GLAAD Media Reference Guide - Introduction: Fair, Accurate & Inclusive

Introduction: Fair, Accurate & Inclusive

Fair, accurate and inclusive news media coverage has played an important role in expanding public awareness and understanding of LGBTQ people and issues that affect our lives. While LGBTQ acceptance and visibility continue to grow, our community, especially transgender people and LGBTQ people of color, continues to face discrimination, systemic racism, and negative policies and attacks on the local, state, and national levels.

Thanks to the work of GLAAD and so many other media advocates, mainstream news coverage of LGBTQ people and issues is more likely to be told in the same way as others — with fairness, integrity, and respect. Leading newsrooms and journalists know that LGBTQ people have the right to fair, accurate, and inclusive reporting of our stories and LGBTQ issues. GLAAD's Media Reference Guide, now in its 11th edition, offers education and guidance on telling LGBTQ people's stories in ways that bring out the best in journalism.

GLAAD’s News Department is committed to providing timely and accurate resources for media professionals. We believe 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.

This is GLAAD’s 11th edition of the Media Reference Guide, and it is our most comprehensive and inclusive yet. As understanding and visibility for LGBTQ communities grows and evolves, so does our language. This Guide is intended to be used by journalists reporting for mainstream media outlets and media creators 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.

For example, you may see some in the LGBTQ community say LGBTQ, some say LGBTQ+, others say SOGIESC (sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics, see the Glossary section), and others use additional acronyms. There is no one way to be LGBTQ, nor is there one way to describe LGBTQ people. In fact, you will see one practice recommended throughout the Guide: Ask people how they describe themselves, ask people their pronouns, and identify them in your coverage as such.

We hope you will find the information helpful and that you will reach out to GLAAD, or others featured in this guide, when looking for further information and potential interview sources. You can reach us at

Sarah Kate Ellis
President & CEO, GLAAD

Return to GLAAD Media Reference Guide Home