One Equal World

Posts Tagged ‘youtube

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.

Advertisements
A creepy silhouette of a young girl.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Queer Ghost Hunters is, more than anything else, an exploration of LGBT history. Walking a tidy line between tongue-in-cheek and serious, filmmaker Stu Maddux follows a team of ghost hunters who call themselves the “Stonewall Columbus Queer Ghost Hunters.”

For those who believe in ghosts and spirits, the concept isn’t a joke. If ghosts are out there, queer ghosts are out there. And since LGBT people, historically, were more likely than the average to be mistreated, locked away, or murdered, their spirits would certainly have something to say.

They choose locations to scout by looking through the records of hospitals, asylums, and prisons for likely hauntings. So far, they’ve featured lesbian nuns, lynched immigrants, and young gay soldiers imprisoned for sodomy.

The ghost hunters, all of whom fall somewhere in the LGBT umbrella and range from 20 to 50 years old, say that they get contacted because they share something with the spirits.

Maddux says that the team uses a technique that he’s never seen before in any other paranormal show—they tell stories to the ghosts. Usually its a story about their own life, and contact comes when they ask if they have something in common with the ghost. Contacts are very non-confrontational, more like a ghost support group than a game of hide and seek.

Even if you’re a skeptic, this is a show that bounces easily between touching and hilarious. The focus is heavy on the personal stories of LGBT individuals, both living and deceased, and on the community between them. Also, they have a very cute dog.

Queer Ghost Hunters is currently a web-series hosted on Youtube, with a Kickstarter seeking pledges to keep them going through season 2. The season 1 finale aired on November 1, 2016.

YouTube, in conjunction with parent company Google, has launched its 2014 Gay Pride campaign, #ProudToPlay, which highlights various LGBT athletes and allies in order to help end anti-LGBT bias in sports. Several famous sports stars in the spot include basketball player Kobe Bryant, football player Michael Sam and Olympic diver Tom Daley.

The campaign works to promote equality among all athletes, regardless of their sexuality. The video also features footage and sound bites from equal rights advocates including Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama and TV host Ellen DeGeneres.

“We applaud the courage and openness of athletes at all levels who have come out and admire their teammates, friends, families, and supporters who are all proving that it doesn’t matter who you are or who you love — what matters is that you put forward your best effort. “We stand with our community in the belief that youth everywhere should all have the same opportunities to grow up and pursue their dreams and passions, on or off the field,” says YouTube on its blog.

The video encourages users to share their own experiences of what equality among athletes means to them by uploading videos and using the hashtag #ProudToPlay.

Kobe Bryant, #ProudToPlay supporter and ally said, “Equality in sports has to be there for your team to be successful. It’s these little building blocks that you learn through playing sports. The bravery of being you is really the anchor of it all. You have to be brave in your own convictions, you have to be brave about who you are and you have to be brave to step forward and step into the spotlight and declare to the rest of the world this is who I am.”

On March 10th, Honey Maid, the makers of crackers and cookie nibbles, ran a clip promoting ‘wholesome’, featuring inter-racial and homosexual couples enjoying their snacks. The 30 second spot already has over 4 million hits on YouTube and over 1,000 comments, ranging from support to those condemning the ad as ‘promoting sin’.

The social group One Million Moms have already attacked the ad, stating, “Nabisco should be ashamed of themselves for their latest Honey Maid and Teddy Graham cracker commercial where they attempt to normalize sin,” they wrote on their website. “This commercial not only promotes homosexuality, but then calls the scene in the advertisement wholesome.”

Today, Honey Maid posted a new video, even longer at 1 minute and 44 seconds, acknowledging the haters and essentially saying: It’s okay, we still support what we believe.

Still promoting ‘wholesome’ acceptance, the company enlisted the help of artists who took the comments of hate, found on YouTube, Twitter, blogs and Nabisco’s website, and created an art piece promoting love and support.

The company shows how 9 in every 10 responses were positive, and that encouragement and love out number and conquer the haters and trolls. This is an awesome new trend growing with companies, who don’t back down from negative responses and keep believing in acceptance. Love will always win.

You can watch the clip below: