From MPox to gender-affirming care to stress and anxiety, the LGBT community’s health is under attack like never before.
Add to that, very few media outlets even pay attention to the community’s unique needs.
Now, South Florida LGBT media is actively looking for ways to do the primary duty: keep the public informed with the best information available and in a timely manner. On Feb. 10, the South Florida chapter of the NLGJA (National Lesbian Gay Journalist Association) will hold a forum called Crucial Context: Unpacking Media Coverage of LGBTQ Public Health Issues. The event begins at 7 p.m. in the ArtServe building at 1350 E. Sunrise Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale.
Local journalist Kareem Awadalla will be leading the panel.
“The American media has had a complex relationship with LGBTQ health issues throughout history,” he said. “In the past, LGBTQ individuals were often stigmatized and marginalized in the media, with their health concerns being either ignored or misrepresented.”
The days of homosexuality being considered a mental disease and the HIV/AIDS crisis being blamed on the community may seem like ancient history. However, as recently as last year, MPox was often referred to as a “gay disease” because this particular outbreak disproportionately affected the men-who-have-sex-with-men community.
While coverage of these issues may have improved and the health issues are more visible and fairly covered, Awadalla said there is still work to be done and a knowledgeable, free press is essential.
“It is important for journalists and media outlets to continue to strive for inclusivity and representation, and to work to combat the stigmatization and marginalization of LGBTQ individuals.”
Physical issues, like MPox, are easy to identify and state-sanctioned obstacles to the trans community make headlines. But the toll on mental health is an equally dangerous but rarely reported issue. All these issues will be discussed at the forum.
Awadalla said this forum is an important step.
“There has been a positive shift in recent years towards greater visibility and representation of LGBTQ individuals and their health concerns. However, more work needs to be done to ensure that accurate and sensitive coverage of LGBTQ health issues continues to be a priority in the American media.”
For registration information visit EventBrite.com.
Upcoming Panel Feb. 10 Features National Health Reporter Ben Ryan