Friday, April 11, 2008

The Media's Influence On the LGBT Movement

Earlier this week, I did my first “real” interview for the Washington Blade, for a profile article by Katherine Volin, see link:

At his brother’s ‘Place’

It got us thinking; does the media push away or pull in straight people who are not yet decided on the political views of the LGBTQ community?

I would like to try to open a discussion about both the positive and negative effects the media has on pushing the subject of LGBTQ rights. 

I would have to say to it has had a positive effect on straight people.  I think the media doest an excellent job of getting the facts out to the public while trying not to persuade people one way or another. 

I can, however, see how it might be a little redundant for some to be reading the same stories over and over though, but at least it is there for people to see everyday.  If does not appear daily, then it will be moved to the back burner and ignored until another tragedy occurs.  I believe it needs to be in the news very frequently in order to keep the facts fresh in people’s minds.  In the past, the LGBT stories were printed less frequently, which hurt.  It made the progress very slow, because people kept forgetting the facts, so in order to keep up to date they would have to re-read past articles, and writers would have to summarize the past events, in order to start a new story just to refresh the reader’s memory. 

Some people may think that LGBT stories are too numerous on a weekly or daily basis, but it is very important to keep it this way, because if people are annoyed with the story and tell others they are annoyed, then at least they are talking about the subject!  As long as people are talking about it, then it is 100% progress compared to years past when no one would even acknowledge the topic of Hate Crimes, Gay Marriage and LGBTQ rights in general. 

I have a biased opinion of course, because of my strong feelings and closeness to the subject, but I would like to hear from others on this topic, and on any topic, so please send any topics and questions to logansblog@matthewshepard.org, or you can post comments on any of my blogs and I will try to address the comments and questions that I feel can start dialogues and discussions.  I would like to get discussions started where I can take opposing sides; I am all about trying to open people’s minds to every possible side of an argument.  Being tolerant also means, being able to open your mind and see all sides of an argument. 

It is called, Empathy: Identification with and understanding of another's situation, feelings, and motives.  (Yahoo! Dictionary).

Even if you do not agree with someone else’s point of view, it needs to be understood where people are coming from and why, it can only add to your debate.  

3 comments:

jcmarsden said...

Logan, Jason Marsden here. I was so pleased to see the interview in the Blade; having missed D.C. for some years now, I read their site every week. Thanks so much for all the work you're doing for the foundation. You have a powerful story to tell and I think this blog is a terrific idea.
Warm regards, JM

Anglican said...

In my job as a high school English teacher, I often hear mean things said about gays. In fact, the students have re-defined "gay" to mean "bad."

When one of my students really goes over the top, I usually end-up having a talk with him about tolerance. Now that I have learned more about Matt's story, I have decided to carry a certain picture of him my wallet--the picture from your foundation that shows him as a young teenager wearing a plaid shirt and smiling with braces. It would be nice to know how old he was in that photo. He looks to be about 14.

In Dicken's A Christmas Carol, the ghost of Christmas Present reminds Scrooge that the "surplus population" has a human face. From now on, Matt will be my Tiny Tim--the real human being that these students want to humiliate and mistreat. I think the picture will make a big difference.

So, anyway, how old was Matt in the above-described photo?


Also, just for myself, I would like to know if Matt left behind any writings that throw light on his personality. If he did, maybe your family could publish some of them on the foundation site.

Australia Scott said...

Nowadays news is good. Back in the day, the only "news" you'd see about gay people was listing of new sex offenders caught committing sodomy. Public humiliation. News is neutral; the spin is what matters. Now, because the slant is in our favor, it's a good thing.

However, media in general, maybe not. I find sitcoms with gay characters are just turning gay people into minstrels for the amusement of the straights. 2D stereotypical harmless characters to be the butt of jokes. This is not helpful.

Luckily, less mainstream shows have been kind enough to put real fully-developed gay characters into series. I mean, the first thought that pops into mind is Six Feet Under, but there's definitely more. This showing of gay people as real characters who have more to them than mere sexuality, that's the best thing media can do in my opinion.