General News

Study finds media coverage of US Equality Act lacked LGBTQ+ voices

Rachel Badham March 21, 2021

New research by GLAAD found media coverage of the US Equality Act lacked LGBTQ+ voices, and frequently included anti-trans speakers and groups. The Equality Act was passed by the US House of Representatives in February, and will now go to vote in the Senate. If it becomes law, it will expand on the 1964 Civil Rights Act to ensure LGBTQ+ people are free from employment, housing and education discrimination across the nation. 

However, GLAAD found major news outlets covered stories relating to the Equality Act in ways which included “harmful anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric.” In the analysis, coverage by leading news outlets was graded using the following scale: outstanding, pass, satisfactory/needs improvement, and fail. It found HuffPost was the only mainstream outlet to include a statement from a trans source, whereas ABC News had quoted “inaccurate and harmful transphobic rhetoric” from Republican politicians, including Marjorie Taylor Greene who has actively condemned the Equality Act. 

ABC News, NBC News, and USA Today all received a mark of satisfactory/needs improvement. However, 8 outlets, including The New York Times and CBS News, were all graded with a fail. Newsweek received the worst grading, as coverage “focused entirely on transphobic, anti-LGBTQ+ views of the Equality Act.” No news platforms received an outstanding mark. 

In response to the findings, GLAAD president and CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis, said: “LGBTQ+ voices cannot be left out of the coverage of the Equality Act, especially while lawmakers use their platforms to spread inaccurate information about them. We are urging the mainstream press to include LGBTQ+ people while covering issues important to our lives, and to recognise and call out misinformation.”