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Homosexuality Matters Are Being Discussed Media Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Media
Wordcount: 5435 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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In our 21st century, media is the main medium that modern society rely on getting every information, such as breaking news, sports, entertainment, education, current trend news, and so much more. Everything that the media portraying for the society through verbally or visually on the channel such as newspaper, magazine, radio, television, and the internet, are latest and hottest topic, but the validity is unknown. None in the society will be able to track out the accuracy about the story unless the media writes the truth about the story to the society. Therefore, the research about how media portray the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) group from general audience will be conduct. It is to do research on how audience view on LGBT group based on the media portraying them. The research will conduct in proper and professional way to find out the main objective accurately. Questionnaire will be distributed to general audience and every step is following the official research step method. The result of this research will show us how general audience perceives the LGBT group from the media.

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Chapter 1 Introduction

1.1 Background of study

The 21st century has become a century where all the new technologies emerge. In today’s communication world, the media play an important role in disseminating information, and also shape and influence the public’s opinion. Most people who lives in urban today, are connected with media every day and every moment. Most of them tend to rely on media as their source of information or news as media is already a big part on their life. The media have a very powerful effect in shaping concerns of public, or sometimes it can evoke feelings like love, national pride and patriotism (The Daily Quail, n.d.). In other words, the media decides on what news should be published, even decides on what the public should know, or what is important to the society (Sei-Hill Kim et al, 2002).

In recent years, the homosexuality matters are being discussed more compared to the old time. Most people today know about the existence of homosexuality, even in their peer group, whether they have a good or bad impression towards the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexuals and Transgender) group. The media also started to portray news and information regarding to the LGBT group, resulting in the discussion of public towards the group. As people discuss, their perception will be formed, and might seek more information through media or word of mouth. Which is why, media plays a very important role on shaping the public’s mindset if the public possess little to no knowledge towards the matter.

However, homosexuality is still a very sensitive issue in an Islamic country like Malaysia, if it is discussed in a print media, it will get a lot of attention from many parties and the public. The public opinion may be influenced by other political actors through the usage of mass media (Daniel Chomsky and Scott Barclay, 2010). And such, what is being portrayed in the media can surely be discussed and trusted by most of the people, especially a taboo topic like the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) group.

Homosexuality is defined as a sexual attraction or sexual relations with the persons of the same sex while a homosexual is defined as someone who is sexually attracted to persons of the same sex (Word Net, n.d.). The term gay are used to represent homosexuals, while lesbian means female homosexuality. Bisexuals means those who are attracted to both sexes, while transgender describes those whose gender identities, expressions or behaviors are not those traditionally associated with their birth sex (The University of Michigan, 2008).

1.2 Research Problem

LGBT related group can be seen as active nowadays, especially in international news. News about countries open for gay marriages and gay parade activities can be seen in the new media, the internet. As the matter is discussed a lot on the internet, it somehow did affect people in this country as well, even if the Malaysian media does not portray much about LGBT related news.

Although the LGBT group is getting larger nowadays and it can be seen a lot more than before, the idea of it is still not accepted by the society of this country. It is even seen worse in Asia, especially an Islamic country like Malaysia. Any acts of homosexuality are also counted as a crime action that breaks the law of the country. For example, the ‘Unnatural sex’ Law, section 377(A) and 377(B) of the Penal Code, stated that anyone who commits “carnal intercourse against the order of natural” will be liable to whipping and imprisonment of up to 20 years (Chong, 2009). Other than that, it also opposes the main religion of the country. It is taught in Islamic law that homosexuality foul fornication, and it is punishable by death (The Religion of Peace, n.d.).

LGBT related information and news are seen to be new in this country, as it does not been highlighted by the media much. The only way for the Malaysian citizens to know more about the issue is to access to internet, or through words of mouth. However it does not apply to every of the citizens in Malaysia, as some might have no access to internet and possess no knowledge about LGBT related information.

The audiences are generally not passive, where all of them possess own individual beliefs, attitudes and opinion. However, if such sensitive issue is seen and discussed on the media, it will bring a big impact on both the LGBT group and the society. How the media portray the group, will indirectly plant the idea in the viewer’s mind, and might cause a different mindset or enhance the previous mindset in the viewers.

1.3 Research Question

How media portray the Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) group from general audience?

1.4 Research Objective

Main objective: To find out how the media portray the Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) group from general audience.

Specific Objective: To find out the perception of general audience gained from media towards the LGBT group.

To investigate how media influence the level of acceptance of general audience towards the LGBT group.

To find out how the media influence the level of acceptance of general audience towards the LGBT behavior in public.

1.5 Operational Definition

While heterosexual refers to people who are defined as straight or ‘normal’ in society, LGBT, meaning Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender has been interpreted differently in different culture. Lesbian is a term to define a woman who is attracted to another woman. Gay represents people who are attracted to someone of same sex, however in Malaysia, it is used mostly to represent a man who is attracted to another man. Bisexuals means a person who are attracted to both man and woman, and transgender refers to those who felt that their physical sex does not fit with their own gender identity, it could be a man with male genitals who emotionally feel like a girl, and vise versa (The University of Michigan, 2008).

The media in this study refers the mass communication tool in Malaysia. It includes radio, television, newspaper the internet and other forms of media. Perception that public gained from the Malaysian media are collected as data to be used as a part of this study.

1.6 Significance of Study

Media is a very powerful tool in shaping the public’s mindset and creating topic to be discussed by the people. That is why, how the media portray the LGBT group will eventually affect the mindset or enhance the public’s original perception. Although media had became the main source of people today to gain various information for all the years, it is still cannot be said that the information disseminate in the media are hundred percent real or carry no bias. There might be some part of information that is shown in the media is not true and come from un-credible source about LGBT group to public.

The study also aims to find out the perception of general public towards the LGBT group from what they see from media. Some audience receives the information passively, while some will judge if the news is credible or not. Through this survey, it is hope to find out the public’s opinion gained from the media. Other than that, the general perception of public, whether it is positive or negative, will also be gathered through the study.

Media powers over the mind of media users indirectly, and that’s why some of the heavy users’ perception and behavior will also be affected by the media. The media could raise awareness about a cause by highlighting and repeating the matter, planting the idea in the audience’s mind. Which is why this study aims to find out how media influence the level of acceptance of general audience towards the LGBT group, and also how the media help to change the level of acceptance of general audience towards the LGBT behavior in public.

1.7 Conclusion

This research aims to study how the Malaysian print media portray the LGBT group, the issue of homosexuality and any other action done by the group. In order to determine, a set of qualitative survey will be carried out. Although there are previous similar researches done, this time the scope is set bigger to only media, to define the overall perception, whether it is positive or negative towards the LGBT group portrayed by the media.

Chapter 2 Literature Review

2.1 Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT)

During the last decades, throughout the western world, has been an extraordinary period for the LGBT group. The LGBT group that was named as the gay liberation movement, later to be joined by bisexual and transgender people, has went through a rough history. They had been isolated traditional sources and social support like families and friends because of their sexual orientation. The LGBT is a community forged where they could find acceptance and sense of belonging

The term “LGBT” always make people automatically break the acronym into Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. Although this is what LGBT stands for, we still have grouped all different types of people into one category, and defined by their sexuality. Every group is different from each other, yet they are bound together by the society as one.

In the past, up until the 60’s, sexuality are not used by people to define them. Anything that was not normal, that person would be termed as “queer”. After that the term “lesbian” and “gay” came out and separate queer by gender, and a decade later, transsexual and bisexual became the terms that we all learn and familiar with.

In the twentieth century, lesbians and gays that are particularly in large urban areas had formed a community for many LGBT people. It serve a source of information regarding LGBT issue, a socializing point, and also served as a heart of activism for human rights issue for the LGBT people. It is also recognized as the pervasive forms of oppression and discrimination related to LGBT, making the ‘hidden’ or ‘silent’ voices of them to be heard (Harper G.W. and Schneider .M, 2003).

The LGBT today, had been around since the past. However they had been discussed a lot today, from the past decade. One of the main reason is the issue had been brought up and discussed in the media. As the media is the main source of news and information, people tend to pay more attention to the issues that are on the media. When the media first started to portray the LGBT news, it was mostly negative news that led people to discuss even more about the group. However in today’s international news, most of the LGBT related news is usually positive. The LGBT group is being supported by a part of people all over the world, and vice versa.

In this century, the group’s activity and voice can be seen more often than before, and it is still increasing today. Their history, life experience, and activities are being reported by the media, which are mostly positive today. Other than that, more and more countries are opening for gay rights and gay marriage that allows the marriage between same sex couple which is normally against the law in most of the country around the world.

Among the many activities by the LGBT group, one of the biggest events is the pride parade. The pride parade is an event where all the lesbians, gay, bisexual, transgender and others who support their rights gathered into a huge group and start the parade. The main reason is to let the public know about their existence and to fight for their rights, or to celebrate their rights. Pride parade is held among many countries around the world, including United Kingdom, United States, and some countries in Asia including Taiwan, Philippines and others.

2.2 LGBT in Malaysia

The activities of LGBT in Malaysia have been around for a very long time, however it was not considered to be a dangerous group, until the group was highlighted by the local press. In this country, homosexuality is considered illegal and the act is punishable with long prison sentences or the sentence can be up to 20 years prison and canings.

An organization vowed to eradicate homosexuality named People’s Voluntary Anti-Homosexual Movement (PASRAH) had imposed penalties and closing down of gay gathering venues, caused a stir among the society. The LGBT was then branded as a threat of the society, and forced the society to discuss about the issue of homosexuality openly (Ponmalar N Alagappar, 2009).

As homosexuality is still a very sensitive issue in an Islamic country like Malaysia, if it is discussed in a print media, it will get a lot of attention from many parties and the public. The public opinion may be influenced by other political actors through the usage of mass media (Chomsky, D. and Barclay, S., 2010)

Although Malaysia is a developing country, it is still not open for gay rights and the government had stated clearly on the media. Gay activities are still considered as illegal against the law, any events or activities relating LGBT group will still be banned or cancelled according to the law. Malaysia is an Islamic based country, where intimate relationship between two men is considered as a sin according to the religion bible.

Even so, there are still some groups of LGBT communities in this country which are still struggling to protect and fight for their rights. Among them, the largest group is called the ‘Seksualiti Merdeka’. Seksualiti Merdeka is an annual event to celebrate gay pride in Malaysia, usually held in the capital of the country, Kuala Lumpur. It was however being banned from holding any LGBT related event after they caught the attention from the government.

Many transgender in Malaysia also suffers from being discriminated in the country, and the discriminating issues sometime cause their life to be threatened. In this year itself, it is being reported that many 13 transsexuals are being attacked over 6 months in Kuantan, Pahang (Fridae, 2012). Some of them are beaten with chain, steel bar and crash helmet. They are, however not robbed, but ended up with cuts and bruises. This had shown that LGBT faces certain extend of danger in Malaysia and not all of the people can accept the act of LGBT in the society. Although we can see many discriminating issues in the country from time to time, it is believed that the situation of LGBT discrimination will be better if the law changes.

2.3 LGBT and the Malaysian Government

In an event that include of 11,000 mosque committee and Islamic religious leaders around Malaysia, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak made the following statement.

“LGBTs, pluralism, liberalism – all these ‘isms’ are against Islam and it is compulsory for us to fight these.”

He also added that that those are the attacks on religion, and that we must stand strong to defend the government. In June, he also expressed his disappointment toward Barack Obama, the US President, for his stance on same sex marriages (Fridae, 2012).

In Malaysia, It is stated that Muslim men can be fined and jail for transvestism under Shariah Law. The penalties for cross-dressing are different in some of the states, but in Negeri Sembilan, the offenders of the law might be sentenced up to 6 months prison or fined as much as RM325, or both (Gooch, 2012).

Many court cases in the country also rejected the attempts of transgender to challenge the law. An application had been made to the court to review law, brought by 4 Muslims men that act and dress as women. It was the first time of similar challenge to be seen in court. The case was ruled by the Negeri Sembilan High Court as the four litigants are Muslims. The four litigants dress as women, go by feminine names, and with their identification cards declare them as male and carry original male names. They wanted to change their names and gender on the identification card legally because according to them, transgender people faces discrimination in Malaysia, where homosexuality is not allowed by the whole population. However they did not win the case as the judge stated that even if the case conflicts with freedom of expression, the Constitution override the Islamic laws.

2.4 The Media

The media has grown quickly along with the advance of technology in the past 50 years. There was telegraph, and then came the radio, newspaper, magazines, then television and now the internet. Today we all live in a world that most of us depend on information and communication to do our daily activities like entertainment, work, education, health care, travelling, personal relationships and any other things we do (Rayuso, 2008). The only medium that we depends on to provide us the information will be the media, which a common person in the city usually waking up by checking the news through television or newspaper before going to work. In addition, our decision making, beliefs and values are mostly base on the fact that we know, own assumptions and experiences. Therefore, media is a very important medium to update us with current news and facts about what happening around us and making us aware of it in our daily life.

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It is to said that media have been operating in delivering messages to the society and the society really needs media because it is the only medium that providing them information about various source, such as entertainment, work, education, health care, travelling and etc, that is happening on our current world. Moreover, in the past 50 years, media technology keeps on advancing to improve the media in delivering and spreading the messages to the society. In the current media, we knew in single click, media able to spread the message throughout the whole world with uniform ideas and to let people update themselves with latest news.

2.5 The Function of the media

As been proven and stated many times, the media plays a very important role in the society nowadays. No matter where you goes, media will always be around, from the television shows, the music that been listened too, to books, magazine, and newspaper that been read. World without the media, like people without communication, people in the society would be isolated, from governments, law-markers, town and cities (Scott).

Media having few function, first is the flow of the info technology. It is the development of communities and the media on how media flow around the society. Media will be the medium that provide the information and knowledge, with the wide array of information, some people will be opinion leader as people’s opinion and views will be passed around the society (Scott). One of the ways is word of mouth, where people obtain the information through media and spread it using words to words to share important information.

Media also works as surveillance that helps society to keep update on the latest issue happened surrounding us by giving us all the important point we need to know. Such as, who, what, where, why and how on the particular covered story. Media also act as watchdogs, where media must release the news story that is latest and hottest news and importantly must know what the governments are doing.

As to said, media consider as one of the most powerful strength in ability to effect changes, both on a social and governmental level in society. Moreover, media as act as the medium that giving latest and hottest news to the society as to update and to let the society know what is happening around them.

2.6 Media and its Influence

No matter in spoken, written, or broadcast communication in media medium such as newspaper, magazine, advertising, radio, television, and the internet, it able to affect the society perception and influence the society mind set towards a certain ideas or stuff. Television is the most widespread form of media communication and followed by the internet. As the increase usage of multi-media cell phones and computers, the internet will almost exceed the television as a communication media. The media able to show how much they operate by reaching far and deep communication into the society, and also the speed of the message delivered and accepted by the society. Media letting individual communication evolve into group communication, which as a result came out many wonderful advances in civilization (Aldinette, 2011). By having mass communication, governments, organization, and people groups have found that the media is the medium that helping in spreading if information in education, politics, business and industry, and so much more.

As to say, media able to influences people in many form, no matter in verbally or visually. Media has its’ power to grab attention and deliver its’ messages to influence the society. There are few examples of media channel that is, newspaper, magazine, radio, television, and finally the ultimate new media, the internet. These channels are all capable in shaping society perception and influence the society mind set toward the messages, it is because we always expose to the media which cause us to be influenced by it. The research shown that television is the most influential channel before came the internet, which is now chasing up with the help of usage of mobile phones and computers. This made the internet even an effective media to spread out the messages using web based. The advantage now is that media able to reach out audiences throughout the whole world and communicate into very deep within the society to pass down the message. This helps organization, government, and people groups to always update with latest information which delivered from the media.

There is no mistake or anyone able to deny that media not able to influence an individual. In this modern society, mass media is greatly influence the society through many different forms, such as through verbally and visually (Ranxero). In addition, modern society nowadays depends on media as gathering daily life information, such as entertainment, work, communication, and education. People will tend to remember the things that favorite them the most, such as television shows or even advertisement that able to grab their attention. Some of these show many sign as their nostalgic manner. As example their favorite music that that able to move you or affecting you’re emotionally or perhaps sparking a dream. Even for the news, people tend to believe and witnessed the broadcast news, but it is totally accurate? No one knew but just to trust the media.

In times passes by, the technological media starting to become mammoth and omnipresent to everyone. It starts to appear almost everywhere and finds it appear closer to connected to you and even provide solution or things you need the most, while without being questioned by us to the media. The effect of influential may be beneficial to the society, while some may harm the society by missed leading them and create negative effect. As been proving, mass media can be a very powerful tool; therefore, it must be handled properly but not with good judgment to the governments, but become an enemy of society. No matter where people are in this world, if there is appear of media, it will greatly affect all persons indigenous and non-indigenous (Ranxero).

It is to said that, mass media helped the modern society in gathering the daily news, such as sports, entertainment, business, daily happenings, and so much more. Therefore, the media is the only reliable medium that we get all our daily news from, but no one able to check the validity or truth of the story, and advertisement is also one of the source that keep on appear in our daily life. Advertisement is about promoting products and services that serves the organization view, which satisfies our needs and desire. All came to a conclusion that, mass media is a very influential tool and able to persuade the media society perception towards certain things. It is to decide whether to influence the society in the good way or bad ways, therefore, mass media must fall into the right hands.

2.7 LGBT in Malaysia Media

Recently, a parenting guide that teaches homosexuality symptoms had kicked up a storm on Internet, where sexuality and human rights activists expressed shock.

The Education Ministry endorsed guide to help parents and teachers, reported by Sin Chew Daily.

It was launched during a seminar in Penang, and billed as “Parenting in addressing the issue of LGBTs (lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders)”. Deputy Education Minister Mohd Puad Zarkashi officiated the event.

The guide listed symptoms for gays and lesbians:

For Gays:

Like to wear sleeveless tops and V-necks due to fondness for showing off masculine body

Prefer bright colour and tight clothing

Attracted to men

Tendency to carry big handbags that are similar to those used by women

For Lesbians:

Shows attraction to women

Does not attracted to men

Tendency to distance themselves from women other than their girlfriends

Preference to hand out, dining and sleeping with women

(Teoh E,S., 2012)

The guide, including teaching parents and public on how to spot lesbian and gays, are slightly stereotype. It had been published and discussed in various media like television, radio, newspaper and the internet.

Through the statement by the Education Minister, it had showed that the government is not ready to legalize the LGBT group’s right in this country. However, most of the discussions by public on the internet do not agree with the guide above. According to some of them, these guide does not helps to define gays because many of the heterosexuals also matches the symptoms.

However, to some of the public that has no knowledge about the LGBT group, might believe and follows the guide above. LGBT related news can be seen on the local news from time to time, however it was noticed that it is sometimes negative, or neutral.

Chapter 3 Methodology

3.1 Method Section

3.1.1 Subject Participants

3 questions have been branched out from Part A, Demographic. The first question asks about respondents’ gender, follow by level of education and the third one their sexual orientation. The above questions are asked to understand the relationship between respondents demographic and other data collected.

Gender of respondents is defined to understand the general perception of different gender towards LGBT group from information they gained from media. The data may vary according to different gender as they might view things differently.

The level of education on individuals is also a part of demographics. It is separated in 4 part, primary education, secondary education, post-secondary education and tertiary education. As the LGBT related matter is not everyday news, some people might not know much about the matter according to their level of education. People from higher level of education might pay more attention to such matter as they have studied and understand more about it, and people with lower level education might approach less to the LGBT related matter and might not pay much attention towards it. Therefore, the question is to view education base level towards this LGBT matter.

Sexual orientation of respondents is required to fill in as demographic. It is separated into 5 categories, which are homosexuals (gay), homosexuals (lesbian), heterosexual (straight), bisexual and transgender. The sexual orientation of individuals can sometimes result in different answer, as some have better understanding in LGBT related matter and some don’t pay much attention towards it. It can also sometimes cause bias answer according to different individuals, and demographic is important to define that. On the other hand, this questionnaire is given out to the general public, so the respondent might be any sexual orientation in answering the question.

3.1.2 Sampling Technique

Sampling technique that used in this research questionnaire is available sample under non-probability samples. Non-probability sample is chosen because the research question doesn’t follow the guidelines of mathematical probability; the chances for selecting of each unit is unknown, it is because the target audience is general audience, random and any unit will be chosen for being the research questionnaire’s respondent. Furthermore, it is because the total amount of sampling error present in a research study is unable to be calculated. As the research questionnaire targeted general audiences as respondent, therefore, the amount of audiences turning up is random, which hardly to estimate and calculate the respondent of the research questionnaire.

The research questionnaire then falls under non-probability’s available sample. The available sample is chosen because the targeted audience is general audience. General audience is a convenience sample to get, which it is throughout the public area and does not specific or particular sampling. Moreover, all the sampling subjects are ready and able to access for study anytime without any terms or limitation. Available sample also gave exploratory information. It makes the researcher to do more investigation towards the research problem and solution to provide more insight on the research. The research conduct is only provide small amount of information exists, therefore, the research questionnaire is created to give researcher better understanding towards the research by gaining and collecting public perception towards how media portray LGBT group.

There are several problematic issues when conducting available sample. Since the targeted audience is general audience, many samples will be collected from random respondent and answered by respondent that unknown background, which sometime will happened some unknown quantity of error, where respondent happen not to answer the question seriously or skip few question away. In addition, the respondent sometimes does not represent the population of the targeted group, which because it is general audience, there are might some respondent is not Malaysian and appear to be other nationality which they are expose to different type of media. Others problematic issues is researchers has the potential in eliminating potential problem in research procedures, testing, and methodology before the final research study is attempted. It is because the researcher only mainly focuses on the questionnaire which sometimes may eliminate some potential or crucial question that might contribute in the data research. This might affect the research data less accuracy and an error into it.

3.2 Research Design

3.2.1 Research Method & Instrument

Quantitative research has been chosen as the research method. It enables researc


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