Ramya Ramamoorthy | Staff Writer
YouTube—the place to share love, passion, opinions, ideas, and stories. Oh, but apparently, only if you’re not part of the LGBT community. Last week, YouTube decided to block many videos that feature LGBT content, and they are now only available in Restricted Mode.
There are so many problems related to this act, with stigmatization being one of them. This means preventing education among minors, and sexualizing the LGBT community. Many YouTubers who identify as part of the LGBT community, such as Stef Sanjati and Gigi Lazzarato, (who goes by Gigi Gorgeous on YouTube) have spoken out against this action. The videos that were restricted were not even videos that had sexual content; they were just simple videos like vlogs or makeup tutorials. In response to the uproar from the public, YouTube posted on Twitter, “We are so proud to represent LGBTQ+ voices on our platform -they’re a key part of what YouTube is all about. The intention of Restricted Mode is to filter out mature content for the tiny subset of users who want a more limited experience. LGBTQ+ videos are available in Restricted Mode, but videos that discuss more sensitive issues may not be.” YouTube claimed to regret the confusion it caused among the public and said that it appreciated the feedback given.
The fact that LGBTQ+ videos are in the Restricted Mode is completely wrong. Being LGBT has to do with one’s sexuality and gender, two topics that are already very stigmatized in our society. By placing them in the Restricted Mode, and not allowing minors to watch these videos, YouTube is increasing the stigmatization around the LGBT community. Moreover, there are a lot of kids who identify with this community, but they feel as though there is something wrong with them because they do not see many LGBT characters in the media. They may feel like they are not in the norm because they aren’t like everyone else represented on television. YouTube was a way for LGBTQ+ people to show others that they are not alone. Posting videos was a form of sharing their stories and celebrating their sexuality and gender.
YouTube’s Restricted Mode filters out topics about politics, health, and sexuality. This confuses me a bit because I have seen countless videos to do with politics, and there are numerous videos related to health. Although I’m unaware of the specific topics restricted within politics and health, it is interesting to note that minors are allowed to watch a video of Donald Trump and his xenophobia while they are not allowed to see LGBTQ+ videos. The video about calling people names is accessible to everyone, but not the videos where people talk about love. There is nothing inappropriate about the LGBT community. The only thing that is inappropriate is that society is continuously sexualizing, stigmatizing, and then blocking people from knowing the truth about LGBTQ+ folks.