One Equal World

Posts Tagged ‘lgbtq

The YouTube logo.

Image credit: rvlsoft/ Shutterstock

In its constant push to make YouTube into a mainstream, profit-generating machine, Google has (hopefully inadvertently) started blocking content by LGBTQ+ creators. The introduction of a “restricted mode” for the service is designed to make it more “family friendly,” allowing parents to feel better about their kids poking around YouTube, which can contain a lot of profanity, hate speech, and nudity.

The problem is that somehow or another, the system used to define what is restricted has flagged some videos from LGBTQ+ content creators. The implication seems to be that content by and for LGBTQ+ people isn’t “family friendly,” an outmoded way of thinking for sure.

According to Tyler Oakley, a gay content creator, YouTube is “often the first place many LGBTQ+ youth around the world see themselves and their stories shared and celebrated.” Representation, whether of the LGBTQ+ community or other marginalized groups, is hard to come by in mainstream media.

For the most part, YouTube has, until some recent changes, been a place where anyone can post content and be seen. And while it’s still true that anyone can post content, it appears that not everyone is being seen. This comes at a time when LGBTQ+ visibility is more important than ever before.

For the record, Google has never taken an outward stance against diversity or the LGBTQ+ crowd, so it’s unlikely that the system is flagging such videos intentionally. The system uses “community flagging” and other signals to filter out content. There are literally millions of videos on the platform, so Google uses a software system to streamline the process.

But YouTube is also a place where bigots gather, so it’s entirely possible that somebody figured out that those videos could be blocked by flagging them as inappropriate. It wouldn’t be the first time that trolls abused a system to punish people they don’t like.

An image of a dark room. A single door is open and rainbow colors are spilling out of it. The words, "coming out" are written in the top left of the image.

Image credit: Shutterstock

Even in 2016, with all the advances that the LGBTQ+ community has made, it can still be hard to come out, particularly when it comes to one’s professional life. But the question of whether or not to come out at work is one that every member of the community has to address at some point, and there are benefits to doing so, just as there are downsides.

According to J.D. Schramm, a lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, being out has been a boon in his professional life. It has allowed him to “lead out loud” as he calls it, namely to be authentic with those around him. Especially for people in leadership positions, coming out can help to put others at ease, as some employees and co-workers may feel that they’ve been mislead if they find out that one is a member of the LGBTQ+ community through some other channel.

While coming out can be a way to get out in front of a rumor, it also signals that one is comfortable with themselves and in their professional life. Of course, not everybody has reached that point yet, and there are a lot of factors to consider before coming out. Some people can be out in their personal but not professional lives, though this is becoming increasingly difficult as the lines between those lives blur thanks to social media and an increasing tendency of companies to “spy” on employees’ Facebook profiles.

While coming out can help one cement their position as a leader, it can also have negative consequences. Not every industry, workplace, or community is welcoming to LGBTQ+ people, and the environment in which one works is perhaps the most important consideration when deciding whether or not to come out. If nothing else, it may require more thought as to how, and when, to come out.

A photo of an athletic man standing on the beach. He is wearing a blue tanktop and a rainbow wristband with Olympic medals around his neck.

Never before in the history of the Olympics has there been as many openly gay/lesbian athletes as this year’s 2016 Rio Olympics.
Image: lazyllama / Shutterstock.com

 

Athletics is not an easy to field to be out in, especially in the high-visibility, high-scrutiny world of the Olympics. This is a year when the Olympics is a braver place than most, with at least 42 visibly out LGBT competitors on the board.

Helen and Kate Richardson-Walsh, married women from Great Britain, are competing together in field hockey. This is Helen’s third Olympics and Kate’s fourth, and they’ve been married for three years. Susannah Townsend, also on the same team, has been out as a lesbian since before the 2008 Olympics.

In Rugby, Isadora Cerullo from the Brazil team was proposed to by her girlfriend on the pitch. Jillian Potter, from the U.S. team, cheered her on with her own wife at her side.

Maartje Paumen from the Netherlands, again in Field Hockey, has been out since 2009. She’s also one of the top Olympic scorers in her sport, with 14 goals in both the Beijing and London Olympics.

Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel of the Dutch national team, took home the gold metal and came out as a lesbian during the 2012 Olympics in London.

The list goes on and on. 32 women and 9 men from 14 countries are presenting the gay, lesbian, and bisexual communities on the fields, the water, and on horseback. Some of them are newly out, some have never been in the closet at all.

And perhaps most groundbreaking of all is Caster Semenya, a runner from South Africa. She is a strong hopeful to win the gold at the 800 meter run. Perhaps she does not fit the definition of out, as she does not use the word intersex to describe herself, but the controversy around her qualifies this woman for inclusion. Just two years ago, she would not have been allowed to compete due to the arbitrary rules about naturally occurring testosterone in female athletes. But this season, those rules are in limbo pending arbitration, and so she will run.

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Dylan Marron is one of those individuals dedicated to being the change he wants to see in the world. He is the creator of “Every Single Word,” a series of videos highlighting the deafening silence of people of color in popular films, and “Sitting in Bathrooms with Trans People,” a platform for trans people to talk about their lives and issues.

In the stunned aftermath of the Orlando shootings of June 12th, he spoke out again, creating the hashtag #queerselflove, a space meant for people of all persuasions of LGBT to tell the world who they are and what they love about themselves.

“I am a soft-spoken brown queer man who wears his mother’s pearl earrings. And I love my queerneess. Let’s start a #queerselflove hashtag.” (@dylanmarron, 14 June)

It was picked up immediately by Cecil Baldwin, his co-star in the cult-popular podcast series “Welcome to Nightvate.”

“I am a skinny, hairy HIV+ gay man who smokes pot and battles with anxiety… And I love my queerness! #queerselflove” tweeted Baldwin.

From them, the hashtag has spread widely, with thousands of LGBT people worldwide sharing brief, glowing messages about themselves, lights against the dark of recent news. By June 15th, the hashtag was on Twitter’s trending list. Messages have poured in about it saving lives, easing pain, and being a comfort to people in need. Many have included pictures of themselves and their significant others, every one with a smile.

Dylan Marron is a gift that keeps on giving. As he does his best to highlight as many of the responses to his hashtag as he can, he brings together every facet of the queer community. Just scrolling down his page, it’s full of queer faces. Lesbian, bi, pan, gay, trans, nonbinary, and every nationality imaginable.

We shouldn’t let #queerselflove fade away. Keep telling the world what we love about ourselves.

As the end of 2013 draws near, and the promise of a more hopeful and progressive year approaches, it’s important to reflect upon the advancements made for human rights over the past twelve months. Many are calling 2013 a “landmark year” for social justice and change, in which critical progress has propelled LGBT issues to the social forefront. Happily, the notable LGBT rights momentum garnered from pivotal moments in 2013 doesn’t seem to be abating, which hints at an even more triumphant year to come.

LGBT Triumphs of 2013

IMG: via Shutterstock

In 2013, the LGBTQ community and its allies saw the end of DOMA; triumphs were also witnessed through increased visibility for transgender individuals, in broadened marriage equality legislature, and global LGBT activism. In June of this year, the United States Supreme Court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional, which has created much of the momentum the LGBT community has experienced in recent months. After DOMA was struck down, more and more states began to recognize same-sex marriages, and now, same-sex couples are free to marry in eighteen states.

2013 was also a year where more and more people with social reach spoke out about human rights. In response to the brutality and anti-LGBT laws in Russia, dozens of celebrities, politicians, and public figures have come out in support of the LGBT community – in Russia, and globally. More and more celebrities, athletes, and public figures came out in 2013, and more equal rights alliances were formed. Passionate activism took place, and visibility was raised for equal rights issues, steered by fervent leaders both gay and straight. Perhaps most importantly was the progress that the trans community made in achieving increased visibility. From gender-neutral bathroom progress, to the many developed, inspirational trans and queer television and film characters, 2013 was a year in which more voices were heard.

These triumphs inspire us to continue to fight for the rights of LGBT people, and remind us that much work lies ahead.

Tom Daley

Featureflash / Shutterstock.com

“In spring this year my life changed massively when I met someone, and they make me feel so happy, so safe and everything just feels great,” said Tom Daley in the opening clip.

Daley, who won a bronze medal for diving at the 2012 London Olympic Games, has made a video.  In that video, he talks about several things, but it’s generally a vehicle to let the world know he is gay.  It’s not much of a production.  Rather, he speaks calmly and insists that, “In an ideal world, I wouldn’t be doing this video because it shouldn’t matter.”

The truth is, it shouldn’t matter.  He’s right.  However, Daley was misquoted by a journalist from The Daily Mirror recently.  They reported that he said he “is not gay.” It stirred up a lot of anger.  He is obviously someone who is careful about what he says.  He chooses the right words for the situation, so being misquoted hurt him deeply.  It prompted him to set the record straight.

In the video, which is about 5 and a half minutes long, Daley, who admits he still “fancies girls,” addresses what he thinks will be the backlash from fans.  He says he realizes that people will probably make a big deal out of this even though he doesn’t think it is.  He says they will probably call him a liar.  He thinks they’ll ask what his dad would have said about it.

Daley said, “He’d say…if you’re happy, I’m happy, and I couldn’t be happier. My mum’s been very supportive as well.”

While Daley might not be a name often recognized in the U.S., he is much more famous overseas due to his bronze win for Britain.  He has even been named the “most prominent British sportsman ever to come out,” according to the Telegraph.

To wrap it up, Daley said, “I just wanted to make sure that I got to tell you guys before I head off to Houston for a training camp that I’ve got up until Christmas.  So, I’m glad I got it off my chest, and I hope you can join me in my journey to Rio in 2016 too.”

Check out this video of Daley below: