies those voices of support, which are often missing in the conversation.

The guide will be distributed to media prior to the Pope's visit, and will be a part of GLAAD's presence during the World Meeting of Families and the Papal visit in Philadelphia in September. GLAAD will be engaging with reporters in Philadelphia, providing them with resources and connecting them to LGBT organizations and individuals who will also be present.

"The Papal Visit" comes after a letter, signed by GLAAD's President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis and DignityUSA's Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke and endorsed with 29 additional sign-on organizations and people, was mailed directly to the Pope in July. It explains that LGBT people, including those in the Catholic Church, face "a compelling pastoral need" for "great healing and reconciliation." What the letter and its call to action detail is the gap between support among Catholic people for the LGBT community, and the harmful sentiments and policies of the Catholic hierarchy. 

Additionally, Ross Murray, GLAAD's Director of Programs, wrote an op-ed on Pope Francis's visit to Philadelphia. The piece was published exclusively by The Advocate. Murray's op-ed reflects on the state of the Catholic church's acceptance of LGBT people and what he hopes that the pope's visit to the U.S. could accomplish.

Murray states:

Contrary to popular belief, the heart of the Catholic Church is not just the bishops, cardinals, or even the pope. The heart of the church is the people of God, living out their everyday lives. They act in faith, following God's call to love their neighbor as themselves. Whether the neighbor is a loved one, an LGBT advocate, or even a stranger, loving involves listening and caring. It is through sharing personal stories that acceptance is fostered. The change is slow, but acceptance on an interpersonal level can lead to big changes — even in an institution like the Roman Catholic Church.

2012's Missing Voices, a study of religious voices in mainstream media, found that the media overwhelmingly quotes or interviews Christians with negative messages towards the LGBT community and that three out of four religious messages came from people whose religions have formal polices opposing LGBT equality.