June 2016, the last date major news outlets focused on LGBTQ+ communities and issues. Naturally this was a Pride season. ‘Something’ in 2016 begins to disrupt the amount of coverage. Despite issues that have affected us, like the trans military ban, trans bathroom access, and children from LGBTQ+ families being denied citizenship, the coverage flatlines.
The GDELT project evaluated transcripts from MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News to track LGBTQ+ discussions in major media. This month they announced the troubling news. After June 2016, the media goes silent, and even Pride events pale in comparison to the Obama era. Even this year’s Democratic Party debates, of which there have been three, have had no questions on LGBTQ+ issues. Although, CNN and the Human Rights Campaign will be hosting an LGBTQ Forum with presidential candidates next month.
Could it be that the public is simply less interested in LGBTQ issues? The Google Trends timeline below of search interest for “LGBTQ” seems to suggest exactly the opposite. Perhaps most starkly, it shows a sharp rise that is almost in lockstep with television news’ abrupt shift away from coverage of the topic.GDELT, September 2019, We’ve Stopped Talking About LGBTQ Rights In The Era Of Trump
While it might be suggested that interest in LGBTQ+ issues has declined, GDELT demonstrates that search engine keywords increase almost immediately as coverage declined. Coupled with the recent revelations of ad blocks on LGBTQ+ keywords, a larger story of censorship of our communities in the Trump era is unraveling. Issues affecting LGBTQ+ communities are not being discussed in major news outlets, and news outlets that could cover them aren’t able to generate revenue and reach new audiences to support them.