After yesterday's news about young Americans' acceptance of queer folk falling sharply, I wanted to take aim at the passivity of mainstream LGBTQ advocacy in the age of Trump. At groups who compromise with uncompromising enemies. At activists who have nothing to say when yarns are spun about the personal costs of queerness. At corporate donors' vision of heteronormatively gay-married surburban debt sponges and police-infested Pride marches. The price is right, at least for fundraisers, but the costs are becoming clear.
At The Outline, Katelyn Burns explores one specific consequence of trying to wait it out: mainstream media constantly writes about LGBTQ stuff with the presumed conservative reaction in mind, giving little corresponding consideration to their queer subjects' experience. The lack of dedicated LGBTQ media is a disaster, she writes.
What’s most frightening to me as a trans reporter is that these unprecedented attacks on trans and LGBTQ rights is coming in the middle of the complete devastation in LGBTQ media. Into, an LGBTQ-focused news site owned by Grindr, shut down in January following its report detailing anti-marriage equality comments made by its own owner late last year. The LGBTQ desks at BuzzFeed, the Huffington Post have been decimated. Even ThinkProgress’ Zack Ford, one of the most reliable reporters on the queer news beat and who has a long track record of breaking anti-trans news, was reassigned by his employer to cover Trump in general (though ThinkProgress is maintaining its LGBT coverage with nonbinary writer Casey Quinlan). Allen also recently parted ways with her full-time employer, The Daily Beast. I can count on one hand the number of openly transgender reporters covering the administration for national-level publications — several of whom, myself included, have recently parted ways with full-time jobs on the beat.
In a recent New York Times story, for example, the reporter sourced a quote to the founder of a policy think tank that plainly doesn't exist beyond a corporate registration you can do online for a modest fee. Yet The Times insists that this registration not only justifies the use of this source to propound on trans issues, but makes it unnecessary to mention what they really are: a random crank on Twitter. Burns makes the case that the reason such shabby reporting happens in the first place, then never gets corrected or even acknowledged, is because the smiley rainbows-and-unicorns world of LGBTQ fundraising all but forbids the aggressive public activism required to hold editors' feet to the fire.