Welcome to a series on Proudly dedicated to sharing the stories of a range of influential LGBTQ+ content creators from all walks of life. This series will enable us to showcase their experiences in the industry to inspire future content creators from our community.

We 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 Proudly where we have been lucky enough to interview inspiring people such as: Scott McGlynn, Sassify Zine, Dan Morrissey and Matt Horwood who have shared their incredible stories with us already.

For today’s article we spoke with Broadcast Journalist Joe Wilmot who is a presenter for Springpod and TV Director at 5USA and National Geographic

Joe spoke with us about the representation of the LGBTQ+community in the modern world of media. How employers are trying to be more inclusive and has given Proudly key tips for the future generation of journalists.

Joe’s life in front of the camera

Joe has been a broadcast journalist for the past 3-4 years with his work mainly being centred around LGBTQ+ equality, while also branching out into sport and the financial sector. With family connections in the world of football, Joe’s brother is professional footballer Ben WIlmot. Although Joe has pathed his own incredible career as a journalist where he uses his voice to highlight the homophobia issues surrounding us as his main goal in his career is to make a difference.

One of these ideas brought to life is Joe’s educational 3 part mini-doc series titled ‘Stepping Out‘ which you can watch on Joe’s official YouTube channel. In each video Joe discusses a different topic that are key areas of homophobia within society such as politics, religion and football. We highly recommend you watch these videos as it even inspired Proudly to write a story about the constant battle of homophobia within football. There are countless videos on Joe’s page that you can go check out and will help him stand out to hiring employers for his portfolio.

From a young age Joe always knew he wanted to be a part of the Media industry. He liked telling the truth and within social circles, being the one to inform friends of gossip or new things that were happening in which he knew would make a great fit for being a journalist. 

At the age of 15 Joe was lucky enough to visit the set of ITV’s This Morning where he got to witness Phillip Scofield and Holly Willoughby present the show live. He soon realised that both presenting and being a journalist was something he wanted to make a career out of, so he combined his love for both aspects and took the decision to become a Broadcast Journalist. 

Joe Wilmot meeting Phillip & Holly on the set of This Morning

Joe then went on to graduation with a 1st class degree in Broadcast Journalism at The University of Salford and is now based in Media City where he is met with endless opportunities that he says he wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else.

Not being afraid to speak his mind or challenging people in discussions is just one of the many great aspects that makes Joe an outstanding Journalist in this generation. His ultimate career goal is to present the evening news for either BBC or ITV, with one of his greater ambitions being breaking America. 

Representation of LGBTQ+ in the Media – Can there be too much? 

Joe believes that in today’s world enough has been done over the years to reach the bar in the LGBTQ+ getting enough recognition, with more recognition needing to be highlighted for content creators and their stories. 

However, Joe does stress the point that what people see in the media of the LGBTQ+ community needs to be an accurate representation in that the community only makes up a small part of society as a whole. If too much representation is being made the backlash and slander from people outside of the community starts to accumulate and cause problems. Many people in this community believe the more representation the better, and although logically that is what was needed to be done in order to get to the normalisation of the community in the media, it does need to be represented accurately through the society we live in now. 

There were many times when content creators and stories that LGBTQ+ people shared were not socially acceptable but now are able to use their voices, stories and different representations to do so to be socially accepted and equal amongst the rest of the media industry. Joe says that right now the community should be taking advantage of the newfound freedom that this generation has to keep making waves and a difference for the future community. 

The multimedia platform Youtube is a great example of this newfound of freedom. Coming out videos have been expanding since the platform’s beginnings, with last year Youtuber ‘Daniel Howell’ releasing a 45-minute video entitled ‘Basically I’m Gay’. His video, like many others, go beyond the traditional coming out videos in which they address the difficulties with accepting yourself, loving yourself and most importantly the choices in which many people now struggle between which is choosing between your career or sexuality.

Having these videos publish not only help people in the same positions show they are loved and accepted, but also highlight the harsh reality that in society people are still afraid to come out in case they don’t get the same career opportunities as would a heterosexual. But does being part of the LGBTQ+ community help a career? Does being gay make or break a career? 

Now more than ever before, employers are trying to be more inclusive and diverse, with it being more common on job applications to state your sexuality. Joe says his sexuality has never gotten him a job and would never wish that it would as getting a job based on your sexuality is not how employees should look. Although the media industry is very diverse, one of the most diverse industries out there, many people in the public eye are afraid to come out later in their career in case it is detrimental. 

‘I’ve had straight friends in the past that have stated on job applications that they are gay as they believe that it does have an advantage over someone who states they are straight.’

Joe Wilmot’s answer to if being gay puts you at and advantage or disadvantage for jobs

This is becoming a sad reality for employers as they are wanting to look more inclusive from the outside. Although it was very clear Joe does not believe your sexuality puts you at an advantage or disadvantage for a job but believes you should be honest and upfront incase it does come back to haunt you in the future.

Get your foot in the door! 

A piece of advice Joe gave for our generation of Journalists is to don’t pigeonhole yourself, and by that he means don’t always go gay stories just because you are part of the LGBTQ+ Community. You need to show future employees that you have a range, by showing range it will also help in terms of growing as a person. Always being open minded and listening to people’s opinions you may not agree with also helps shapes you into being a great journalist as it shows diverse and that you’re not just a one-sided person but can see both sides to arguments. 

Overview – Get involved 

As mentioned previously, Proudly.blog 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 Joe Wilmot for sharing his story

Joe Wilmot

Joe is a journalism graduate from the University of Salford and currently is a presenter for Springpod, TV Director at 5USA and National Geographic.

You can visit Joe’s official website by clicking here.

Writing contributions Courtney Groom