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Sunday, 25 March 2012 16:53

Exploring Gender: Social Media Video Projects

Written by  Cael

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Social networking and the internet have become such important parts of life, especially for those of the LGBTQ* community because sometimes we cannot feel comfortable within our own schools or families. We need support from somewhere. From Facebook to Twitter to Tumblr to YouTube, different sites allow people to communicate with others with the same interests or identities. It helps us to feel less alone, more involved and connected, to know there are people going through the same things, people who will listen and tell their own stories, giving us something to grasp onto when we feel hopeless. On YouTube, many different channels and projects have popped up to tie us more closely together and help us to feel like we aren’t alone.

The It Gets Better Project started by Dan Savage is one such campaign which asked people to create videos directed at LGBTQ* youth to say it does get better. The project started in response to the suicide of several teenagers throughout the country who were bullied for being gay or simply for their peers suspecting them to be gay. Although originally focused on having gay adults tell their stories about how their lives have improved over time, the project became a sensation, spreading throughout the country, spawning videos from President Barrack Obama, Ellen Degeneres, Anne Hathaway, Olivia Wilde, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, and many other notable figures. Companies such as Disney, Pixar Animation Studios, and Best Buy have also created videos. The outpouring of response to this call for support has been overwhelming, with an amazing amount of videos created and shared through both the It Gets Better Project website and YouTube. For the most part, the videos focus on the LGB of the community and not the T of the community, but a recent video from In the Life comes from parents of transgender children and will hopefully help to start another branch of videos directed at trans* youth as well. The video is below along with one of my other favorite It Gets Better videos.

Beyond the It Gets Better Project, a campaign which focuses more directly on the trans* community has also been started, I Am: Trans People Speak, started by the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition and GLAAD to demonstrate the wide array of talents and identities within the community. The diversity of individual experiences shown through these videos works to emphasize that trans* people are not just trans* individuals: they are daughters, fathers, artists, accountants, architects. So much more than our gender identities make up the people we come to be, and these videos focus on how we are more to fight the stereotypes and misconceptions faced by the community. The campaign is still accepting submissions, and the preview video is below.

Both of these projects demonstrate the importance of social media to the development and support of the community. Remember there are others out there having similar experiences, others willing to tell their stories and share the information they have. If you have any specific questions about safe places online or would like to suggest topics for future articles, contact me on Lezbelib or here on Tumblr.

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