Module: 
Convergent Journalism 1

Following the enormous media attention surrounding the LGBT community in 2015, members of the society have questioned whether 2016 will continue to bear the torch for the minority group or whether it was a trend exploited by the entertainment industry to draw in attention and capital.

Following the enormous media attention surrounding the LGBT community in 2015, members of the society have questioned whether 2016 will continue to bear the torch for the minority group or whether it was a trend exploited by the entertainment industry to draw in attention and capital.

 

Life has never been an easy road for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people however with the evolution of the world and the advancements in societal norms, acceptance of the way these people live their lives is no longer a distant hope.

 

February holds an important significance for the community, as it has become LGBT history month. The campaign, first established in 2005 by chairwoman of the campaigning body School’s OUT UK, Sue Sanders, has opened the gates of acceptance and tolerance for non members by providing a number of publicity events aimed at educating and informing the general public.  This year it tackles the theme of Religion, Belief and Philosophy.

 

In relation to the success of this campaign in aiding the community, Sanders said, “Our calendar certainly indicates the success of the month and the second year of our national LGBT history festival has grown to six hubs with very prestigious venues supporting us.”

 

She further commented on the difficulties in the lives of each band of the community and what needs to be done to improve the situation to better the wellbeing of this targeted society.

 

“‪The welfare of young LGBT in schools will depend on how good the school deals with the situation. Any LGBT youth provision, if in rural areas will find it really hard to link to other young LGBT members.”

 

“Black or disabled LGBT will have a tough time due to the lack of images and provision. Transphobia has increased due to a bigger transgender community.

‪Older LGBT will find services hetero normative so they might be forced back in closet.”

 

“Until all teachers get compulsory equality and diversity training regularly and are enabled to find good resources on LGBT we will fail our young people.”

 

When asked about the progressive nature of the community, her response held a positive note that follows the colossal interest in the community carried out by the entertainment industry last year.

 

“ Things are getting better.  We are more visible but the main accepted group is predominantly white gay men. We work hard to be more inclusive and eradicate prejudice through education and aim to make LGBT people in all their diversity visible and safe.”

 

Film last year became a pioneering tool for the transgender community. Projects such as ‘The Danish Girl’, ‘Orange is the new Black’ and ‘Transparent’ shed light on the real world of a transgender person and eradicated the trivial misconceptions the general public seemed to have.

 

However, despite the unbelievable success of these projects, there is still a question among community members as to whether this enthusiasm and concern will remain in focus or whether it was purely a money making racket exploited by industry professionals.

 

Stonewall, the leading support charity for the LGBT community commented on this issue, “Transgender issues certaintly came to the floor in 2015 and naturally there has been more visibility with tansgender issues especially with the Caitlynn Jenner case.  There is a natural emergence of transgender issues because of greater awareness of it. I don’t think people are necessarily cynically making money from it, there’s generally a sympathetic view. 2015 was a good year for transgender rights as people are starting to talk about it more.”  

 

Despite the positive reaction from the charity, Sue Sanders, founder of LBGT History Month held a much stronger view on the issue.

 

“I think the media kind of drive it which is very irritating as the trans media have been around for some time doing a lot of work challenging the misrepresentation of the trans society and when the media pick it up they pick up the more sensational aspect.”

 

All hope is not lost for 2016 as Canterbury follows in Margate’s footsteps by gearing up for its first Pride parade which will be held in June. Tony Butcher, director of gay bar, Limes Lounge and Diner, in Canterbury has previously been heavily involved with the LGBT community in Kent and was the organizer of the Margate parades.

 

Of last year's parade he said, "I'm very excited about the day because we have had such a massive response. I know it was very short notice after the statement saying it was off last week, but we've stuck all the sticky plasters on and it's all come together. At short notice I'm very happy and so is everyone else."

 

Officials hope this positive response will be carried over to this year's parade in Canterbury which will take place on the 11th June at 11 am.

 

It is impossible to confirm whether 2016 will be the year to champion LGBT rights and obtain full acceptance for the tortured community, but it certainly holds the potential to ignite immense change which will most definitely impact on life as we know it in modern day Britain.  

 

 

 

 

 

2016: the year of full release for the LGBT community?