Waldschlösschen-Appell

STOP AND THINK!

The Waldschloesschen Appeal

against demeaning language in covering LGBT issues

 

Three points journalists need to keep in mind

Lesbian women, gay men and bisexual or transgender people are the focus of news media attention today amid the growing public discussion of partnership recognition and marriage equality. We welcome the widening global discussion taking place on ensuring homosexual people’s full access to political and legal rights.

At the same time we oppose and warn our fellow journalists to guard against terminology that serves to demean LGBT people that is excused as a harmless “contribution to the debate” or “expression of an opinion”. Rather than reflecting a legitimate spectrum of opinion news media’s use of such language serves as an attack on the dignity and basic human rights of LGBT people.

Such offensive expressions include

  • Homosexuality is against nature
  • Homosexuality is a decision
  • Homosexuality is curable
  • Heterosexual youth can be misled into homosexuality
  • Homosexuality is a product of sexual abuse
  • Granting equal recognition of homosexual partnerships poses a risk to society at large (with reasoning such as that fewer children will be born as a result)

We call on journalists to

  1. Recognize and condemn such statements as homophobic, the way statements of racist, sexist or anti-Semitic hostility would be treated.
  2. Avoid giving a platform to spokespeople who use such language, as long as they don’t clearly distance themselves from such wording.
  3. Stop putting LGBT interviewees or discussion participants in the situation of having to defend their sexual orientation.

German Association of Lesbian and Gay Journalists
(Bund Lesbischer und Schwuler JournalistInnen)

Spring 2013 Conference
Academy Waldschloesschen
Gleichen near Goettingen, Germany

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