The Media’s Construction of LGBT Pride Parades in Russia
This article analyses media representations of LGBT social movements, taking the case of Saint Petersburg LGBT pride parades. The analysis is developed through the use of framing theory, which views the media as an arena where interest groups promote their own interpretations of particular issues. Frames juxtapose elements of the text in such a way as to provide the audience with a scheme within which to perceive the message. Social movements are viewed as interest groups that introduce new frames in public debate. Two types of frames can be distinguished: collective action frames and status quo frames. In this study, the usage of two collective action frames (equality frame and victim frame), and two status quo frames (morality frame and propaganda promoting homosexuality frame) were examined. Additionally, the sources of quotes used in news stories were analyzed. The study focuses on articles dedicated to Saint Petersburg LGBT pride marches in the years 2010–2017 in the most popular local Internet websites. The analysis shows that the coverage of LGBT pride marches can be divided into two distinct periods: 2010–2013 and 2014–2017. In the first period, LGBT activists dominated the coverage, quoted about twice as much as government officials. Equality and victim frames were prevalent. In the second period, activists were cited significantly less often, with the propaganda promoting homosexuality frame dominating the discourse. However, contrary to findings of previous studies on social movement representation, across the whole period under consideration, LGBT activists were quoted more often than government representatives. This finding calls for a further exploration of the conditions which allowed for such coverage in the context of political heterosexism and homophobia.