Toward Transformative Media Organizing: LGBTQ and Two-Spirit Media Work in the United States

Published in Media, Culture & Society, 1–26:

This article summarizes key findings from a strengths and needs assessment of media work by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans*, Queer (LGBTQ) and Two-Spirit organizations in the United States, conducted in 2014–2015. This mixed-methods participatory research included a nationwide organizational survey with 231 respondents, 19 expert interviews, and a series of workshops with project partners and advisers. We found that despite scarce resources, many LGBTQ and Two-Spirit organizations have an intersectional analysis of linked systems of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and other axes of identity and structural inequality. Many seek to do media work that develops the critical consciousness and leadership of their communities, create media in ways that are deeply accountable to their social base, use participatory approaches to media making, are strategic and cross-platform in their approach, and root their work in community action. We call this combination of characteristics transformative media organizing, and we believe it describes an emerging paradigm for social movement media practices in the current media landscape.

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Sasha Costanza-Chock

About Sasha Costanza-Chock

Sasha Costanza-Chock is a scholar, activist, and media-maker, and is currently Associate Professor of Civic Media at MIT. They are a Faculty Associate at the Berkman-Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, Faculty Affiliate with the MIT Open Documentary Lab and the MIT Center for Civic Media, and creator of the MIT Codesign Studio (codesign.mit.edu). Their work focuses on social movements, media justice, and community-led design. Sasha’s book Out of the Shadows, Into the Streets: Transmedia Organizing and the Immigrant Rights Movement was published by the MIT Press in 2014. They are a board member of Allied Media Projects (alliedmedia.org), and a worker/owner at Research Action Design (RAD.cat), a worker-owned cooperative that uses community-led research, transformative media organizing, technology development, and collaborative design to build the power of grassroots social movements.