Bil Browning

The Changing World of LGB&T Media

Filed By Bil Browning | July 31, 2014 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: breaking news, changing times, media coverage, NBC

Yesterday, I got an alert on my phone telling me that a transgender teenager was stabbed on the Green Line metro here in DC. It was followed by another alert telling me it was a hate crime.

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Instant breaking news alerts are nothing new in the day of smart phones, but this one really affected me. Not only was I shocked and disgusted that yet another trans person has been violently attacked in DC, but I was also amazed that the alert had happened at all.

When Alex and I first started blogging here at Bilerico, it was a challenge to find gay news to post. It's one of the reasons why you saw a lot of non-LGBT political coverage when we were the main bloggers. News about transgender people was almost nonexistent unless it came from a reporter for an LGBT-specific publication. Even then, gay and lesbian stories made up the bulk of reporting.

Of course, we started Bilerico Project well before many of the other popular blogs started. Hell, Huffington Post started later than we did - let alone their LGBT ghetto section. HuffPo has become one of the largest aggregators of news now, but back in the day one of our common topics was pointing out how horrible the coverage was from mainstream media on LGBT issues and not just blockquoting or rewriting it.

For example, our coverage of a particularly atrocious story by an Indianapolis NBC station earned the reporter the "worst in the nation" award for his patently offensive reporting on the murder of a local transgender woman. To be fair, other outlets also flubbed the story, but after it was pointed out they corrected their pieces and invited me to come teach their reporters how to be more sensitive to LGBT issues in their reporting.

Now, a local NBC station is sending me alerts on my phone to tell me about a vicious attack on an LGBT person and the story is, for the most part, pitch perfect. (Yes, they say "transgendered" instead of "transgender," but in the grand scheme of things that's small potatoes.) As LGBT rights have quickly advanced, we have to credit the media for helping to make that change happen.

As I said on Facebook last night when I posted about the story, "I try to believe that we're going through this so the next generation of our tribe won't have to. I hope to see that day. At the rate things are going lately, maybe I will."


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