Celebrities & Pride Month: the influence of social media

Exploring its positive and negative ramifications

Many celebrities have posted about Pride month on social media.
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In honour of Pride Month, many celebrities took to social media to celebrate.

JoJo Siwa tweeted “be what you be!!!” and Cara Delevingne captioned a photo of herself in a rainbow shirt “be proud.”

Not only are some celebrities using social media to celebrate Pride, but many are using it to speak out about their sexuality and gender identity.

Halsey uses her social media platform as a way to fight against bisexual erasure. The singer received backlash on National Coming Out Day when she described herself as “out and proud” while being in a relationship with G-Eazy.

In response to the backlash, Halsey said, “bisexual people, we exist!” She used her platform as a way to speak out about the discrimination many bisexual people face as they are often labeled as ‘confused’ or ‘attention seekers.’

Demi Lovato, who announced they identify as non-binary in 2021 on Twitter and Instagram, said it took them a long time to come to terms with their identity.

On social media, they said, “in 2018 when I overdosed, I feel like the reason why that happened was because I was ignoring my truth […] I was suppressing who I am in order to please stylists, or even fans that wanted me to be the sexy, feminine pop star.”

Lovato’s story acts as a reminder that individuals with similar identities are not alone and that no one should be afraid to be themselves.

There are many other celebrities such Lady GaGa, Laverne Cox, Lil Nas X, Hayley Kiyoko, and Frank Ocean who use social media platforms to either show their allyship or to let their followers know they are not alone and that it is okay to be themselves.

While celebrities have a huge influence over their fan base, this can also act as a double-edged sword.

Many celebrities such as J.K Rowling, Drake Bell, or Tracey Morgan have been accused of posting anti-LGBTQ comments. While some of these celebrities have since apologised, their comments can be largely influential on how their fanbases think.

Additionally, many reporters and journalists use celebrities’ identities as a source of entertainment because they are so high-profile.

For example, two weeks ago, Rebel Wilson posted a photo of herself with her female partner Ramona Agruma. It was later revealed that The Sydney Morning Herald found out about Wilson’s relationship and planned to release an article about it, causing Wilson to post about her relationship first.

Wilson later tweeted, “it was a very hard situation but [I’m] trying to handle it with grace.”

Queer censorship on social media is also a huge issue.

As of December 2018, Facebook has about 15,000 moderators who have a split-second to decide which terms are appropriate and which aren’t.

While this oversight does help keep the community safe, a lot of LGBTQ+ posts have been censored by these moderators, making it harder for those in the queer community who are not celebrities to post about their lives.

Activist Greta Christina posted a picture of herself and her partner at the San Fransisco’s Dyke March, hash-tagging the post with the word ‘dyke.’ Facebook quickly banned the post for hate speech purposes after her choice of language in the hashtag.

While ‘dyke’ has been historically used as a slur for queer women, it is now known as a reclaimed word. Facebook, however, took it down for hate speech.

For a celebrities or individuals with large social followings, their censored content is easier to retrieve. A member of the queer community without such fame may not be as lucky, giving them less online freedom than an influencer.

Ultimately, while social media is a great way to build community, inclusivity, and help others gain the confidence they may be missing, it can also send the wrong message or mislead others into believing the wrong ideas.

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