Are social media platforms having a negative effect on the LGBTQIA+ community?
In today's society near enough everything is accessible at your very fingertips. Social media is at an all-time high with platforms such as Tiktok, Instagram and Youtube having a combined user count of approximately 5.3 billion. Children as young as 8 have been known to use and have access to these social media platforms, despite age restrictions starting from 13. At such an impressionable age it should be questioned what children are exposed to whilst online, especially regarding controversial topics such as sexual preference, body image and identity. Whilst it could be argued the current generation is very woke and accepting of the evolving LGBTQIA+ community, there are still many people who disagree with the communities movements and freely share this opinion online.
Influential or negative
With so many online users and it takes little to no time to create and set up a new account under false details it is very hard to monitor and track down cyberbullying culprits. This being said, there is great online support for the LGBTQIA+ community with an increasing number of transgender stars such as Dylan Mulvaney, a transgender female, who has over 10 million followers on TikTok. Dylan brings a lot of attention to the public eye with her large following and makes no secret of the hate she receives online, sharing a lot of her struggles with social media and very openly discussing her transition to a female. While her platform is set out to empower other members of the LGBTQIA+ community and spread awareness of their struggles, it also aims to educate the public on the prejudice she, along with other members of her community constantly receives. With such a following it also allows a large onset of negative traffic of homophobic comments, death threats and unfair collaborations of her existing videos to form, all for the public to see. This being said, Dylan along with other stars within her community are quick to jump to each other's defence and are not shy to comment on slander and quickly fight the backlash from online trolls. The question to ask however is whether the damage has already been done.
Where does it end?
Unfortunately, in a lot of cases, the answer could be yes. It only takes one negative comment or video online to harm someone's self-esteem or ability to feel confident enough to come out to society. With access to online from such a vulnerable young age it can be very influential in shaping who you want to be while potentially also being very damaging. Sexual orientation is something to be explored whilst openly accepted, it should not change who you are as a person and how you are treated. With the LGBTQIA+ community continuously evolving and gaining attention online it will always attract controversy, however, will the positive publicity online outweigh the bad?