LGBT Issues in the Curriculum Meg Moritz Associate Dean for Graduate Studies SJMC University of Colorado Moritzm@colorado.edu Roy Aarons Diversity Workshop
Prepared for Roy Aarons Diversity Workshop AEJMC San Antonio August 2005
Gay Issues are • Often excluded from diversity issues which can be limited to race/ethnicity • Included as diversity issues, butonly as diversity issues • In fact, they are mainstream, in the news every day
How do educators approach this issue?Some assumptions • Faculty are not taking this on • Students are not necessarily aware • Leadership is needed...where will it come from?
Leadership can come from • Student governmentLGBT student centerIndividual students in your programs • Faculty, straight and gay • Administration: but not by fiat
Multi-faceted approach • Grad studentsAdjuncts • Guest speakers: Journalists Community leaders • Readings, screenings • Identify your allies and use them
GEOGRAPHY MATTERS • What's the political climate on your campus? • in your community? • in your state? • Is there student backlash against LGBT issues?
COMING OUT IN THE CLASSROOM • Presumed heterosexuality is the norm and that has to change • Grad students, faculty need guidance...and protection • Students can “retaliate” in course evaluations
Assessment & LGBT issues Each of the assessment areas offers possibilities for addressing LGBT issues
Law. Understand and apply the principles and laws of freedom ofspeech and press, including the right to dissent, to monitor andcriticize power, and to assemble and petition for redress ofgrievances. • Hate speech • What is it? • How does it differ from offensive speech? • Is it legal and how is it reconciled with free speech? • Are the “rules” different in TV than on the Web? • Why is godhatesfags.com a sanctioned domain name? • Many LGBT issues involve redress of grievances • AIDS Research • Gays in the military • Marriage, adoption • Boys Scouts of America
HISTORY. Demonstrate an understanding of the history and role ofprofessionals and institutions in shaping communications. • Do students know the history of absence, silence and marginality of gay voices? • Do they understand how gay rights issues emerged in the media? • How gay characters were/are typically framed through a straight lens? • Do they know what advocacy groups like GLAAD are? • Do they know professional organizations like NLGJA? • Do they understand how media practices (for example, using the word gay) influence and shape public opinion?
DIVERSITY. Demonstrate an understanding of the diversity of groups in American society and in a global society in relationship tocommunication. • LGBT people are part of every city, town • News outlets serve diverse audiences • The “gay community” is not a monolith • There is diversity within LGBT communities... • Political • Religious • Racial • Gender • Generational
VISUAL LITERACYUnderstand concepts and apply theories in the use and presentation of images and information. • How do you visually represent gayness? • People in leather? • Do you hide facial features? • Is it people in the gay pride parade? • Is it the boy/girl next door image? • How are lesbians visually stereotyped? Gay men?
ETHICS Demonstrate an understanding of professional ethicalprinciples and work ethically in pursuit of truth, accuracy,fairness and diversity. • Some ethics questions • Can gays cover pride parades…the marriage debates? • If your newspaper has taken an editorial position against ( or for) marriage for gay people, does it affect your reporting? • What is outing? Is it ethical for a reporter to “out” a public figure? • What is inning? • Suggested reading: The Contested Closet by Larry Gross
CRITICAL THINKINGThink critically, creatively and independently. • Suggested exercises: • There is a major debate about the availability of AIDS drugs in developing countries. While many argue in favor of low cost generic anti-retroviral drugs, drug companies argue in favor of patent protection. Describe and analyze those opposing positions. • Evaluate websites for the American Family Association, American Research Council, and PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). • Describe and analyze “reparative therapy” for gays? Why does this continue to be debated in the media?
RESEARCH. Conduct research and evaluate information by methodsappropriate to the communications professions in which they work. • Suggested project: An in-depth report on HIV-AIDS. • What’s the infection rate in your community? • How do you get tested? Where do you go...what happens...what does it cost? • If you need treatment...what is it? Where do you go...what kind of doctor...what kinds of drugs...does your insurance cover the costs? • If you are writing about someone who is HIV+...how do you deal w/ privacy issues? • Can you interview someone under treatment? • How are family members affected? • Are there stories about students...faculty...members of the university community that could and should be told?
Research • How is HIV transmitted? What is vertical transmission? • What is pediatric AIDS? • How are issues different in Africa…or other parts of the world? • Note: AIDS is a complex story and can be approached from a variety of perspectives including medical, political, economic, and cultural.
WRITING.Write correctly and clearly in forms and styles appropriate for the communications professions, audiences and purposesthey serve. • Suggested exercise. See GLAAD, NLGJA and AP stylebooks on correct word usage. • Homosexual or gay or queer? • Lesbian or gay woman? • Marriage or gay marriage? • Transgender or transsexual or cross dresser?
Numeracy. Apply basic numerical and statistical concepts. • Suggested exercise: calculate some basic demographic information about your community, including... • % of Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, other ethnic groups • % of gay students on the campus • % of gays in the population in general
Editing.Critically evaluate their own work and that of others for accuracy and fairness, clarity, appropriate style and grammatical correctness. • Suggested exercises • Select a topic such as marriage for same sex couples. Circulate one article from the American Family Association website and another from GLAAD. Have students read, edit and discuss for factual accuracy and fairness. • October is Coming Out Month…record local coverage of events in your community. Screen and evaluate reports being especially aware of visual representations.