As I mentioned in a previous entry, The New York Times has published a special multimedia “Coming Out” section. Updates to the section are still pending, but it’s off to a good start.
Here’s the opening text of the section:
Bullying and suicides of gay and lesbian teenagers are in the headlines, the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy has been repealed, and the debate over same-sex marriage continues to divide the country. Against this backdrop, many L.G.B.T. youth wonder how accepting society will be.
And here’s how the newspaper originally described the project:
The Times spoke with or e-mailed close to 100 gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender teenagers from all of parts of the country — from rural areas to urban centers, from supportive and hostile environments. The newspaper contacted them through various advocacy groups around the country, as well as through social media like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. The Trevor Project, which provides counseling to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youths in crisis, among other services, posted a call for teenagers to tell their stories to The Times, resulting in nearly 250 responses. At times, young people led us to others.
The section has five multimedia presentations (photos with audio, two are still pending as of today) of LGBT youth telling their stories in their own words. Hearing the emotion and conviction in their voices is impressive.
The section also currently has 32 reader submitted stories (text only). There’s a link for readers to upload their own stories, which allows for people to also include a YouTube link, if applicable.
The stories are simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming. The diversity of voices so far seems balanced, although the stories of LGBT youth from more stereotypically difficult circumstances seem to be more prominent.
This “Coming Out” section and the addition of Frank Bruni to the NYT op-ed pages seem to demonstrate an increasing commitment by the Gray Lady to fairly and accurately cover LGBT issues.
That said, even our allies need to be held accountable when appropriate, so we’ll keep monitoring NYT LGBT coverage.
UPDATE: All the multimedia presentations are now available. The NYT capped off reader submissions at 141 stories.