In honor of the International AIDS Conference that will take place in Washington, D.C. later this month, Diane Winston, a member of the SSRC New Directions in the Study of Prayer Advisory Committee) contributed an essay to Religion Dispatches on the change in mainstream attitudes towards the LGBT community in response to the AIDS epidemic. Winston discusses the religious community’s and media’s response to discussing AIDS over the last 30 years, and postulates that perhaps the spread of AIDS and its coverage in the media has helped to pave the way for greater LGBT equality.

The onset of AIDS and the religious community’s response to the epidemic transformed Americans’ attitudes toward homosexuality. But fundamental for the shift was the news media’s role in altering the narrative—a noteworthy outcome for an institution that claims to provide just the facts.

Read the complete essay here.