There are simply not enough Irish queer tv presenters – Irish television has lacked diversity in its presenters throughout the years, with some networks even asking presenters not to disclose their sexuality while on the job. Presenter Alan Hughes even shared he was asked not to comment on his sexuality by his producer at the time.
Even with that in mind, when it comes to queer presenters they are few and far between within our public national broadcaster, and the majority are gay men. This further raises the question of diversity when it comes to queer individuals. There is a lack of inclusion when it comes to lesbians, bisexual, trans, and other members who identify under the queer umbrella.
Along with the lack of queer presenters within television in Ireland, there is the also issue of representation around queer issues. RTÉ came under fire in recent years for the whole #Pantigate incident when they issued an apology following comments made by LGBTQ+ rights advocate and drag queen Rory O’Neill. This lead to an impassioned response from Brian Barrington who wrote a stirring open letter to RTÉ in wake of their decision.
Radio broadcasting in Ireland has become a lot more inclusive than its television counterpart when it comes to its presenters – just check out some of the queer Irish radio hosts broadcasting today. At present, there are very few queer presenters on our screens. There needs to be a call for more diversity – it is simply not enough anymore for a broadcaster just to stick a gay man on screen and expect this to meet a standard. It is no longer about just setting a standard. it is about making individuals feel included and represented. And making these opportunities within the media open to anyone.
Increased representation of all the queer spectrum will have huge knock on effects for the self image and mental health of generations of TV fans to come.
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