YouTube is not doing great by the LGBTQ+ community.
YouTube has a “restricted mode,” which is turned off by default, but when turned on, filters out “potentially inappropriate” content. And guess what YouTube thinks is “potentially inappropriate”? Yep, LGBTQ+ people.
According to the Guardian, British YouTuber Rowan Ellis, who makes videos with a feminist and queer perspective, started the #YouTubeIsOverParty (which trended over the weekend) with a video she posted on Thursday that discusses YouTube’s “restricted” mode.
“We don’t really know how long it’s been there, but it’s something that people are just starting to realize the extent of, particularly in regards to LGBT-related content,” she says in the video. Ellis goes on to explain that she’s had around 40 videos restricted — including one about coming out to her dad — while other LGBTQ+ YouTubers have seen even more. Ellis connects YouTube’s restrictions with other forms of LGBTQ+ discrimination, including the trans bathroom bill.
She says, “This attitude that queer and trans people are inappropriate, just their existence is inappropriate to be talked about around children, is insidious and it has a history here, and it is not based in any kind of reality.”
Other videos that are unavailable in restricted mode include Tyler Oakley's video called "8 Black LGBTQ+ Trailblazers Who Inspire Me"; videos in which NeonFiona mentions being bisexual or having a girlfriend; SeaineLove’s videos about coming out as trans; Amelia Ace’s videos about Asexual Awareness Week; a wedding video for a lesbian couple; PopSugar’s video “10 times you were proud to be LGBTQ in 2015”; and a video from ThinkTank titled “more Americans are identifying as LGBTQ now than ever before.” Needless to say, none of these are inappropriate for children to watch.
YouTube eventually responded with a statement with a statement, saying, “LGBTQ+ videos are available in Restricted Mode, but videos that discuss more sensitive issues may not be.” Additionally, the Guardian writes that a YouTube representative told them that videos “that cover subjects like health, politics and sexuality may not appear.”
But why should those subjects be restricted? LGBTQ+ people discussing their identity, their health, and their rights is not "inappropriate." In fact, it’s vital that children be able to access this information, because it’s information that is often not taught in schools or made available anywhere else. In her video, Rowan Ellis talks about being unable to access information about coming out and LGBT helplines when she was in school or being able to talk to teachers about coming out.
“By controlling what children know about, children still hear about gay people, but often they hear about it negatively, they hear about it in the bullying in the schoolyard,” she says. “They don’t hear actual, factual, emotional, positive information like they should do. And that has a huge effect on them when they grow up and their attitudes, but also to trans and queer youth. Trans youth, queer youth are dying. They are killing themselves, they are being killed, because this attitude is being allowed to be perpetuated, and it cannot go any longer.”
Video: Rowan Ellis/YouTube
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