YouTube as an Ally of Convenience: The Platform's Building and Breaking with the LGBTQ+ Community
Fredenburg, Jill Nicole
Through documentary film, this thesis investigates the importance of the video-sharing platform, YouTube, to the LGBTQ+ community’s connection, identity-formation, and coming out practices since its founding in 2005. The film is a compilation of original interviews informed by gender studies and communications literature and found footage posted to the platform, itself. Both the film and this paper, together, expose the impacts of YouTube’s inconsistent policy implementation on the LGBTQ+ community that has benefitted so much from the platform’s accessible, public nature. This project also presents the demands for accountability and responsibility put upon YouTube by its LGBTQ+ content creators and raises questions about monetization vs. representation, performative personalities online, and LGBTQ+ content’s historical conflation with adult content. This project aims to call attention to YouTube’s outward “ally” presentation, posting annual Pride videos while also failing to mitigate the negative impact of their algorithms and policy implementation practices.
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