Media Portrayal Stigma Among Gender and Sexual Minorities

  • Jagadish Thaker
  • Mohan Jyoti Dutta
  • Vijay Nair
  • Vishnu Prasad Rao


Media plays an important role in broadcasting stigmas. Research on media and public stigma attitudes toward homosexual stigma show mixed results. Few studies, however, focus on how the stigmatized individuals and groups perceive and react to stereotyped media portrayals. This study focuses on stigma against gender and sexual minorities, targeted as “high-risk” groups in HIV/AIDS campaigns: Men who have sex with men, Transgender and Hijras (MTH). Factor analysis of data from a cross-sectional survey of gender and sexual minorities in three south Indian cities (N=225) indicated five distinct dimensions of minority stigma. Apart from three dimensions of stigma identified by previous studies—experienced or enacted stigma, internalized or self-stigma, felt normative stigma—this study found two new dimensions of stigma—HIV-related vicarious stigma or hearing stories about stigma and discrimination against HIV positive individuals, and perceived media portrayal stigma. Regression models show that media use is positively associated with perceived media stigma, and that perceived media stigma is negatively associated with identity disclosure, but only through experiences of stigma and discrimination. How minorities discursively manage media stigma will have important implications for reducing stigma and discrimination.


Stigma Stigma communication management Media MSM Homosexuality India Culture-centered approach 



The Office of the Provost of the National University of Singapore provided funding for this project to the Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE). We thank advisory board members and other community members for participating in this study.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jagadish Thaker
    • 1
  • Mohan Jyoti Dutta
    • 2
  • Vijay Nair
    • 3
  • Vishnu Prasad Rao
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Communication, Journalism & MarketingMassey UniversityWellingtonNew Zealand
  2. 2.Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE)Massey UniversityPalmerston NorthNew Zealand
  3. 3.India HIV/AIDS AllianceHyderabadIndia

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