OUTInPerth – Patrick Lenton chats about his new project The LGBTIQA+ Media Watch

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This article was originally published by the OUTInPerth. You can find the original article here.

EXCLUSIVE

Patrick Lenton has made his mark as an author, journalist and editor, and now he’s got a brand-new project that looks to tackle the rising levels of misinformation and disinformation about LGBTIQA+ people and their communities.

The former editor of Junkee has just launched The LGBTIQA+ Media Watch Project, an extension of his online newsletter Nonsense

Thanks to a grant from The Walkley Foundation’s Meta Australian News Fund, Lenton and a team of writers are ready to keep watch on news about LGBTIQA+ people that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

Lenton explains that his newsletter project grew from the popular recaps of television programs that he and Bec Shaw began writing at Junkee.

“We started that for Junkee, years and years ago, maybe back in 2016 or 2017, and it was quite successful. The idea was that we’d watch The Bachelor, which neither of us particularly liked as a show.

“We’d rank it, usually the heterosexual men on a kind of arbitrary basis of all the different kinds of nonsense they were perpetuating in each episode, which was a lot of fun.”

Originally titled All The Heterosexual Nonsense the column ran at Junkee for many years, and the duo kept writing it after Lenton’s tenure as editor ended.

When the publication dropped the column, due to budget cuts, Lenton and Shaw decided to keep their loyal fans happy by continuing their work as an online newsletter.

Over the time they expanded beyond TV recaps to writing about other queer culture and news. The new project however will take them into much more serious territory as they tackle interrogating the wave of anti-LGBTIQA+ news sweeping through mainstream media.

“Last year there was a lot of specifically anti-trans rhetoric happening in Australia and just broader attacks on the LGBTIQA+ community including Drag Queen Storytime and the Posie Parker tour.

“It made me look closely at how mainstream media was failing us in our they were writing about these events, and platforming the most deranged transphobes as if they were experts.” Lenton said.

Looking over the media landscape and rarely seeing people who are transgender rarely being allowed to speak for themselves and realising that – as far he is aware – there are no reporters at any mainstream media outlet who are transgender, Lenton was inspired to set up his new project.

“We constantly have queer perspectives being talked about from heterosexual perspectives, from heterosexual editors, heterosexual commissioning editors, and so on.” Lenton said.

The LGBTIQA+ Media Watch Project will primarily use transgender writers to cover issues about transgender people.

“When the mainstream media is doing these regressive, badly written, or downright misinformation articles, then I want to have some of these amazing queer writers who I read all the time on my platform debunking them.” Lenton said, explaining he’d started commissioning articles last year.

Through the Walkley Foundation grant he’ll be able to expand the project.

“Specifically, it’s about holding mainstream media to account when they talk about our community. It’s not just about newspapers and television, but also representation in television drama programs.” Lenton said.

“It’s not just debunking and myth busting, sometimes it’s about providing context.” Lenton explains sharing a recent example about media outlets using a transgender murder victims dead-name. “It’s not just highlighting that problem, it’s explaining what a dead-name is, and why using it is a problem.”

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Graeme Watson 

This article was originally published by the OUTInPerth. You can find the original article here.

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