Following a yearlong project with Qnotes’ reporters investigating solutions to LGBTQ labor and workplace issues, Chris Rudisill launched an online resource in May to amplify more such stories in mainstream news outlets. In addition to writing for Qnotes over the past three-and-a-half years, Rudisill also supports the paper’s digital and audience engagement needs, runs the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative and in 2020 launched artstreet, a creative project management company specializing in the arts, journalism and cultural history. 

This latest project, named (queer)alize, is the result of a fellowship funded by the Solutions Journalism Network, following Qnotes’ involvement in a national cohort of newsrooms focused on labor solutions. “My goal is to increase more diverse sourcing and visibility of LGBTQ people in local news stories and increase tools for LGBTQ reporters to create impactful solutions journalism,” says Rudisill. 

The project has already received some early attention from news outlets and support organizations across the country, giving Rudisill hope that it could increase more equitable reporting. Journalists are invited to sign up for a newsletter that will feature different story ideas and resources. New topics will be explored monthly. 

The name references words like “localize” and “contextualize.” In the case of (queer)alize, it is all about making stories relevant for queer audiences. Take for instance the first piece, “Finding the job (story)” that takes a common news topic like weekly unemployment numbers and highlights the increased risks and barriers that LGBTQ people face. 

The online toolkit provides questions that reporters might consider when approaching the story, along with source ideas and journalism resources like LGBTQ-focused stock photography and style guides. 

“I knew from the start that a key part of the project would be to centralize LGBTQ resources, data and organizations,” says Rudisill. 

The project launches with an initial set of linked tools including: 

  • Style guides from the Associated Press, the Association of LGBTQ Journalists and the Trans Journalists Association
  • Stock images from the Gender Spectrum Collection
  • Links to professional networks like the National LGBTQ Journalist Association and the News is Out collaborative
  • Research from Franklin & Marshall Global Barometers on gay and transgender rights

Another important resource included in the launch is The Trans Language Primer, a project Rudisill was first introduced to when interviewing Greyson Simon for “Nonbinary and seeking a job” for Qnotes in April. 

Greyson and their fellow organizers hope the Primer helps people better express the personal and complicated nature of gender terminology. 

Be Proud of Your Reporting

For Pride month, (queer)alize includes two additional toolkits by reporter Jordan Wilkie, one that lays out a series of tips and laws reporters should be knowledgeable of when covering events and protests. “Reporting should be done carefully to avoid amplifying hateful groups or messaging, or making LGBTQ+ people feel unsafe by creating a perception of danger even when there are no specific threats,” writes Wilkie.

It includes basic facts about anti-LGBTQ actions and tips for documenting them. It also provides some questions a reporter might ask of local elected officials or organizers. “Establishing community and fostering allyship is a key strategy for building safety into civil society for minority groups,” continues Wilkie. The other Pride month feature gives reporters some clear ideas on stories that celebrate the LGBTQ community.  

Rudisill is now exploring ways to grow the project and its reach. He is even exploring how AI tools might be adapted to advance diversity in writing versus the fear that it will further divide. 

Artificial intelligence applications like ChatGPT have grown in popularity and news organizations, like other companies, are discussing its ethical use while finding ways to harness its power. Programs based on algorithms have proven to disproportionately harm vulnerable communities by amplifying biases. 

“Our stories and our life experiences are nuanced,” says Rudisill. “That is why I created (queer)alize – to increase diversity in journalism sourcing, further inclusion of LGBTQ people and their stories in local news and to build out tools that LGBTQ journalists need to be successful.” 

As the LGBTQ community faces legislative and social threats, some of which are focused on removing our stories and culture like bans on books with LGBTQ characters or outlawing drag, visibility can be a key tool in fighting back. Rudisill hopes that (queer)alize helps others promote that visibility too. 

To learn more about the project, visit and to read more stories from Qnotes’ special series, OUTlook: Finding Solutions for Labor and Workplace Equality visit

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