TikTok Tale

It seems that media platform TikTok is having something of a problem with the LGBTQI community despite its overt positioning  as LGBTQI-friendly, where it describes itself as ‘deeply committed to inclusivity'.

This has happened when it has run into local ‘shade-banning’ territories such as Russia, Bosnia and Jordan. The company says that it has to comply with local laws: plain and simple. Practically this means that no content can be found worth searches for ‘gay’ in Russian and Arabic, ‘transgender’ in Arabic and ‘I am a lesbian’ and ‘I am gay’ in Russian.

Blame an algorithm is their other defence. Their own. But many are disappointed that these issues keep cropping up targetting the LGBTQI community.

The flip side is that TikTok has proven itself a useful platform. Search term #lgbtq within the site throws up a lot of positive content. Some are choosing TikTok as their coming out platform of choice; other to exist within TikTok as out in anticipation of making the statement in the non-cyber world.

One notable case was Carly at the start of the year, who reached out to a community where bad coming out experiences were scarily prevalent. Carly went viral taking her initial one-digit following into the hundreds of thousands when posting a video sharing her coming out experience accessorised with colour and quirky shapes. 'They told me that I had been possessed by Satan and needed to go to a mental hospital,' said Carly at the time. It got worse: 'They (parents) took my phone, car and cut off my college funds.' Carly made it through by suddenly connecting with a whole network of people who wanted to help and were moved by the distressing narrative. Further, many others chose to reach out to Carly as a source of help and reassurance. So: happy ending. But TikTok: watch those algorithms of yours....

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