The LGBTQIA+ news sector is a thriving part of Australia's media industry. Journalists working in this space share stories that define the community's culture, explore its history, and celebrate its triumphs.
For those working in this sector, or hoping to pitch content in this space, it is vital to understand the nuances in the LGBTQIA+ landscape in order to appropriately inform and entertain its audiences.
Telum spoke to two LGBTQIA+ podcasts, OUTcast Podcast and Innies + Outies on the five things you need to know about storytelling in this space.
Rosie Pentreath - Writer / Producer / Presenter of OUTcast Podcast
1. Celebrate diversity:
The LGBTQIA+ spectrum is as diverse as you could imagine. Pitching and covering queer topics means you're telling diverse stories, but don’t rest on your laurels. If you’re a PR pitching stories about, or relevant to LGBTQIA+ people, make sure they’re from diverse genders, ethnic backgrounds, sexualities, ages and experiences. It stopped being okay to only tell cis white gay middle-aged male stories long ago.
2. Always listen:
Whether you’re new to experiencing and telling LGBTQIA+ stories or well-versed in what the community has gone through past and present, never stop listening and learning as you cover or pitch stories.
3. Stories matter:
People remember well-told stories better than they do dry facts. Telling and listening to diverse and inspiring LGBTQIA+ stories is a crucial part of broadening the education and awareness of LGBTQIA+ issues and history. Always think: “Am I telling a story here or simply relaying facts?”
4. "New normal":
The more stories of LGBTQIA+ people that are out there, the more “normal” they become and the more accepted queer people become. How wonderful!
5. Spread joy:
On OUTcast Podcast, as well as hearing some hard-to-listen-to experiences of hate and rejection, we're always overwhelmed by guests’ stories of love and hope. Every episode, we ask our guests to tell us what gives them hope and week-to-week, there’s a palpable joy that comes from their answers. LGBTQIA+ stories at their core are stories of joy and, of course, ultimately of love.
Mon Schafter - Host / Creator of Innies + Outies
The LGBTQIA+ community is incredibly diverse. Even though we’re often united under the rainbow flag, each letter in the acronym refers to a different community - lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, and more - and individuals within those communities are also unique. While we may have some things in common, people in these groups face unique challenges.
2. Not about us without us:
When covering an issue facing LGBTQIA+ people, it’s important to hear from the community you’re referring to. For example, if it’s a story about trans rights, interview trans people. Don’t just stop at one. Trans folks are as diverse as the rest of us.
LGBTQIA+ people still face stigma and discrimination so not all people are comfortable sharing their stories publicly. When someone does agree to be interviewed, it’s important to create a safe space for them to do so i.e. ask your guest how they’d like to be identified, find out what they’re comfortable talking about and include a variety of credible voices in your storytelling.
Don’t just put a vulnerable member of a marginalised community up against someone with a controversial opinion.
When stories cover sensitive or triggering topics, remind your audience that LGBTQIA+ support services such as QLife
We hear a lot about the challenges facing LGBTQIA+ people, but not enough about the awesome things people are doing. Make an effort to tell positive stories and shine a light on queer excellence.