MAGNET, or Media Advocates Giving National Equality to Transsexual & Transgender People, organizers attended the UNITY Journalists Convention 2012 in Las Vegas last week from August 1st to August 5th. Many workshops, panels, seminars, presentations and receptions were held where MAGNET organizers were able to educate about accurate coverage of transsexual, transgender and intersex (TTI) issues.
On August 4th MAGNET organizers Lauren Nichols and Ashley Love gave a presentation at The Las Vegas LGBT Center focusing on how journalists and screen images portray transsexual, transgender and intersex stories. After MAGNET’s presentation they moderated an audience discussion on TTI representation and their effects on the different TTI communities.
UNITY, formerly UNITY: Journalist of Color, is an alliance of people of color journalist associations. This was the first UNITY convention where UNITY expanded their membership to include NLGJA, or National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association. UNITY included sexual orientation and gender identity in their mission statement. Shortly after NLGJA joined UNITY, NLGJA's leaders and board members pressured UNITY to additionally change its name, arguing it was “exclusionary and inaccurate” (although NLGJA’s own name remains exclusionary and inaccurate by omitting the 'B' and the 'T' from their acronym).
Attendees at MAGNET’s presentation at the Las Vegas LGBT Center last Friday, as well as attendees at NLGJA’s own membership meeting last Thursday, overwhelmingly agreed that NLGJA needs to be consistent in promoting inclusive titles by changing their own acronym. NLGJA leaders said they plan to discuss the issue.
“It was a really inspiring convention to be with many other people of color journalists and media professionals", said MAGNET's Ashley, "UNITY's welcoming of the LGBT coalition brings together greater diversity which creates s a stronger partnership. It was a good gesture that UNITY also changed their name to be more inclusive, and we hope NLGJA will follow UNITY’s progressive step forward by including the 'B' and the 'T'' to NLGLA’s acronym to be inclusive as well. Preach, practice. You can't spell the word UNITY without the letter 'T'.”