GLAAD LAUNCHES GUIDE FOR MEDIA COVERING STATE LEGISLATION TARGETING LGBTQ PEOPLE; URGENTLY CALLS ON MEDIA TO REPORT THE FACTS AND INCLUDE LGBTQ VOICES

February 1, 2022

GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, is releasing its Guide for Media Covering State Legislation Targeting LGBTQ People, a look at the 2022 wave of bills in the states and how journalists locally and nationally can cover them accurately and inclusively.

Just one month in, 2022 is a record-setting year for state legislation targeting LGBTQ people, with nearly 150 anti-LGBTQ bills proposed. This follows 2021’s record of proposed bills targeting transgender Americans’ access to education, athletics, healthcare, and bathrooms. 

According to Freedom for All Americans, most bills (83) target transgender people and youth, followed by a surge of school policy bills (54) banning classroom conversation and books about LGBTQ people under the guise of “parents’ rights,” like Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

The GLAAD Guide can be read here.

The Guide includes a checklist for media covering the bills:

  • Include expertise over opinion proposed in the bills and lawmakers behind them. Every major medical association supports transgender youth healthcare and access to sports; the American Library Association, the National Coalition Against Censorship, GLAAD and 600+ groups and individuals support LGBTQ and race inclusive books and access to them. 
  • Challenge lawmakers and others targeting LGBTQ people to provide evidence to their claims.
  • Seek interviews with LGBTQ families and parents in discussions about “parents’ rights” in schools. At least 3 million LGBTQ people are raising children, 6 million children have at least one LGBTQ parent, and more young people are out as LGBTQ than any previous generation.
  • Include context about the bills’ impact on vulnerable youth - even as 90% of bills failed to become law last year, youth still suffer from the targeting and rhetoric - crisis contacts to The Trevor Project suicide and risk prevention rose 150% last year after Texas’ record-setting number of bills targeting transgender children.
  • Include LGBTQ voices. Any story about LGBTQ people or issues should include interviews with LGBTQ people.

Quote from GLAAD President and CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis: 

"We are facing an even more extreme year of legislation aimed at LGBTQ people and youth, with bills filled with harmful misinformation. GLAAD urges reporters to rigorously cover these bills and refer to our guide for more accurate storytelling. We are in a dangerous time of increasing authoritarianism and silencing. The media must hold public servants accountable for targeting LGBTQ people with state-sponsored discrimination.”

Additional research:

  • Freedom for All Americans tracks anti-LGBTQ legislation across the U.S.
  • Polls show wide support for laws protecting LGBTQ people - 76%. Less than one in five Americans (19%) oppose nondiscrimination protections for LGBT Americans.