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National Coming Out Day Speaker to Discuss 'LGBT Identity in the Digital Age'

ITHACA, NY -- An expert on the history of how lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people have been portrayed in the media will speak at Ithaca College for National Coming Out Day on Thursday, Oct. 7. Stephen Tropiano will present “Truth, Lies, and Everything In Between: LGBT Identity in the Digital Age” at 7 p.m. in Clark Lounge, Egbert Hall. His talk is free and open to the public.

The author of “The Prime Time Closet: A History of Gays and Lesbians on TV,” Tropiano is “out” himself. He notes that since the 1950s, the traditional media has served as America’s primary source of information about the subject of homosexuality.

“Movies and TV shows, in particular, have always played a significant role in constructing the public identities of LGBT people,” said Tropiano. “The tremendous changes in the media landscape over the past two decades have had a considerable impact on how others define us as individuals and as a community, and how we define ourselves.”

Using film and television clips as well as examples from the Internet, Tropiano will discuss whether digital media and the Internet give the world “a more complete and accurate picture of who we are, or whether they perpetuate the same lies and myths that have haunted us for decades.”

A 1984 graduate of Ithaca College, Tropiano is an associate professor of television-radio in the college’s Roy H. Park School of Communications and director of its Los Angeles program. Currently serving as editor of the “Journal of Film and Video,” he is also the author of the books “Obscene, Indecent, Immoral and Offensive: 100+ Years of Censored, Banned, and Controversial Films” and “Rebels and Chicks: A History of the Hollywood Teen Movie.”

Tropiano was the cocurator of the 2005 “Gay Hollywood” exhibit at the Hollywood Entertainment Museum and served as a panelist for a program on “LGBT Youth in Television: Tweens, Teens, and More!” by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. He has been interviewed about LGBT portrayals by the Logo, Bravo, MSNBC, and PBS television networks.

Tropiano’s talk is sponsored by the Ithaca College Center for LGBT Education, Outreach, and Services. National Coming Out Day is sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign and is intended to advance open and respectful dialogue about the lives of LGBT Americans and their family and friends. For more information, visit /lgbt/.