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#YouTubeIsOverParty: Is YouTube homophobic for restricting LGBTQ+ content creators?

This is the wake up call we needed

As a gay man living in Brighton, one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly places in the UK, it’s tempting to get drawn into a comfortable bubble and stay there. Brighton is a place where no-one would bat an eyelid if they saw two guys or girls kissing on the street. A place where seeing a man dressed as a woman wouldn’t phase a soul. An LGBTQ+ melting pot. A safe haven.

Indeed, for some LGBTQ+ individuals living in developed countries in the 21st Century, sometimes it’s easy to let yourself believe that we have achieved the previously unthinkable – total equality.

And that makes it all the more difficult when that illusion is shattered into a million pieces.

Yesterday, Tyler Oakley – an out and proud LGBTQ+ content creator with over 8 million subscribers reported that his content had been blocked under the new ‘restricted mode’ on YouTube which, according to PopCrave, does not show videos with anything LGBT+ related in its title and blocks out openly gay YouTubers from suggestions.

The world was shocked at the awful injustice of it all, which caused the hashtag #YouTubeIsOverParty to trend worldwide.

And soon other LGBTQ+ representatives came forward to say that their content had been blocked as well. Openly-gay singers, Tegan and Sara reported that their music videos had been blocked under YouTube’s new ‘restricted mode’.

We spoke to YouTubers Rose and Rosie who reported that they had suffered because of YouTube’s new rules:

“A lot of our videos have been restricted, it’s absolutely ridiculous. It seems LGBT culture, lifestyle, coming out stories etc have been deemed inappropriate for children. Well I think making that content invisible is a huge back step and potentially damaging for those seeking advice, education and hope.”

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Tyler made a statement to TeenVogue about the ban, in which explains why it is imperative that YouTube amend their LGBTQ+ content restrictions immediately:

“YouTube has always been a place for disenfranchised voices to reach audiences who are actively seeking representation in media. It’s often the first place many LGBTQ+ youth around the world see themselves and their stories shared and celebrated. Blocking LGBTQ+ creators and content is harmful, plain and simple.”

YouTube Creators have now made a statement explaining the purpose of the new ‘restricted mode’.

We don’t buy it. “Mature Content” implies that it has an overtly sexual nature which is absolutely not true about videos like Tyler Oakley’s ‘8 Black LGBTQ+ Trailblazers Who Inspire Me’YouTube is supposed to be about celebrating diversity and giving everyone a voice, regardless of their gender, sexuality, race of beliefs. This ‘Restricted Mode’ goes against everything our favourite YouTubers stand for. Will they be banning ‘Coming Out’ videos now?

And it’s even more ridiculous when you consider that some extremely sexual music videos aren’t restricted at all! That’s where YouTube Creator’s argument falls down. If anything, that’s the “Mature Content” that should be vetted according to their argument.

One lesson we can all learn from this is that the world can still shock you. No matter how far LGBTQ+ rights have come there is always work to do and we must all join the fight for equality. Don’t let yourself be lured into a false sense of security. Unfortunately, today’s events have proved we can’t afford that luxury.

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Written by David Farrell

David is the Head of Content at Maximum Pop!

Having studied Russian and Spanish at the University of Leeds, David moved to Moscow to work in the education sector. Upon returning to UK soil, David initially immersed himself in the wonderful world of MP! as a music writer.

Now head of all things content, David takes being a music fanboy to a whole new level, and can often be found dancing like there's nobody watching to 'Shout Out To My Ex', obsessing over Lauren Jauregui and defending Taylor Swift's honour.

David once appeared on TV in Armenia. Apparently, "it was awesome".

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