Storytelling is how we develop identity and community. It gives structure and meaning to our lives because storytelling is more than entertainment. It supports our identity and helps us to find community. There is so much power in even the single narrative. With it we are able to reach across aisles, communicate and connect with people who are like us and affirm our very existence.
Silencing our stories is a form of violence because storytelling keeps us alive. When our stories are silenced, our ability to connect is smothered. It’s been scientifically proven that silencing someone’s story can lead to depression, self-deprecating actions, and even death.
Social media platforms like Facebook help us to tell our stories, to build community and to love whoever we are. Others don’t. Others like right-wing media makers effectively silence LGBTQ people and anyone who doesn’t fit into their Code of Ethics. They would rather we stayed quiet about women’s reproductive rights, LGBTQ identities and our alternative religious beliefs and go out of their way to do so. Their storytelling power extends far into our government.
By failing to offer any positive portrayals of LGBTQI people, right-wing Christian media makers promote the myth that they don’t exist and/or that LGBTQ people are inherently sinful and wrong. Members of the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) sign on to a Code of Ethics that explicitly forbids “any sexual conduct or lifestyle, such as homosexuality or adultery, which is inconsistent with Scripture, or any promotion of the same.” (Emphasis added.) In so doing, NRB encodes homophobia into the policies of all 1400+ of its member organizations, thereby further promoting the silencing and violent oppression of LGBTQI people.
In February NRB is hosting their Proclaim 16 Conference in Nashville to further influence their 1400+ media outlets. Katie Harbath, Facebook’s Global Politics and Government Outreach Director, is scheduled to be a featured speaker at Proclaim16. In solidarity with LGBTQI people globally, we demand that she cancel her participation.
Our story-making platforms should support the rights and dignity of LGBTQI people! Facebook’s stated mission is to “give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.” By participating in NRB’s annual international convention, Proclaim16, Facebook endorses an organization that is committed to silencing LGBTQI people, thereby making the world less open and less connected.
But we have the power to make our own stories! Through social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook, grassroots organizers and activists are resisting the silence. These accessible forms of people-powered media creation are critical lifelines, especially for LGBTQI people living in countries and communities where their very existence is unsafe. #FBdropNRB
Join a growing coalition of social justice organizers and activists in requesting that Facebook cancels their participation in Proclaim 16, a conference run by an openly homophobic and transphobic media network -- National Religious Broadcasters.
Click here to sign the petition on MoveOn.org.