Pride in the Media is an ongoing series on local LGBTQ media personalities and ally representatives of queer-affirming local media outlets.
Houston’s local media outlets are not afraid to show off their Pride.
Every June, television stations such as KHOU, and radio broadcasts like KRBE, put up rainbow-colored booths and hand out free swag at Space City’s annual LGBTQ celebration.
That collection of stations supporting Houston’s LGBTQ community will grow this year as KXLN-TV, the Spanish news outlet also known as Univision, participates in Houston Pride on June 22.
“Univision will be at Houston’s Pride festival this year,” Univision news anchor Osvaldo Corral says. “This is a big deal for us, because we have never been before.”
Along with being the face of Noticias 45 Houston, Corral serves as the Houston chair of Orgullo. That national Univision employee group (whose name means “pride” in Spanish) provides professional development for all LGBTQ and ally employees throughout the country.
“There are about 100 people who work at Univision Houston, and seven of us are members of Orgullo,” Corral says. “I wanted to [be a part of the group] because I believe that LGBTQ people should be respected and have the same rights as anyone else.”
Univision has protections for LGBTQ employees, Corral says, and the station always pushes for more inclusion and diversity. In his own newscast, which airs at 11:30 a.m. on channel 45 and on Facebook Live, Corral uses his spotlight to further highlight LGBTQ issues.
“I’m very respected in the Latino community,” says Corral, who has won a Lone Star Emmy for Best News Anchor. “I know that people care about what I say. That’s why, when debates about LGBTQ equality come up, I always defend it. Thanks to my job, I have a voice to change the hearts and minds of people.”
For a 2013 news segment, Corral interviewed several religious leaders in Houston to question their views on same-sex marriage. Corral spoke with the heads of Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and Buddhist congregations about the controversial topic.
“My story was not biased, but I did have some [hard-hitting questions] for the religious leaders who opposed gay marriage,” Corral says. “I asked them, ‘Did Jesus ever explicitly say anything to condemn gay people?’ The answer is no.
“When I brought up the fact that Jesus did condemn people who divorce and get remarried, and that [it was hypocritical for religious leaders to perform those second marriages], the leaders got very upset,” Corral added.
Corral says he is just as forceful when responding to anti-LGBTQ comments during the Noticias 45 Facebook Live stream.
Univision became the first news station in Houston to air a broadcast live on television and social media simultaneously in May 2017. While Noticias 45 takes a commercial break on television, Facebook Live viewers can interact with Corral and co-host Laura Sierra by typing messages to them in the comments section.
When Noticias 45 reported that the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston named 42 priests who were facing “credible claims” of child abuse, a viewer commented “[That happens] because all homos are perverted.” Corral refuted that statement by responding that in his 17 years of working in news, the majority of sexual-abuse cases did not involve LGBTQ culprits.
“Sometimes viewers [critique me] for defending the LGBTQ community,” Corral says, “but I have gay friends, and they are very respectful people. I am passionate about the topic, and as a journalist, it is my job to report the truth.”
After attending Houston Pride on June 22, Orgullo will be present at other LGBTQ events in Houston. On June 24, the group will host a watch party for the debut of El Corazón Nunca Se Equivoca, the first telenovela that will star a gay couple in a leading role.
More details on the screening will be announced online in early to mid-June.
This article appears in the June 2019 edition of OutSmart magazine.