Halloween may have already passed, but something spooky is happening on Twitter.
On Saturday, November 4th, images and videos began disappearing from the “bisexual” hashtag on the platform. Bisexual activists and advocates, who use the platform as a vital space for their work due to Twitter’s global reach and quick, effective, news and media sharing ability, jumped into action.
This isn’t the first time bisexual content, or any kind of LGBTQ+ content for that matter, has been hidden or otherwise censored by social media and media sharing platforms. Just earlier this year, YouTube was under fire for a parental control feature that censored any video content containing LGBTQ+ related keywords in the titles, descriptions, or tags of an uploaded video.
Even Twitter faced criticism for a similar feature just earlier this year, along with a handful of other platforms that kicked off new “safe mode” programs. These programs are intended to block “adult” content, like nudity, pornography, and other adult themes, from the site that would otherwise slip past content censorship.
If “adult content” is the main focus of these blocks, and LGBTQ+ content suffers due to these blocks, it isn’t hard to see that an age-old idea, one that frequently damages the LGBTQ+ (and especially bisexual and transgender communities), is once again the culprit – LGBTQ+ content is seen as inherently sexual, adult, and too graphic to be allowed onto these platforms.
Now that isn’t necessarily what the programmers designing safe modes and parental controls intend to happen, but in the history of queer activism, with exceptional emphasis on bisexual activism, LGBTQ+ culture and mere existence is something that belongs in the dark, behind closed doors.
The consequence of this is the erasure of quality, educational, and vital resources that are created by LGBTQ+ activists, advocates, and educators, in hopes of dispelling ideas such as this.
The content that is being removed from these sites serve to validate the existence of a community stricken with poor mental health, increased feelings of suicide, and intense poverty and homelessness. The content being hidden from users is content meant to aid people in their journey of self discovery, and to educate those from all walks of life just how we are suffering and exactly who we are as a community.
The content being erased is content that’s entire existence shows that our identities are not inherently adult. Because of the hypersexualization of bisexuality, search engines now see the term, and all hashtags associated with it, as something rampant with pornography. While pornography does often fill these hashtags, the content from bisexual creators, activists, academics, and advocates, is the number 1 way to fight the concentration of actual graphic photographs and images within the hashtag.
The simplest way to fight this problem, is to not hide the content of those ALSO TRYING TO FIGHT THE PROBLEM. The bisexual community is tired of immediately being related to some messy, false depiction of sex that will ultimately just fill the minds of youth with inaccurate ideas.
When bisexual individuals (of all gender identities and racial identities) face the highest rates of sexual assault and rape, the resources currently being blocked on twitter are the resources designed to aid our community, to help our community heal, and, most importantly, to show that we are vast, diverse, and valid.
No one should be alone, and because of your censorship programming, Twitter, you’re making an already marginalized and suffering community feel like we aren’t allowed to exist in public.
BiNetUSA has made a petition which can be signed HERE in order to tell Twitter to cut out their shit, and send your tweets to @TwitterOpen and let them know you want to #EndTheBan