Blogs offer alternative media voice on sexual diversity

Recently, the Strategic Group for Sexual Diversity Rights (GEDDS), a network of organizations that fight for the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, transvestite and intersexual community (LGBTTTI), launched a study on the type of coverage Nicaragua’s major media outlets give to the issues of sexual diversity.

The study, which is available from Conexiones.com.ni, found “major similarities between the two widely-distributed newspapers in the country (El Nuevo Diario and La Prensa) with regard to how they tackle this type of news.”

The study found that both media outlets:

  • Sensationalize news that refers to the issue of homosexuality among men and women.
  • Demonstrate a lack of interest in confirming facts related to news that is related to, or about gay, lesbian or transsexual people.
  • Use inappropriate language in news headlines, which are generally offensive, disrespectful and mocking.
  • Reflect constant homophobia and transphobia from journalists towards sexually diverse citizens.
  • Violate the human rights of people involved in criminal offenses. They are always objects of ridicule and criticism.

However, the blogosphere in Nicaragua offers alternative spaces to discuss issues of sexual diversity from a different perspective.

Sometimes, the issue is discussed through personal anecdotes, as is the case with the blogger Waldir Ruiz. In a recent blog-post, also published at www.elnuevodiario.com.ni, he tells readers that:

“As it was to be expected, it did not surprise me that her mother was a lesbian. No, it was her family's story. She told me that her two mothers had been living together for 22 years, and that she hadn't taken the name of her biological mother, rather that of her other mother. She confessed that the hard part for her was when she realized the repulsion that society felt towards this type of relationship.”

Ruiz later says:

“In my head, during the conversation, I was saying to myself: ‘Wow! I thought that there weren't consensual unions in Nicaragua (like heterosexual marriages) between same-sex partners, not to mention for an older generation, and I never imagined that I would, in a manner of speaking, witness one… Never in my wildest dreams!’”

Blogger Maycols Lovo, motivated by a conversation that he saw on Twitter about a video which features two homosexuals, writes:

“Regarding whether or not I am deserving of ridicule, admiration or either, I would prefer that it be based on my intelligence, and not my sexual orientation.”

Other bloggers use avenues like video-blogs for telling their personal stories or to offer information and advice. Mario S. Vásquez is one example. He has shared this video.

More examples of blogs as alternatives to the mainstream media agenda regarding sexual diversity can be found at  “Nicaragua: Sexual Diversity in the National Blogosphere”, a post for Global Voices by Rodrigo Peñalba.

A registry of Nicaraguan blogs can also be visited at Festival de Blogs de Nicaragua (Nicaragua Blog Carnival), which was held for the first time in September 2011 with the support of Global Voices.

This blog was translated from Spanish by Kathryn Morgan