EDITORIAL: YouTube pauses LGBTQIA content
Video platform creates dangerous message with new restrictions
With over 81 million videos on its site, YouTube has become the go-to medium for videos. Ranging from music videos to vlogs, YouTube is the hub for both copyrighted material as well as original content from everyday people. It has become another universal method of uniting people, and making the world seem like a smaller place.
But with new video restrictions on the site, it seems as though the video platform has a smaller mind.
YouTube has created a “restricted mode” that is aimed to be a more family-friendly method of monitoring what people can and cannot see when they go on the site. Families with younger children and schools are the target for this restricted mode as it supposed to be a way to ensure that those who are not mature are not being exposed to “mature” themes. But YouTube made a disturbing choice with these restrictions. Many videos that dealt with LGBTQIA themes will be hidden once the site is put on restricted mode. Even music videos by LGBTQIA artists will also be blocked. Famous YouTubers such as Tyler Oakley and Jenna Marbles voiced their anger over these restrictions through other social media sites such as Twitter. This rightfully caused an explosion over the internet, even setting off “#YouTubeIsOverParty” trending on Twitter. After receiving the complaints from everywhere, YouTube finally released a statement on Twitter addressing the issue. In its message to their community, YouTube first emphasized their pride in representing the LGBTQIA community and then explained that the restrictions that were made for those who “want a more limited experience.” They also asserted that they were “looking into … concerns.”
But these are more than just mere concerns.
YouTube has been known as one of the longest-standing platforms that allow for its members to voice their opinions and express themselves freely. Those who are a part of the LGBTQIA community utilize YouTube to share their journeys and struggles. Some people who cannot find acceptance from others in their lives look to the YouTube community for support and acceptance. Labeling these stories as “mature content” is sending the message that their existence is something that is not “family-friendly” or “appropriate for younger ages.” This is not only a mistake on YouTube’s part — it is downright problematic and discriminatory.
Although YouTube may say that it values its LGBTQIA community, their actions are louder than words. There must be some reason that LGBTQIA videos were the one restricted, other than a mere “mistake.” And although YouTube may be working to fix it, it should have never happened in the first place.
Perhaps it is because society has sexualized the idea of LGBTQIA communities and YouTube had decided to lump in with other “mature content.” Society has placed so much attention to who people have sex with that they have stripped the LGBTQIA experience of the struggle, importance and identity it is meant to signify. And because of this, it has left the public confused as to whether the mere identity of LGBTQIA people is inappropriate.
There is no such thing as an identity that is “too mature” or not “family-friendly.” In fact, by barring younger children from seeing videos with LGBTQIA themes, YouTube is possibly restricting them from learning how to deal with coming to terms with their own identity. And keeping them from this is far more dangerous than “exposing” people to the realities of LGBTQIA life.
The Daily Targum's editorials represent the views of the majority of the 149th editorial board. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.