Social Media: An Outlet for Young LGBTQ+ (Part I)

A 2004 study by Lisa M. Diamond and Sarah Lucas of the University of Utah shows that revealing your sexual orientation to others often leads to being judged and a loss of friends, if you’re LGBTQ+ .

By Sarah Langot

Can online platforms be an outlet for young LGBTQ+ers? To answer this question, we talked to two people aged 20-25 who are part of the LGBTQ+ community, and who often use social media.

Marina calls herself “aromantic,” in other words, asexual and non-binary. Of French and Malian origin, she doesn’t feel any discrimination from her entourage, but she does feel a lot of pressure.
Her family would prefer her to adapt to a “hetero-normal” role – for her to get married and start a family. She feels this pressure from the media she consumes, be it films, series, books, or other media. According to her, they show love and sexual relationships as the normal path to follow.

This young woman uses social media as an escape: “I emancipate myself especially through Tumblr, because I rarely come across people I know from my daily life. The people I follow are LGBTQ+ community people, who accept the aro ace (aromantic and asexual) into their community. Through this, I’m more confident to express myself in terms of what my reality is as an aro ace, non-binary person,” she says.

Without social media, Marina would never have heard about aromanticism, asexuality or being non-binary (not identifying exclusively as male or female).

She would probably have considered herself cisgender (a person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex) and heterosexual. Her sexuality would have been difficult to express, as she would never have had a role model or a point of reference. She thinks she would have felt very much alone.

Assuming her Sexuality

Valentina is a lesbian living in Bogota, Colombia. She continues to suffer from snarky remarks, she says. She considers social media as a way to emancipate herself, especially Twitter. She uses the platform to freely express her attraction to women, and communicates with other LGBTQ+ persons with who she can share her experiences. Above all, she wants to meet people who can understand her.

Tumblr is also very freeing for her.

Without social media, she would have a hard time living her sexuality in a modern world. These platforms provided her with emotional support at a time in her life when she had trouble accepting who she is: “I doubt that, without them, I would have one day understood, or accepted, my sexuality.”

First seen in: Reflet de société, Vol. 28 no. 2, printemps (spring) 2020, pages 20-22

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