What this series is all about
Hello and welcome to a series on my blog dedicated to sharing the stories of a range of influential LGBTQ+ content creators from all walks of life. This series will enable me to showcase their experiences in the industry to inspire future content creators from our community.
The month of June is a particularly special month for those of us who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community, and although things are extremely difficult this year, it doesn’t stop us from celebrating.
Pride month is a global celebration, no matter your gender, race or sexuality – Pride month is a time to celebrate. For the month of June here on the blog we will be shining a spotlight on various different LGBTQ+ creators to help aspire journalists and show that if you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything.
I want to shine light on the people who have made strides in a very competitive industry. Hopefully this series is the start of something special for my blog where I get to meet more inspiring people like Scott and Jason who have shared their incredible stories with us already.
For todays article we spoke with Dan Morrissey, Radio Presenter for Bauer’s Hits Radio Network. Dan presents the Hits at Breakfast show on Free Radio in Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Shropshire, while also working alongside their national Magic Network.
Having been presenting for over 25 years, Dan talked with us about his journey to where he is today and the struggles he faced being openly part of the LGBTQ+ Community.
The life of Dan Morrissey
Growing up Dan was always invested into the world of radio, but not by choice. His parents didn’t buy a TV for his household until he was about 14, therefore Radio was the only connection to what was going on in the world around him that he had. With an ever still growing passion to pain pictures with words and noises, Dan quickly became a Presenter on Free Radio. Merging both his love for Pop music and Entertainment, Dan radiates his passion for Radio every single week and aspires to continue for as long as possible.
Over the years the Radio industry, and Media has a whole, has opened its gateway to become LGBTQ+ friendly with more openly gay Radio and TV presenters featured more than ever before. Dan says when starting in the industry 25 years ago he had openly gay bosses, colleagues and management around him which helped him immensely over the years to not hide his sexuality while in the business like some other feel like they have to. There is still always challenges to face along the way for anyone who is part of the LGBTQ+ community in any sort of Media industry, but it is improving and being more inclusive each day.
LGBTQ+ recognition in the media
But what is ‘enough’ recognition? Can there ever be enough as long as communities remain marginalised and misunderstood?
Dan agrees that we’re in a better place now then a few years ago when it comes to the representation of LGBTQ+ on mainstream media, but still believes there is a LONG way to go.
Stereotypes is still a large problem in which we face today, and Dan says the only way of dismantling it is by showing a whole range of LGBTQ+ people from across all forms as often and as respectfully as possible, including TV shows and movies.
Typically, in TV shows and movies the gay character would merely be used just for the sake of having a LGBTQ+ character with no real storyline used for stereotypical comedic effect or to meet a diversity quota, For example; Officer Specter a unicorn from the Disney film Outward who was Pixar’s first LGBTQ+ character but is only a minor character with no background.
But today their storylines are more about their general lives and treated more equally with storylines and screen time. A show that really showcased this change was the 2015-2018 Netflix Original ‘Sense 8’ where the series featured 8 different LGBTQ+ Characters with their two main characters being a transgender woman and a black lesbian.
However, anyone in the public eye still feels the need to ‘hide’ part of themselves or lying to their audience in a way of protecting themselves and their career. But someone who sparked a conversation and changed the way we as a society talk about gender was Sam Smith.
Last summer the Singer-songwriter came out publicly as non-binary via a tweet, changing his pronouns from he/him to they/them, sparking a worldwide discussion. The singer himself said that it would take a long time for people to stop using gender in their vocabulary but explained that it ‘needs to happen’. It can take a while for people to understand the grammar of pronoun changes and understand that gender fluidity is something real, but it is up to each individual person to learn that upon themselves.
The power of a platform
Dan discuss the struggles that he also faced in using generic pronouns to describe his partner while on air, in fear that his audience would switch off. It wasn’t just a fear of his but also previous management being reluctant at the idea of Dan being open and honest about his sexuality. And it wasn’t until about five years ago that Dan says, after a boss encouraged him to be more open, that he stopped hiding that part of his life describing it as ‘freeing’.
‘I don’t feel like I have to constantly hide part of my life and it’s allowed me to open up more to my audience and be more authentic, and they in return hopefully hear me talking specifically about my boyfriend (fiancé now!) in a way that will just sound natural and “normal”.
Dan doesn’t describe himself as a role-model but as a person with a platform. Being given the opportunity to speak across the Radio network each day telling stories about himself and his fiancé allows for other LGBTQ+ people to hear and be open with their sexuality too. The more people that hear and see, the more accepted it will become and the more change we can do.
Dan believes we are in a good and improving place, with the more LGBTQ+ people that are featured on shows, as well as presenters and journalists, the only way to go is forward.
Big thank you to Dan Morrissey for sharing his story.
As mentioned before this Pride Month we will be taking an insight into various LGBTQ+ creators to help inspire the young and upcoming journalists today.
If you have a story you would like to share or think you know someone who would like to share their story. Get in touch and get involved.
Have your own story to share?