Posted by: outandequal | August 22, 2012

Unity: Mainstream Media and LGBT Issues

by April Hawkins, Out & Equal Senior Communications Associate | I had the great opportunity to participate in Unity 2012 as part of Out & Equal’s outreach to journalists. Unity* is a strategic alliance of several minority journalist associations which advocates fair and accurate news coverage about people of color, and recently lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals.

LZ Granderson was one of the biggest highlights of the event. During the opening plenary discussion about personal identity, he reminded everyone: “diversity is more than skin.”  His comment followed a misstep by Mark Whitaker, executive vice president and managing editor of CNN Worldwide, who claimed that the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) left Unity because of the new presence of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalist Association (NLGJA). Granderson is a member of both the NABJ and the NLGJA.

Race and LGBT diversity issues were a hot topic throughout the conference. One workshop focused on ways to increase LGBT presence in the media. Some LGBT participants offered a great suggestion: the press needs to showcase lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in stories that are not LGBT specific. For example, in the Presidential election, the mainstream media can include coverage of LGBT voters when conducting election day interviews.

There was also a discussion questioning whether the mainstream media places enough emphasis on issues that affect the LGBT community. What do you think: does mainstream media spend enough time covering LGBT issues like workplace discrimination and marriage equality? Vote now

*Unity includes the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the Native American Journalists Association, and the Asian-American Journalists Association. The National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association joined Unity for the first time this year.

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