The Metaverse Will Not Be a Home for LGBTQ+ Folks, Just Like Instagram

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It Gets Better Project cofounder and Tom of Finland Store ambassador Terry Miller demands LGBTQ+ orgs like It Gets Better, HRC, and GLAAD to call out Instagram, Facebook, and other Meta brands.

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So my account was disabled by Instagram.

It sucks. I didn’t think this would sting so much. Except as I think about it and how it went down, it falls into a pattern of homophobia, sex-negativity, and discrimination on Meta’s social platforms that has been happening for years. If you are reading this, you’ve probably heard about it before. But it’s time that we — and I mean all of us as individuals within the LGBTQ+ community as well as organizations like the It Gets Better Project, the Human Rights Campaign, and GLAAD — stood against it.

Over the past few years, Meta — the company that owns platforms Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, among others — has developed a reputation for instituting guidelines and enforcement strategies that overpolice various communities. Watching this play out on Instagram, specifically, can be particularly alarming: Posts by straight musical artists and creators that enjoy wide distribution — sometimes even promoted by the platform  — get LGBTQ+ people, sex workers, and sex educators suspended, shadow-banned, disabled or de-platformed for life. 

Since the new year, I’ve personally had more than 20 post removal notifications from Instagram. One post featured me holding a wine bottle where I was accused of violating “guidelines on sale of illegal or regulated goods” like drugs, guns, or explosives. Others featured me in swimsuits or short shorts — sure, the images were sexy, but they certainly weren’t “explicit sexual intercourse,” nor did they depict “stimulation of genitals, anus, uncovered female nipples or breasts” as the flags said.

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