Why Does WESA Think Tony Norman Is the Go-To-Guy on LGBTQ Issues?

Remember when President Obama announced that he supported marriage equality? EssentialPgh

Essential Pittsburgh’s choice to discuss what this meant? Post-Gazette columnist Tony Norman.

Remember when Jason Collins became the first openly gay male active in the big four professional leagues?

Essential Pittsburgh’s choice to discuss what this meant? Post-Gazette columnist Tony Norman.

Now what does Tony Norman have in common with both President Obama and Jason Collins? He’s not the President. He’s not gay. He’s not a professional athlete. He’s not a sports columnist. He’s not assigned to the White House beat.

I think Tony is a terrific journalist and had some great stuff to share with the audiences on these topics. But I am annoyed the WESA went with the “what does the black community think?” angle on both of these stories. And asked someone who is not a black gay person.

Or, I should say, “homosexual person” because Essential Pittsburgh/WESA also completely blew the headline, too by using the “wayback” machine term homosexual in lieu of accurate language. What’s especially ironic, inaccurate and unfair about that word choice is that while Jason Collins *is* homosexual – the very first member of our community to come out as a professional athlete was Renee Richards, a transwoman. In 1976. Transwomen are not homosexual.

WESA and Essential Pittsburgh can do better.Our region is filled with articulate thoughtful people who could speak to these issues from a variety of perspectives. If they continue to default to Tony, I’m just going to have to believe that they are sinking to an exploitive sensational take on important issues. Or maybe they just want Tony on the air during their pledge drive?

I expect better from public radio. The “Essentially Pittsburgh” element of these stories should center around issues like LGBTQ youth or the abuse Mike Rice inflicted during his reign of terror at RMU or Jeff Karstens disclosure that he has a bisexual relative or Brooks Orpik participation in the “You Can Play” project or PrideNight at PNC Park or the Steel City sports leagues (LGBTQ) or so forth and so on. You can’t swing a Terrible Towel without hitting a local angle on this story that is not a retread of “black people are homophobic” memes.

So I’m not donating until they raise the bar. I can read what Tony Norman thinks about LGBTQ issues on Twitter. Or ask him. Please. BAR HAS BEEN RAISED – See Update Below.

Tony has enough on his plate. We got this.

UPDATE: So I had a pleasantly surprising call today from Tammy Terwelp, Director of Content & Programming at WESA-FM and Marcus Charleson, Producer of Essential Pittsburgh. They read this post and wanted to discuss my concerns. We ended with their agreement to review the media style guides of the AP and/or GLAAD on LGBTQ coverage and to consult a list of suggested guests or experts when LGBTQ topics arise. That I’m going to create or at least start. How’s that for bloggers having an impact?

BTW, I just made my pledge. How about you? We gotta walk the walk, right?

I wonder if WESA will support my Pittsburgh gear quest for San Jose?


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