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.
Widening her Horizons
Garance lives in Paris and identifies herself as bisexual. She doesn’t see social media as a place of emancipation, but rather as a fun and playful set of platforms.
And she’s discovered numerous accounts that have taught her a lot about the LGBTQ+ community.
She points to Twitter as the most informative social network. That’s because Twitter’s users express themselves the most freely. On top of that, the sheer number of opinions on that platform allows users to step back and open up their spirit, she explains.
When we talked to Garance, she was flourishing in a heterosexual relationship. Her sexuality was easier to live from day to day than someone who would be involved in exclusively homosexual relationships. Nonetheless, she thinks she would have felt lacking in information if she wasn’t using social media. She sees it as an easy way for her to meet other members of her community.
Social media led her to accept herself when, at age 15, her virtual friends explained that there was no shame in being attracted to women. Today, she rejoices because she didn’t have to experience discrimination while going through that phase.
Camil comes from a Franco-Moroccan family. He is gay and lives in the suburbs of Paris. Growing up, he was regularly attacked for his sexuality. He learned to ignore even the tiniest forms of discrimination. Still, he was subjected to insults that sometimes led to fist fights.
Camil doesn’t see social media as a means of liberation; he thinks of it as a transmitter of information.
He mentions Twitter as the only social network to have taught him something, thanks to the testimonies and articles posted to its news site.
He doesn’t think having to live out his sexuality would have been more difficult without that platform, but he would have been ignorant of “certain fundamental struggles.”
Camil thinks that social media serve as an efficient way for him to meet other members of his community, to strengthen ties of friendship, and to be informed on LGBTQ+ issues.