One of Stonewall's key priorities is to promote fair coverage of lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the print and broadcast media – so that gay people are visible, portrayed realistically and discussed sensitively.
The media is an extremely powerful tool - television, radio, newspapers, magazines and advertising have the capacity to educate, inform, include and challenge millions of individuals.
For many gay people, the media provides their first images of gay sexuality – it can provide positive role models, and can help them realise they are not alone. However, the media can also be damaging to gay people, reinforcing stereotypes and perpetuating homophobic views.
Stonewall’s survey with 2,000 staff working in schools, The Teachers’ Report found that two thirds of secondary schools and three in four primary school teachers believe homophobic language in broadcast media affects the frequency of homophobic language and homophobic bullying in schools.
In July 2010 Stonewall published research into the representation of gay people on youth television. Key findings from the sample of 126 hours include:
Download Unseen on Screen.
Stonewall research (Living Together) found that almost a fifth of people think TV is responsible for anti-gay prejudice and 38 per cent feel that TV and other media such as radio have a duty to reduce anti-gay prejudice.
In 2005 Stonewall carried out research into how the BBC represents lesbian, gay and bisexual lives. Tuned Out explored a range of areas including:
We monitored 168 hours of peak time TV on BBC One and BBC Two: during that time, lesbian and gay people and their lives were realistically and positively portrayed for just six minutes.
Stonewall also spoke to gay and straight people from across the UK to find out how they feel about the way lesbians and gay men are portrayed on TV. They told us they wanted to see:
Stonewall has set up a Media monitor to improve the reporting of lesbian, gay and bisexual media issues by helping people to tell the media what they think.
We want you to take action and let the producers, editors, journalists, presenters and broadcasters know about how misrepresenting gay people affects you, and why they should challenge homophobia.
It's time to tell the media how you feel!
To make a complaint about something you’ve seen or heard you can use the contact details listed below under Useful links.
Stonewall Cymru’s Look Out campaign to improve the reporting of lesbian, gay and bisexual media issues in Wales contains some useful tips and advice about making a complaint.
We need your help to continue our media monitoring. By letting us know what you’ve seen or heard that’s offended you, or that you thought was positive, you’ll be helping us with our future media research. Register your comments and be part of Stonewall's ongoing media monitoring.
Stonewall continues to work on the media portrayal of lesbian, gay and bisexual people. We believe that mainstream media outlets can and should use their position to tackle prejudice and celebrate the diversity of twenty-first century Britain.
We work together with Ofcom and a range of TV channels and media organisations to help them improve inclusion and representation and provide an honest and informed perspective on the real lives of lesbian and gay people.
Stonewall also continues to look at potential areas of research into the homophobia commonly heard and seen on radio and television and to aid media organisations in improving the representation of lesbian, gay and bisexual people and their lives.
To make a complaint about something you’ve seen or heard, you can use the contact details shown or click on the links provided to make a complaint online.