The Verse’s Sofia Evans discusses the lacking representation of the LGBTQIA+ community within journalism and what we can do about this.
Why is it, that I can open a newspaper and see no columns dedicated to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual plus community? No pages on any positive stories referring to LGBTQIA+ lives. Nothing! I want to discuss this lack of representation in journalism and how it is solely focussed on this heterosexual ideal. When it comes to presenting a viewpoint that isn’t just straight and white and male, it’s barely shown. Why is it that I have to look online to find my community discussing today’s topics; yet the heteronormative society doesn’t even have to try? They are being represented left, right and centre. Why must I see only the negative — not even positive — stories addressing my community in one tiny text box within a newspaper. As the broadcasting industry makes efforts towards inclusion for tv shows and news reports, journalism seems to be stuck catching up.
I understand completely how many young people aren’t simply going to turn to The Sun or The Guardian every morning; not when they have social media and the internet at their fingertips. Except, what if the reason we aren’t turning to newspapers is that there are no modern takes on political arguments and the latest dilemmas? Perhaps then, the younger generation would be interested in these journals. Perhaps then, we wouldn’t let the newspaper industry crumble. By having a column specifically centred around the LGBTQIA+ communities’ struggles and/or triumphs, we’d be letting those voices be heard by more. For instance, the news of conversion therapy still being legal across the UK and how it was debated in court recently. Why was this story not plastered throughout every newspaper? Why did I only find out from a friend?
The Queer community has been in the shadows for so long and it’s only now that our voices are beginning to be heard. Many more are coming out and standing in front of the cameras representing a positive outlook on being part of the LGBTQIA+ community. Therefore, it should be now that the world is giving the us a bigger platform, in which we can reach a wider community. Then we could show future generations how far we’ve come. Proving to the world that being LGBTQIA+ isn’t something to ever be ashamed of. We are here, we are Queer and we are not hiding anymore.
The promotion of the LGBTQIA+ community within newspapers needs to be heightened to allow our voices to be heard and recognized as equal. However, should we really be sectioning off the Queer community as different and not accepting them as simply every other ‘normal’ person? Perhaps having a separate column would create a bigger divide between the LGBTQ+ community and the heterosexual society. We are, after everything, all human and should be treated equally. No? Yet equality versus equity are two vastly different things. You wouldn’t say to a man, “Oh it’s your turn to get pregnant now. It’s only fair”. Equality is about providing equal opportunities, whereas, equity is defined as the value of fairness. We need to be providing both, in terms of delivering inclusivity to all communities.
Giving the LGBTQIA+ community a chance to be seen within the journalist industry, would mean supplying inclusive representation throughout. For instance, if we added an LGBTQIA+ lead column within all public newspapers and journals, the community’s presence wouldn’t feel so hidden and out of place.
We need more coverage and representation, and we need it now.
Read more of Sofia’s work on her blog
By Sofia Evans