LGBTQ+ Members Feel They are Not Well Represented in the Media

As media outlets and public organizations try to embrace diversity, a new study finds that some groups still feel excluded. Two in three LGBTQ+ Americans feel that their representation is lacking greatly in the media.

Media creating stereotypes on LGBTQ+

The new survey on 2,000 members of the LGBTQ+ American community finds that while 62% are confident that the country is making progress, it still has a long way to go. Even where there was representation, only 31% find that it was a positive depiction of the community.

For the majority of them, the negative portrayal was adequate to turn them off as consumers. 39% said they have stopped interacting with certain media outlets because of their harmful stereotypes towards the LGBTQ+ community. Others (23%) said they have stopped watching a show or reading a book because of lack of representation. Another group (23%) says they stopped following the shows or books because they use a trope like “bury your gays,” where LGBTQ+ characters are more likely to succumb in the story.

The study was conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Orbitz ahead of Pride month. It also reveals that 47% of the participants said that seeing themselves on shows like “The Fosters” or “Steven Universe” helped them find their identity. It also helped 60% of the participants feel more comfortable with their identity.

Almost six in ten (57%) said that seeing themselves on the media not only helped them appreciate their identities but also helped their loved ones understand them better. Overall, 61% of the participants believe representation is essential, while 54% thought the same of intersectional representation.

Power of a brand in representation

Orbitz Brand Director Carey Malloy says that diversity and authentic representation should be on the industry’s top agenda now more than ever. Orbitz was one of the first brands to include LGBTQIA travelers in its ads at the beginning of the century. Two decades later, it is apparent that creators need to raise the discussion on inclusivity. However, the dialogue also needs to lead to meaningful change and not just a call to action.

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