Broadly Released a Gender-Inclusive Stock Photo Library
Broadly proves once again they're a champion for inclusivity in media!
Broadly Is Leading the Way for Inclusivity One Stock Photo at a Time
In a whitewashed world where the heteronormative narrative is favored above the rest, Broadly has long since been a champion in challenging the status quo.
Arguably one of the most inclusive publishers in media, the Vice channel makes it a point to cover stories pertaining to people of all genders, ethnicities, religions, and so on. Rather than simply sharing these narratives from the perspective of a white, cisgender staff, Broadly has made it a point to hire a more gender-inclusive staff to ensure the right people are accurately telling these stories and creating space for topics that rarely ever take center stage in the mainstream media.
Recently, Broadly made a major step towards greater inclusivity by releasing a gender-inclusive stock photo collection. They noticed a huge gap in the way transgender and non-binary individuals were represented in stock photos, so they set out to change that.
We chatted with the company's Editor in Chief, Lindsay Schrupp, to learn more about how The Gender Spectrum Collection came to be and how the media (Women.com included) can do a better job at representing these individuals in a positive and accurate light.
Women.com: How did the idea for a gender-inclusive stock photo library first come about?
Lindsay Schrupp: We've struggled with finding representative stock photos of transgender and non-binary subjects since our inception, but the idea came about late last year, while we were preparing stories around Trans Day of Remembrance. Things kicked off after the holidays to put our plan into action. We hoped the name of the library would signify the broad range of expressions of gender identity included within it.
WDC: Did transgender and non-binary individuals have a hand in helping this all come to life, apart from being the models for these photos?
LS: Yes, Zackary Drucker is a trans artist and photographer who took all of the photos. Diana Tourjee, who is a trans staff writer on Broadly, helped bring this project to life in a myriad ways. Alyza Enriquez, who served as AP and a model on the shoot, identifies as non-binary, as well as others. We also consulted with GLAAD and other transgender journalists and advocates throughout this process.
WDC: How were the models and photographer chosen? How did you decide the scenes the images would depict?
LS: There is no one way to look transgender, but media representations often show trans people as white, and usually as women. We wanted to make sure we were being as inclusive and representative as possible in this process. Of course, we know that 15 models cannot possibly represent an entire population, which is why we see this as one step in a larger push for greater representation of these communities.
WDC: Can we expect more images to be uploaded to the library?
LS: Yes, we want to continue to add to the library, and would love for other outlets to help build on this collection as well.
WDC: Is there an image or collection you personally love?
LS: It's really hard to choose favorites, but I personally love the photos that show trans and non-binary people in positions of power, especially the photos of the transfeminine executive meeting with a non-binary employee. It's also rare to see stories that aren't explicitly about gender identity with photos of trans or non-binary people in them. So it was very important to us to create photos that editors can use for all sorts of stories: beauty, education, fitness, wellness, and so on. It's that range that is particularly meaningful to me.
WDC: What does it mean to you to be a part of this and have worked on this project?
LS: I feel incredibly proud to have worked on this project, in huge part due to the team of brilliant and thoughtful people who helped bring this to life. It was also a humbling experience to reflect on our own photo choices at Broadly, and to recognize that stock photo libraries alone won't solve this issue. We as editors need to confront our own biases and think critically about how we can stop perpetuating harmful stereotypes and allow for greater visibility of trans and non-binary people across all of our work.
WDC: How can we make sure we're using these images appropriately, in terms of making sure they accurately represent trans and non-binary individuals?
LS: We ask that anyone who wants to use these photos to please familiarize yourself with the guidelines and use it as a resource to make appropriate contextual decisions. We also encourage editors not to make these decisions alone. Talk with colleagues or LGBT people who have offered their help. National organizations like GLAAD can also help to provide best practices.
WDC: How can the media do a better job at representing trans and non-binary people, apart from using these stock images?
LS: There is so much work to be done here and there's so much that the media can do. For example, media orgs can stop misgendering or deadnaming trans and non-binary people, include them in stories that aren't explicitly about gender identity, and perhaps most importantly, hire trans and non-binary writers, editors, photographers.
WDC: What do you hope the industry learns from your creation of this stock photo collection?
LS: It's important to think about the power a photo has to shape social perceptions and impact real lives. Beyond intentional misrepresentation and willful ignorance, I think there's also a lesson to be learned about not taking the easy way out or simply falling back on standard practices. We want to challenge ourselves and other members of the media to think critically about the images we choose and the larger social narratives we're creating.
We Want to Hear From You
Have any more questions for Lindsay about Broadly's gender-inclusive stock photo collection?