Online Resources LGBTQ Digital Freedom

Queer Censorship

I wanted to do a quick post to share some of the online resources that I have found.

The recent case of the Hallmark Channel reversing their decision to remove the Lesbian wedding advertisements is a sign of hope. Although, social media has a lot of negatives this was an example where LGBTQ voices can make a difference.

Hallmark axed the ads last Thursday after the conservative group One Million Moms, which is part of the anti-LGBTQ organization American Family Association, published a petition online against them that garnered nearly 25,000 signatures. At the time, Hallmark said that they did not allow ads “that are deemed controversial” and that the women showing “public displays of affection” violated that rule. This in spite of the fact that the commercials showing heterosexual couples kissing were not yanked.

A backlash to the decision swiftly grew on social media, with hashtags like #BoycottHallmarkChannel going viral over the weekend. Now, Hallmark’s president and chief executive, Mike Perry, has has said the team at Hallmark Channel’s parent company, Crown Media Family Networks, “believe[s] this was the wrong decision.”


LGBT Digital Freedom

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has been around since 1990.

Free Speech is strongly protected in the United States. That means that people in the U.S. are free to talk about queer issues online without fear of government intervention. In places like Russia, however, the government just passed a law banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors,” a law used by the Russian government to limit speech by the LGBT community and silence the gay rights community. EFF fights for freedom of speech all over the world, protecting users from government laws or actions that unlawfully inhibit free expression in our digital communications.


Their website is a good place to search for information on technology.

Open Global Rights

Open Global Rights is an NGO has been around since 1978 and has many articles concerning the LGBTQ community.

The systematic and widespread blocking of content has a number of adverse effects and contributes to further stigmatization of LGBTQ people in countries which might already be highly discriminatory. By blocking access to HIV/AIDS organizations, Netsweeper may be limiting access to life-saving health information. Research also indicates that the Internet provides safe spaces for members of minority communities to connect, share resources, and form strong social bonds. In the absence of such avenues, many LGBTQ individuals find themselves further isolated in systems that might criminalize their very existence. And on a larger scale, blocking access to diverse media outlets that offer differing views ensures that societal conversations about sexual orientation and gender identities remain stagnant, thereby stunting wider societal acceptance.


European Digital Rights (EDRi)

EDRi is a not-for-profit founded in 2002 that deals with many issues including digital privacy.

This article from July of 2019 is worth reading.

The centralisation of electronic communications services around a few platforms has created new barriers for LGBTQ+ people to exercising their digital rights. Trapped into a network effect – whereby the decision to leave the platform would represent a big lost for the user – most of them have only one place to go to meet and spread their ideas. The content they post is moderated arbitrarily by these privately owned platforms, following standards and “community guidelines”.

Powerful platforms’ practices result in many LGBTQ+ accounts, posts and themed ads being taken down on, while homophobic, transphobic and sexist content often remains untouched. In practice, these double-standards for reporting and banning contents mean that when queer and transgender people use typical slurs to reclaim and take pride from them, social media reviewers often disregard the intent and block them; whereas attackers use identical offensive terms without fearing the same punishment. More, the process being automated just worsens the injustice as algorithms are incapable of making the difference between the two cases. This leaves the LGBTQ+ community disenfranchised without reasonable explanations and possibilities to appeal the decisions.

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