We’re Still Here: How the Screening Circle Amplified LGBTQ+ Voices

April 24, 2022

screening circle amplified
Taking the book club concept and updating it with streaming media, the School of Journalism & Media Studies drew students back into their Screening Circle this semester.

As storytellers, the School of JMS understands how future media professionals can be catalysts for change. Nearly 21% of Gen Z adults identify as a part of the LGBTQ+ community, yet representation in the media continues to lag. That’s why the School of JMS is here to change the narrative when it comes to media representation.

Students and faculty filled the Tula Community Center at San Diego State University to engage in conversations about the LGBTQ+ community and unleash their inner drag queen or king.

Three local drag queens performed following the screening of the Temecula episode of “We’re Here.”

Two cast members of the episode joined as they participated in a panel discussion. Andrei and James discussed what it was like to be on the show, and why representation matters. 

When asked if they had seen LGBTQ+ media representation while growing up, the panelists immediately said no.

“I never saw people like me in the shows I watched,” said Andrei.

For many traditionally-marginalized communities, lack of media representation is a common experience. Through Screening Circle, the School of JMS shows underrepresented groups and creates conversations around these social issues.

“I gained a lot of insight from watching the episode and listening to the panelists,” said Annemarie Munoz, a JMS student majoring in public relations. “We don’t all get the opportunity to see ourselves reflected in the media we consume, but as future media professionals we have the opportunity to change that.”

This semester Screening Circle broke its attendance record with 141 attendees. Guests interacted with the panelists and participated in games, photo opportunities and raffles for prizes.

LGBTQ+ allies found value in the event through participating in the discussions and observing live drag.

“I had never seen a live drag performance before,” said Garrett Keller, an organizer for the Screening Circle and JMS student. “This event is important because it gives people the opportunity to experience drag when they might not normally be exposed to it. This is where we start to build an accepting community.”

The School of JMS will continue to showcase films and television with media representation with the Screening Circle.

“Our goal is to empower students to understand their roles as storytellers in the media,” said Dr. Temple Northup, director of the School of JMS. “By engaging in these tough conversations we can create safe and inclusive spaces where we can all be catalysts for change.”

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