Dealing with homophobia in the media

Non-heterosexual people are hardly covered by the local media in the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba, 862 kilometers away from the capital city.

A research work by communication expert María Rodríguez in 2014 showed that sexual diversity issues have been raised only after the holding of the National Meetings against Homophobia. This initiative has been annually implemented by the National Sex Education Center (CENESEX) since 2007.

«The media fail to give top priority to these issues,» she indicated at a meeting of the Sexual Diversity Section at the Cuban Society for Multidisciplinary Sexuality Studies (SOCUMES), last January, in the central province of Cienfuegos.

Press reports deal with these issues only on special occasions like the World Day against Homophobia, the International Day of Human Rights, and the World Day against HIV/AIDS. They are often developed from a medical perspective, due to sexist prejudices and taboos.

«There is an urgent need for media training in this area,» Rodríguez stressed.

«The media tend to associate sexual diversity only with men (homosexual and bisexual relations) and leave out lesbians, transsexuals, transvestites, and intersex people,» she regretted.

She recommended adopting a communication strategy that includes an appropriate, comprehensive approach to sexual diversity by the local media.

«Only after broadcasters and reporters get properly trained, they will be able to develop good testimonies, life stories, interviews, reports and even documentary films about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex (LGBTI) community,» she said.

«This is the only way to be really objective, fair, respectful and inclusive, and give this community much-needed support,» she concluded.

Translated by Adolfo Fuentes

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