The New York Times Is Anti-Gay
This image depicts issue 73 of The New York City News: The Newsmagazines for the Gay and Lesbian Community. Atop this publication, the header appropriates the New York Times' word-mark and states “The New York Times is Anti-Gay”, calling for a boycott of the publication on Sunday, July 3rd, 1983.
This publication was released at the height of the AIDS epidemic, and reminds us of the negative and homophobic connotations national publications and news outlets were placing on victims of the crisis.
When considering the origins of the AIDs, we must be reminded that it had originally been dubbed “GRID” (Gay-Related Immune Disorder) within scientific communities, largely attributing (and blaming) the disease on the gay male population in the US.
Media coverage of the epidemic was sparse, reluctant, and homophobic. Congressman Gerry Studds highlighted the difference in portrayal between gay and non-gay sufferers of the disease, concluding that affected straights were treated with sympathy and as victims, while affected gays were viewed as the perpetrators, and as deserving of their infection.
With media coverage offering such negative and slanderous depictions of gay men within society, it is unsurprising that this social group experienced increased homophobia related to the AIDS crisis. The lack of scientific understanding of the disorder fueled increased hatred towards the community who found themselves increasingly under attack from all fronts.
The New York Times, in particular, had been criticized for its refusal to acknowledge, or at least positively portray the LGBTQ+ lifestyle, publishing only negative stories related to the community.
Sensationalist elements within the media reported on the 1980s AIDS crisis both highlighted and exacerbated toxic attitudes within American society towards the gay community, and shows how mass mediation can affect and change how social/personal identities are perceived.