A collaboration between NewNowNext and D.C.-based think tank Media Matters for America released a new report concerning the coverage of LGBTQ representation on major news networks during Pride month.
According to recent predictions, the LGBTQ community comprises 4.5 percent of the population; however, according to the survey, the highest percentage of news coverage concerning LGBTQ issues was 1.6 percent of air time. This coverage was provided by ABC. The other major networks, cable news, and public programming scored significantly lower than ABC.
The numbers gathered by the collaborators on this project have distinguished that these numbers are an approximate due to survey limitations during air time, including re-aired segments and preempted programming (i.e. the French Open.) Specifically, each major news broadcaster scored as follows:
FOX News: 0.3%
During this period of time, the majority of news coverage about the LGBTQ community concerned the May 30 attack of a woman and her partner in London and the Trump administration’s policy banning the display of the Pride flag at U.S. embassies.
Little to no coverage was dedicated to the murders of five transgender women of color that occurred during pride month, including the death of Layleen Polanco at Rikers Island, who was placed in solitary confinement after the inability to pay a $200 bail. More Trump policies released during Pride month, which did not receive appropriate reporting, included the permission for homeless shelters to turn away transgender women and the allowance of foster and adoption agencies to turn away same-gender couples.
This lack of reporting comes concurrently with the defunding, layoffs, and closing of LGBTQ media and news desks. This follows a long legacy of mainstream media either ignoring or stereotyping the queer community (think the Lavender Scare or the AIDS Crisis). A shrinking density of queer media sources places the responsibility on broadcasting media who have the resources and reach to properly document and report on the news concerning the lives of LGBTQ individuals.
Within these circumstances, it is important to know that visibility does not produce equity, especially when the images and content are dictated by non-queer individuals. This responsibility needs to actively give such influence to stake holders in the community, expanding the opportunities beyond white, gay men.