The issue of homosexuality is especially tabooed in conservative societies. In the first five posts, I explored how the increased visibility of LGB in media has impacted the gays, lesbians and bisexuals.

New media like social networks allows for many-to-many diffusion of information, as demonstrated in the first post. It allows activist groups to spread their message and increase support in a very cheap and efficient manner. The ability to spread message to the masses helped to gain support in a rapid rate.

Popular culture is everywhere and can be very influential. The high amount of LGB content in pop culture can create an environment that is more receptive towards the gay, lesbian and bisexual community and at the same time, normalising their lifestyle. How is this possible?

“When you confront your cadaver during the first week of school, you will begin to learn emotional aloofness. Prospective doctors become desensitized to death’s symbols -bones, blood, corpses, and stench- symbols that disturb most people. Some students become desensitized earlier during premed courses that required them to dissect or even kill living things. In any event, this phase of medical school can still be disturbing. A psychiatrist who interviewed students found that many of them had nightmares about their anatomy experiences.

No matter how great the initial shock, however, it apparently wears off for most students. Before long you become so desensitized that you can eat lunch around the corpse.” – Robert Holman Coombs      

The above example illustrates how time and exposure may remove the shock factor and lead to indifference towards the material that surprises an individual initially. This makes it easier for the heterosexual community to accept those we recognise as different.

However, the effectiveness of the many-to-many diffusion of information and the influence of pop culture are not boundless. This is because humans are thinking creatures. It would be too idealistic to say that the audience would interpret and digest all information given to us by media. According to the selective influence theory, we select what we want to see and will interpret and remember parts of the information differently. This could result in either increased support for the LGB community or amplified anti-LGB sentiments.

In addition, the ability for media users to express their opinions (as shown in post 1) shows that media communication is no longer unidirectional. This allows for both positive and negative feedback.

On the assumption that one becomes more open towards the LGB community, things may still not be all rosy for the LGB community. This is because homosexuals in media are usually misrepresented. It is possible for us to assimilate and internalise the misrepresentations of how the LGB community behave in real life. This problem is more prevalent in people who frequently watch television. Cultivation theory suggests that “heavy viewers among different demographic groups share a commonality of outlooks cultivated by television that are not shared by light viewers from these different groups.”(McDonnel, 2006) As such, people might make erred judgement that homosexuals on television and those in reality conduct themselves similarly. The misconceptions can lead to stigmatisation of the homosexual community.

Moreover, individuals can form unnecessary moral panics due to media. Moral panics occur when one is unable to adapt to significant change and when such change leads to a fear of a loss of control within the normal social structure. Media contributed to moral panics by providing misleading information. Media content often have a masked motive and present stories in a one-sided manner. This aggravates the already strained relations between the conservative groups and homosexuals.

Although media played a significant role in shaping our opinions towards the LGB group, we cannot discount the fact that we may already possess preconceived notions of the LGB community.  “Learning that is not apparent in performance at the time of training, but is revealed later when conditions are changed is referred to as latent learning.”(Davidson, 2000)We could have observed some effeminate behaviours in men or masculine behaviours in women and we thought nothing about it. This information could have been stored away in our minds and only recalled when we watch television. So it is possible for us to have already formed our own idea of LGB behaviour. The role media will play here would be to strengthen what we already assumed to be LGB behaviour.

In essence, the impact of media proliferation of LGB content is a mixed blessing. It can create acceptance and tolerance towards the homosexual community and at the same time pervade public stigmatisation towards the lesbian, gay and bisexual community. At the same time, media reinforces our preconceived ideas of the LGB community.

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Finding People and their Utterances –

Surviving Medical School –

The Social Environment and Suicide Attempts in LGB Youths –

Moral Panics –

What are ‘moral panics’? –

(Davidson, 2000) Encyclopedia of Psychology. Vol. 4,


Justine Chenault confronts an anti-gay protesters at the Democratic National Convention in Denver Pictures & Photos –

Bruno –

bisexual, gay, gsa, human, lesbian, lesbians – inspiring picture on –

Moral Panics (Post 5)

The increase in gay representation may lead to moral panics. How so?

Conservatives fear that the youths might become gay due to the heightened exposure to homosexuals via media. This notion is illustrated by the anchor in the following video. She compares gay on television to product placement of soft drinks.

Biologists suggest that homosexuality is largely due to genetics and social theorists believe that environmental factors are to blame. Even though these studies were inconclusive, there was enough evidence to refute claims that one can be brainwashed into a homosexual by media.

In addition, people may be misled by media into thinking that the HIV/AIDS is caused by and affects only homosexuals. The interviewer below, phrased his question in a manner which imply that HIV/AIDS is a homosexual disease.

This notion is especially popular in the 1980s. Although it is true that homosexuals made up the 53% of the new cases of HIV/AIDS in the United States in the year 2009, it is not true that HIV/AIDS is a homosexual disease and homosexuals the cause of this disease. Research has shown that HIV/AIDS originated in Africa and heterosexuals can also contract this disease.

Indeed media have led a skewed perception on the homosexual community. People were misinformed and will conceive high opinionated ideas about the non-heterosexual community. This impacts the public perception of the members of the LGB community negatively.

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What Makes People Gay? –

Homosexuality: Nature or Nurture –

Moral Panic –

AIDS Rate 50 Times Higher in Homosexual Men: Center for Disease Control –

Homophobic Homosexuals: Making AIDS A Gay Disease –


Is TV Too Gay? Bryan Fischer (American Family Association) Vs. Ray Hill (Gay Rights Activist) –

Chris Wallace interview with Ron Paul – Who’s the Homophobe? –


Nature vs Nuture –

Panic in the streets –

Pop culture (Post 4)

Why are some people gay? It’s because they are born this way.

Lady GaGa Pop Art

This line coined by Lady GaGa in her hit song ‘Born This Way’ has permeated into the minds of listeners. Her songs and fashion sense have propelled her to a pop culture phenomenon.

Popular culture meant commercialised goods enjoyed by the many. Critics felt pop culture simply brainwashes the audience and churn out products that threatens high-cultured art.

It may be true that popular music follow the ‘hit-making’ formula:  catchy tune and lyrics that roll right off your tongue with ease. Some songs may have shallow meanings, while others have deep meanings and important messages in music videos. In terms of artistry, they can be on par with high-cultured pieces.

These songs were created as the anthems for the outcasts. It allows for people to understand the troubles faced by the outcasts and allows outcasts like the LGB memebers to feel hope that someday, things will get better for them.

Furthermore, pop culture creates an environment that is desensitised towards the LGB community. We are conditioned by pop culture to the existence of homosexuals. People are then more open to individuals of different sexual orientations. This creates a community more willing to accept LGBT presence in their community.

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The Impact of Pop Culture on Society –

The Rapprochement Between Pop Music and High Culture –

Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ Leads New Era Of Outcast Anthems –

How Pop Culture Helps Normalize the “Other” in Society –


Lady GaGa Pop Art –

200 Greatest Pop Culture Icons –


P!nk – Perfect –

P!nk – Raise Your Glass –

Katy Perry – Firework –

Social media (Post 3)

If someone posted about your sex life to the public, what would you have done?

The rise of social media has brought bullying to a new platform, the internet. In some ways, cyber-bullying is more harmful than traditional bullying. In the past, harassment by peers will stop once the victims are out of their schools, but now, bullying have invaded the internet and continues to haunt the victims even in their homes. Furthermore, cyber-bullying can be more pervasive since hurtful messages can be replicated and repeated, eventually be seen by millions of internet users across continents.

The video shows how traditional bullying, combined with cyber bullying may push someone over the edge.

The above graph shows that non-heterosexuals are more to cyber-bullying. If these youths cannot seek respite from bullying in their homes, the lack of feelings of security may lead to suicide attempts as research has proven that they are 20% more likely to commit suicide in an undesirable environment.

The dissemination of hateful and false accusations about the LGBT community on social media will not only perpetuate hate, it may also lead to dire consequences.

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Cyber bullying is more harmful –

Cyber Bullying: Worse Than Traditional Bullying ––Bull.aspx

The Social Environment and Suicide Attempts in LGB Youths –


Cyberbullying statistics –


Tyler Clementi –

Glee – Cough Syrup (Official Full Performance) (Official Music Video) –

Chart taken from:

Stereotyping (Post 2)

From Glee to Modern Family and House MD to Torchwood, there is one thing in common amongst these shows. I’ll give you a clue: it’s not the hot men who cannot seem to keep their shirts on.

The answer is homosexual characters.

Lately, there is an increase in LGB characters on television. LGB representations increased from 3% in 2009 to 3.9% in the 2010-2011 broadcast television schedule. This increase may cause viewers to become desensitised (as mentioned in post 4). But, the increase in homosexual characters also fossilised negative stereotyping.

Often, gay men are portrayed as feminine and feisty divas with a penchant for designer clothes. Lesbians on the other hand seemed to be out seducing heterosexual women and convert them into a homosexual.

Whilst it is true for some gays and lesbians, it is not applicable for all. Such stereotypical representation can hurt the homosexual community’s image. As the cultivation theory suggest, these shows will impart their viewers a common interpretation that all homosexuals behave as they are portrayed on television. The stereotypical behaviour of the homosexual community on television strengthens most viewers’ existing notion that homosexual behaviours, personalities and lifestyles are very much different from heterosexuals. As a result, in general, the society tends to view the members of LGB community as outliers. This underlying negativity prevents more people from accepting the LGB community.

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GLAAD’s “Where We Are” report –

The homosexual propaganda campaign in America’s media –

Television’s gay characters aim to add diversity, but unintentionally reinforce negative stereotypes –

Gay stereotype hurt or help –

Stereotypes that need to stop –

Pssst: The Girl’s Guide To Lesbian Cliches & Stereotypes ––stereotypes

The Portrayal of Gays and Lesbians on TV –


Glee image –

Torchwood image –

House MD image –

Modern Family –


The Real L Word:Top 5 Misconceptions About Lesbians –

Gay Myths Busted: Setting the Record Straight. –

What Is Being Gay (According to the Media)? –

Influence theory (Post 1)

Media is powerful and influential, especially when it comes to spreading messages and influencing the masses.

I have chosen to analyse the media impact on lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) individuals due to the increased gay elements in the media, be it in magazines, television or music.

Multimedia and other varieties of media have been fully utilised by gay rights activists to promote their cause. PinkdotSG is one good example. It tapped into social media like Youtube and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to reach out to more people.

The selective influence theory proposes the idea that everyone will assimilate, interpret the video differently and retain different details of the video. Hence viewers will react differently.


Regardless of the negative reactions, social media is one tool that cannot be abandoned since according Teruelle, youths today adopt social media to demonstrate their activism. The posting and sharing of messages on social networking sites can get circulated amongst friends and their friends’ friends. This phenomenon is the many-to-many communication.


With reference to the Pinkdot movement, we can see how new media is used to promote a positive message for the homosexual community as seen by the increase in attendees. New media creates awareness and support for the LGB community.

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New media a powerful tool, says poll –

Social Media and Youth Activism –

Pinkdot –




Graph was created by me using the statistics given here.

Screenshots of comments were taken using Snipping Tool. The names of users that posted the comments are concealed to maintain anonymity