YouTube Changes Social Media Icons for Gay Pride; Continues to Restrict LGBT Creators

Image for post
Image for post

YouTube decided to change their iconic logo to reflect the colors of the Pride flag in celebration of Pride month, and the backlash on social media was disturbing.

Let’s be honest, some criticism of YouTube suddenly showing solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community isn’t without merit. Since revamping it’s platform to be more family friendly in hopes of attracting a wider collective of advertisers, the service actually created a new algorithm that automatically demonetized all content created by LGBTQ+ creators. In one fell swoop, everyone from out musicians like Tegan and Sara to Make-Up instructional videos were labeled as “advertiser inappropriate content” and was either rendered unavailable to audiences who hadn’t confirmed their birth date and minors or blocked altogether from user access. It wasn’t just a few videos, either; It was thousands upon thousands of channels and regardless of the content, despite how many subscribers the user had- Out gay creator Tyler Oakly was affected by the new policy even though he has nearly 8 million subscribers- or how much ad revenue the user was making, their content was unceremoniously axed from the YouTube partner program and placed in “Restricted mode.”

LGBTQ+ creators, many who made a living from their content, suddenly found themselves displaced. Autumn Asphodel for example, a young transgender woman boasting over 100,000 subscribers often spoke openly about her journey and experiences as a Trans person. After being “Restricted” her repeated attempts to appeal to the new standard went ignored.

Image for post
Image for post

Only after so many content creators challenged YouTube on their blatant discrimination did they come forward with a faux-pology and a promise to revisit their automated system. They didn’t.

In fact, even today, if an individual posts any content that is tagged LGBT, Gay or Trans/Transgender, it is automatically deemed adult content and demonetized. I know this. It happened to me. My channel, in fact, features mostly animals around my farm, and one comedy sketch featuring me and a Drag Queen. Suddenly, my entire channel was demonetized, including videos of wild turkey’s blocking my car, my cats playing together and my chicken that can only walk in a circle- all as a result of one video featuring a Drag Queen. My appeal, however, was heard and my account availability was restored. So was Tegan and Sara’s account. Many others, however, never were.

The exodus of LGBT content creators continues even today, with any videos tagged with LGBT+ automatically demonetized. To make matters worse, when I watched one of my own videos, the ad that played prior was and Anti-Gay propaganda ad featuring Steve Crowder and his show on hyper conservative talk show host Mark Levin’s new internet television channel CRTV. The ad was a clip of Crowder posing as a Transgender woman and going to public gym, screaming at patrons, deliberately making bystanders uncomfortable by getting in their face while they worked out, and then proceeding to barge into the women’s locker room. It was the most horrific display of Anti-Transgender rhetoric I’d ever seen, and I had no option to report it. All I could think was “This is the Family Friendly advertisers we’re all be censored to please?”

Apparently, my channel wasn’t the only one running notoriously anti-LGBT ads.

Image for post
Image for post

LGBT content creators have provided consistent proof that content relating to gay and trans topics are being flagged. Twitter user Chase Ross decided to do an experiment and found this was, indeed, still the case.

So, it’s quite bizarre that YouTube would feign solidarity with the very community they are excising from their platform. It’s strange also that they would do this while allowing homophobic and transphobic advertising to run without consideration to the hate they’re promoting against the people they are censoring. It’s important to note, they still allow advertising on videos depicting graphic violence and comedy sketches featuring heterosexual simulated sex and masturbation in comedy segments from big networks like Comedy Central. Essentially, heterosexual, cisgender content is permissible. Anti-LGBT advertisements are appropriate. LGBT+ content and creators are “Not suitable for all advertisers.”

YouTube is not a LGBTQ+ friendly platform, and many users have been actively seeking alternative platforms, but unfortunately, YouTube has an audience monopoly.

Written by

Actor, Filmmaker, LGBTQ+ & Women’s Rights Activist All work copyright

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store