Over the last week here in California there has been a resurgence of tired accusations around our community blanketly marking us as predators and pedophiles. Media outlets and anti-LGBTQ politicians have been willfully spreading lies and misinformation about members of our community without taking into consideration the potential fallout. These deceitful posts and so-called news stories are a dog whistle to the most extreme of anti-LGBTQ people, QAnon, and their followers. These fearmongering actions can insight panic and lead to violence, and it must stop if we are to keep our community safe.
McCarthyism and the Lavender Scare, the Briggs Initiative, and even Prop 8 brought out the worst of these “save our children” narratives leading to an increase in violence targeting our community. The perpetuation of issues underscores the need for real and honest journalistic integrity that values the lives, health, and safety of our community. The alternative is fallout that too often leaves LGBTQ youth living in unsupportive households, where these lies and rage can be parroted out, victim to real harm.
A free press coupled with ethical journalism is paramount to political accountability and healthy democracy. The current administration has been no friend to the media, casting doubt and creating an environment where real journalists have been targeted and even arrested for doing their job. Additionally, it’s become harder to tell what is journalism and what is an opinion being masked as news. This leaves the rest of us in a precarious place. We must exercise additional scrutiny when reading and sharing content while finding ways to invest in and support ethical journalism.
There are those who seek power and profit over service to regular people, and we must remain vigilant. Read, research, and educate yourself as best you can. To our journalists, don’t just highlight LGBTQ people when you are covering an LGBTQ-specific story. We are as diverse as humanity itself. Approaching stories that encapsulate intersectional LGBTQ identities will serve to humanize us in the eyes of others and keep us safe.
Together We Rise,
Fernando Zweifach López
San Diego Pride