Hello and welcome to the fourth part of the 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. 

On we will be shining a spotlight on various different LGBTQ+ creators and influencers in the media to help inspire upcoming LGBTQ+ journalists to 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 Dan Morrissey, Scott McGlynn and Jason Kattenhorn who have shared their incredible stories with us already. 

For today’s article we spoke with Matt Horwood, Assistant Director of Communications for LGBTQ+ Youth homelessness charity AKT and the Board of Trustees for LGBT charity London Friend

Matt talked with us about the various different LGBTQ+ Charities he has worked alongside and how the representation of LGBTQ+ diversity has changed over the years. 

The life of Matt Horwood

 While studying, Matt landed himself a two-week placement with Manchester Pride where he worked for one of its former festival directors, Jackie Crozier. Enjoying his time, he decided to stay longer interning while completing his course. Manchester Pride’s Press Officer left during this time, so Jackie took a chance on Matt and offered him the role. Beforehand Matt had not been thoroughly engaged in LGBTQ+ issues or politics, but the charity helped opened his eyes to key issues and the different forms of discrimination people faced daily. 

Since then Matt has become a key mentor in different LGBTQ+ Charities such as working for sexual health and HIV Charity Terrence Higgins Trust and LGBT equalities charity Stonewall

Although this wasn’t a career path Matt thought he would take, he understands that himself and the charities he works with can help make a positive change. Not only in the world but in people’s lives. He says the work can be incredibly challenging, but the sense of family and togetherness at the end is undeniable. 

Matt Horwood’s Twitter profile picture

Representation in the Media 

Alongside other guests that we have spoken to during this series, Matt agrees that representation is still not inclusive enough.

LGBTQ+ representation often leans heavily toward gay, cisgender white men. Only recently from the past year have we seen better visibility for the trans community, however alongside the growth has come the growth in violence hate that media outlets have thrown at trans and non-binary people. 

The world needs to strive to ensure the diversity of voices within the different communities can be heard. For example; Black LGBTQ+ Folk and QTIPOC, queer people with disabilities, older LGBTQ+ people and queer migrants. 

‘inclusive representation is really important because it helps people, inside or outside of our community, understand that ‘LGBT’ is not one homogenous group. While we share the experience of discrimination and being ‘other’, the various strands of our identities in fact mean our experiences are very different. ‘

Matt Horwood

This is also really important because whether you can see yourself in the media can be the difference between feeling valid or not. 

Having a Platform 

Matt encourages new journalists to help share stories that aren’t being heard and to reflect on why the other queer journalists and media folk all look very similar and do what you can to try and challenge and change that for the better. 

‘If you’re a journalist specifically, don’t speak for groups of people who you don’t represent. Work on building trustworthy relationships with people who are happy to speak on these issues, but also make it worthwhile for them. If your outlet can’t pay people for their involvement in press work, find out what else you can do to support them and their activism.’ 

Matt Horwood

Get involved

As mentioned previously, will be taking an insight into various LGBTQ+ creators to help inspire the young and upcoming journalists of 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. 

Big thank you to Matt Horwood for sharing his story.

You can follow Matt on Twitter here.

Have your own story to share?

Get in touch via social media

Writing contributions: Courtney Groom