Gay, lesbian and bisexual people must build relationships with the media if they want to see better and fairer portrayals of themselves in newspapers and on TV, says Bill Belzer, a Kansas City-based official with the Gay Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
"When you have your stories told, people understand you," he said.
Belzer spoke to a gathering of 19 university students and faculty members and members of the community Wednesday night at Crisp Hall's Dempster Auditorium.
The audience included members of the Rainbow Alliance, a gay and lesbian organization at Southeast.
Belzer's job is to monitor how Midwest news media cover homosexual issues.
Preliminary plans were made to attend the Rev. Jerry Falwell's appearance in Cape Girardeau, which will occur the same week as the April 10 Day of Silence. On the Day of Silence, begun in 1996, students take a vow of silence to protest discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Invisibility is a problem for gays in Cape Girardeau, members of the audience said. The Rainbow Alliance isn't even listed in most university publications.
One student said his parents let him come to Southeast only because they didn't know a gay group was on campus.