Recently, YouTube has been making a lot of changes to make sure that the content they’re providing is the content that users want to see. This is a progressive kind of movement, which is supposed to cater more towards the viewer.
People of all ages can watch YouTube; there’s everything from kid shows to educational videos to funny skits, and everything in between. But more than that, it has become a place where truly anyone can go and express themselves.
Kids have been using YouTube as a means of discovering who they were since its inception; YouTubers often had the awkward answers to the questions they wouldn’t dream of asking their families. They let their subscribers, or even random passerby’s know that it’s okay to be who they are.
Those in the LGBT community have long looked to YouTubers to answer questions about their bodies, their sexualities and their way of thinking and living.
So, when what was hopefully an oversight caused videos from the LGBT community to become restricted, or only available to those who are 18 or older, many viewers were absolutely infuriated.
Because of this restriction, anyone who is listed under the age of 18 is not allowed to view these videos, leaving many YouTubers with seemingly ‘missing’ videos on their content profile. Though many LGBT videos were blocked, there were few other non-LGBT videos containing more vulgar content that were left untouched.
Stef Sanjati, a transwoman vlogger on YouTube, said that it felt like an attack on the community, especially after how much traffic they have brought the site. She enforced the idea that those in the LGBT community were not taboo, and that their bodies and stories are not just appropriate for adults.
These videos can be used as a resource for kids: a means of self-discovery and comfort in knowing that there are other people in the world who are going through very similar things.
To take away these resources can mean taking away a vital lifeline for someone in this community. Some people need to watch videos on how to dress as their gender instead of their sex; some people need to know the sexual implications of being gay or lesbian.
The idea of YouTube filtering out these videos was to make a more user-friendly experience, and they did come out and apologize, though there was no formal action put into place, and this is still a problem happening for many LGBT folks.
The integration of LGBT people, namely the LGBT youth, into society is such a fundamental and important goal to work towards, because this can make the difference of life or death. This can clarify thoughts and feelings, it can make people feel wanted and loved. We should be encouraging this, instead of policing what they should and shouldn’t watch.
While the youth shouldn’t be watching things of a vulgar nature on YouTube, such as overtly sexual contact or illegal matters, the last thing anyone should be worried about is a makeup tutorial for transwomen. The last thing anyone should be worried about kids seeing a person who is not straight, speaking about their experiences.
The LGBT community is not something just confined to those 18 and older.