“I feel like everybody, whether you have one follower or a million followers, has an opportunity to either positively or negatively affect people” – Tyler Oakley
YouTube recently came under some criticism from users because of a restricted mode. The restricted mode, which can be found in the settings section of your YouTube account, restricts videos that may be seen as inappropriate for certain age groups. This, however, limits the videos on LGBTQ+ issues, content creators, and such. The community was in an uproar about it due to the continued heteronormative practices that are put through our society. More importantly than the general address to the restriction of LGBTQ+ people on a platform that is supposed to be opened to create is the continued conversation of censorship and whose job that is.
I was an education major for a hot second and one of the many things emphasized to us was that parents expect a lot from us. The main gist of it was to pick up where they failed as parenting going as far as suggesting that schools provide classes on how to do laundry, cook, clean and simple household tasks. Some people have even seen the argument go as far as teaching ethics and what a child should believe is right or wrong. The involvement or non-involvement in both parents and schools often is where censorship is raised. My high school teacher once showed us the Leonardo DiCaprio version of Romeo and Juliet, only to forget the sex scene and scrambled to cover the thirty seconds of implied coitus. While we read Huckleberry Finn, we were encouraged to skip over the n-word and instead replace it with other words that started with n. The constant sesame street game not only deterred from the meaning of the book but also the historical significance of the word. Teachers skip around the things that may be controversial for sake of their jobs. The censorship that YouTube enacted in their restricted mode was mostly for the use of people who want to live in a world where that content does not exist.
The most valuable thing some people can do is take to the internet to find like minded humans. If I didn’t have the internet, YouTube, or other social media outlets there is a strong possibility that I would have not come out when I did. If something is blocked on school servers kids find ways around it and they think that the item that is blocked and it is deemed bad to some extent. I sat next to a boy in computer class who would show me the way around the blocks so we could play games rather than work.
The connotation that LGBTQ+ content is bad inherently continues the conversation of doing more than just tolerating each other. There is a problem with suicide in our community because we grow up thinking there is something wrong with us and the way we are. It’s beyond our control and much to everyone’s dismay not something people would necessarily choose. If we censor it and act like it is bad than it will remain bad. The power of rhetoric and the power of those who can influence a large group of people should be recognized and held to a higher standard.