Updated Guide Focuses on Spanish-Language LGBTQ News Coverage

Three organizations have published an updated style guide to help journalists accurately report on the LGBTQ community.

With consideration to recent political and cultural shifts, the National LGBTQ Task Force, NLGJA – The Association of LGBTQ Journalists, and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) have released the latest version of its LGBTQ style guide for journalists.

“It’s all about being fair and accurate,” NAHJ President Brandon Benavides said. “And we also want to make sure we respect the wishes of the people who we interview.”

The guide, “El Manual de Estilo Sobre la Comunidad Lesbiana, Gay, Bisexual y Transgénero,” was first published in 2005 by these three organizations and later updated. But a new edition was required following the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling in favor of same-sex marriage and as conversations around transgender individuals have become more prevalent.

Specifically, the new guide includes a discussion on how Spanish language media should distinguish between the new legal marriages, civil marriages, and marriages facilitated by a faith leader, as well as an entry on pronoun usage for transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals.

Benavides shared that he had to consult the guide recently when reporting on a woman transitioning to male, who was competing in a women’s wrestling tournament due to Texas rules that dictate individuals are to compete based on their birth sex.

“I think it’s important that we work together to make sure and ensure fair and accurate pronoun use,” Benavides said. “I think that’s important just to be good story tellers and that we have the correct information out there, and we’re using words correctly.”

Before 2005, a complete English LGBTQ style guide existed and NAHJ had a Spanish language version, but it did not include a glossary of proper terms. As a result, the three groups collaborated to create one for Spanish language media, a project Benavides worked on as the co-chair of the NAHJ LGBT caucus.

“We wanted to make sure that journalists had the correct tools and information on how to correctly report on our communities, on our LGBT communities of color, and in both Spanish and English,” he said.

The updated style guide is available online and for download and is part of efforts to better prepare journalists to cover LGBTQ issues. These include events, trainings, and workshops from NLGJA, NAHJ, and the Task Force to connect journalists and community advocates as they work together on media coverage of the LGBTQ population.

“We’re honored to partner with NLGJA and NAHJ in publishing this critical resource to help guide journalists in their reporting on issues affecting LGBTQ people,” Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey said in a press release. “Now more than ever, as we learned all too well as a result of last November’s election, accurate and fair reporting is of the essence.”

NLGJA Executive Director Adam Pawlus said in an email: “’El Manual de Estilo Sobre La Comunidad Lesbiana, Gay, Biexual y Transgénero’ is a part of our work to make our mission more inclusive and accessible to journalists. We hope that our stylebooks further help journalists report on the LGBTQ community fairly and accurately and produce better coverage for their audience, whether they speak English or Spanish.’”

Alex Beall

By Alex Beall

Alex Beall is an associate editor for Associations Now with a masters in journalism and a penchant for Instagram. MORE

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