With sadness, the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalist Association is standing in solidarity and offer our most sincere condolences to the families of the victims of the massacre at Pulse bar in Orlando.

The horrific act of hate and violence took the lives of at least 49 people and left many seriously injured. Our hearts are with the friends and loved ones who are mourning today.

Hate and discrimination against many people of certain ethnicities, faiths, sexual orientations and gender identities still exist. However, we must not allow hatred to drive a wedge into our communities.

As journalists we walk a thin line in our efforts to bring accurate and fair coverage of the news. NLGJA wants to help journalists with questions about how to cover the LGBT community, and it has provided some tips as to how to do so at http://tinyurl.com/NLGJA-OpenLetter-Orlando.

Here are a few tips, as well as some information from NLGJA’s stylebook on how to handle terminology while covering this story. There’s even more on our website, NLGJA.org.

  1. Don’t assume someone’s sexual orientation. If it’s germane to the story (likely, in covering the Orlando shooting), ask how the person identifies.
  2. Don’t assume someone’s gender identity. If it’s germane to the story (possibly, in covering the Orlando shooting), ask how the person identifies.
  3. Don’t use gay to include lesbian, bisexual or transgender. It’s OK to use “gay” in headlines for space, but make sure to explain it further in the story.

To assist journalists, NLGJA offers a stylebook on common word choice and tip sheets on issues that affect our communities. You can find both at nlgja.org/resources. NLGJA also has professional development available through its Newsroom Outreach Program. The project was designed to help newsrooms better understand the complexities of covering our diverse communities, while remaining unbiased. Please feel free to NLGJA. The organization has members in local, national and international newsrooms who are experienced covering these issues.

Please feel free to donate to Equality Florida’s Go Fund Me page to help the victims and family of victims of this act of terror against the LGBT community.