YouTube's Reason For Censoring LGBTQ+ Videos Is Simply Not Good Enough
20 March 2017, 12:52 | Updated: 8 May 2017, 17:09
New revelations about YouTube's Restricted Mode policy is bringing up key questions about censorship and visibility for the LGBTQ+ community. The platform, which has publicly supported its LGBTQ+ creators in the past, is facing a great deal of scrutiny over how it censors videos from queer and non-binary users.
youtube censoring lgbt+ content is so damaging to queer youth and just an absurd thing to do in 2017, I'm honestly shocked— xoxo, Han (@ROSlENORIEGA) March 18, 2017
YouTube has grown from a relatively insular community of creators to a rapidly expanding and outward facing product of Google's quest to rule the world.
When it became apparent that YouTube's Restricted Mode was excluding precisely the type of content that made the site a safe space for young queer folks, the backlash was instantaneous.
to: @youtube— cat (@catrific) March 19, 2017
can you explain to us why you're restricting LGBTQ+ content? this is so not okay.
from: your creators
YouTube is such a significant platform for the LGBT+ community for education, support and identity, why restrict that?! #youtubeisoverparty— naomi_kensall (@naomi_kensall) March 20, 2017
youtube: *makes videos saying lgbt people should be proud of who they are*— • jackie (@cuddleswithphan) March 19, 2017
also youtube: *restricts lgbt videos* #YouTubeIsOverParty
YouTube soon issued a statement via Twitter, which didn't necessarily strengthen their argument.
A message to our community ... pic.twitter.com/oHNiiI7CVs— YouTube Creators (@YTCreators) March 20, 2017
While it's a noble goal to try and keep younger users from accessing inappropriate content, censoring open discussions about gender and sexuality are not the way to accomplish this.
Some creators noted that some of their content, even non-explicit videos, had been censored in Restricted Mode.
YouTube has expanded to dizzying heights and it's unclear whether this is a growing pain or just a well-intentioned, badly executed feature.
For many, watching videos that focused on LGBTQ+ stories and narratives gave them the courage to come out and provided answers to questions they had about their own sexuality.
so many LGBT children find refuge, acceptance, and knowledge through youtube and to take that away from them is NOT "being sensitive"— Skeeter (@schmanetjanet) March 20, 2017
This isn't a question about protecting younger users. It's a question about visibility.
The internet is a big open place and someone looking for a specific type of content is going to find that content. At least on YouTube creators can give a realistic depiction of what queer love looks like; what it feels like to question your sexuality; what it might be like to come out.
The idea that you can congratulate LGBTQ+ creators on their bravery, while simultaneously hiding their content is a reality divorced from common sense.
YouTube has built a platform off the backs of queer and non-binary creators. To censor their ideas, stories, and narratives now is nothing short of a betrayal.