The precarious media: How the LGBTQIA community is misrepresented

A precarious life is what many members of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Intersex Asexual community lead. Individuals whom are a part of the LGBTQIA community live turbulent lives, all of which depend on survival. Unfortunately, the media does not depict the precarious lifestyles of these people living in the unknown. Living precariously entails discrimination in the work place, not knowing where you’re going to sleep at night, not being able to pay for food, and being disrespected because you dare to be who you are. There are several major figures in the media that are a part of the LGBTQIA community, however these figures represent the minority of the community rather than the majority.

People like Anderson Cooper and Caitlyn Jenner who are a part of the LGBTQIA community are some of the prominent figures in the media. The wealthy family history, or the Olympic accomplishments, and the perfectly done make up are what the public sees as the face of a community that is predominantly the opposite. Cooper and Jenner are misrepresenting the LGBTQIA community. In Caitlyn Jenner’s reality show “I am Cait”, Jenner has a support system of prominent and respected figures of the LGBTQIA community, like Jenny Boylan and Kate Bornstein, coaching her on how to represent and communicate the real and harsh struggles of the majority of the community. Jenner seems to struggle empathizing because of the huge contrast between the experiences, but this coaching must be done because although Jenner has not lived a precarious lifestyle, she has a voice that can bring recognition that precarious lives are real. The media is all about relaying important messages to the public, and unfortunately precarity is one not being addressed. Whether they are big or small, efforts are being made.

Haley Chauvin has been the music programmer at the University of Massachusetts Amherst radio voice, 91.1 WMUA for over a year. Chauvin is a non-binary gender and values their leadership position.  “It’s really hard to be a trans person, to take leadership especially in media,” said Chauvin, “because you are not painted in media.” Though it hasn’t always been easy for Chauvin. Chauvin has had a precarious experience at WMUA as an LGBTQIA member in a leadership position. For a long time, Chauvin has received personal attacks about their gender identity from listeners of the station. In addition to the harassment, even after stating in a press conference last December, Chauvin has clarified their identity several times to news outlets in the Pioneer Valley. Yet news outlets like WHMP continue to mis-gender them. “It takes a lot of energy a lot of the time to constantly to be reevaluating, or rather validating your identity,” said Chauvin, “and like letting people know that its real and that you’re an actual human being is very difficult.” Instances like these enforce why Chauvin is proud to be in a leadership position in media. “It’s an identity that is largely ignored as needing a place in leadership roles, in media,” said Chauvin.

Having LGBTQIA members in the media is crucial to progressing society into a more accepting state. Although there are more LGBTQIA members in the public eye than there has ever been before, the struggles of the individuals of the community are not being depicted. Efforts are being made to bring light to the people living precarious lives thanks to people like Chauvin. There is a long way to go for members of the LGBTQIA community to be represented properly in the media, but for now, baby steps are a good start.

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