Henry Van Ameringen's Gift to the Doomed In the Life Media

Henry Van Ameringen awarded national LGBT televised news outlet In Life Media (ITLM) a gift of $1 million in March. The tragedy of it is that most of the money will never make it to producing the high-quality investigative journalism on LGBT relevant issues on which ITLM has staked its name over the past two decades. Despite the efforts and generosities of Van Ameringen and a handful of other supporters such as The Arcus and Calamus Foundations, ITLM plans to cease making new material as of this coming December.

In its heyday, ITLM has covered some of the most important moments in the American struggle for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans people. In 1994, Van Ameringen recalls in a press release on his grant, they reported on the ruling in support of same-sex marriage in Hawaii. ITLM was there when "binational same-sex couples were being torn apart by discriminatory immigration laws" before the story broke in the mainstream media. They broached the topic of homophobic bullying before it became a national issue as well, Van Ameringen says.

Now, ITLM plans to shift its focus away from producing new investigative journalism to archiving "thousands of hours of incomparable and never-before seen footage chronicling the evolution of LGBT rights in America," according to an article Van Ameringen submitted to Gaynewspulse.com.

The Huffington Post reports that Van Ameringen gave two gifts, $75,000 and $38,800 respectively, to the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund in the first quarter of this year. Perhaps these most recent gifts signify a shift in focus on behalf of Van Ameringen away from media and journalistic efforts toward a stance more reminiscent of political lobbying.