One of the most beneficial contributions of social media has been its impact on marginalized groups; specifically the LGBTQ community.
Homosexuality was considered a mental disorder up until the 1980s, but even after the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) reversed the claim, people who identified as part of the LGBTQ spectrum stayed in hiding. Finding a community was not easy as fear of discrimination and hate crimes was still very common. Eventually, groups meeting in secret and organizations providing safe spaces allowed for LGBT-identified people to gather and create a space for a community.
With the rise of social media, the LGBTQ community was able to find different ways to use this as an outlet. Unrestrained by physical boundaries or lack of resources, a person who is questioning their identity in the Midwest without any accessible support groups, can find solitude through various social media platforms. Social media provided the means to connect with other folx who have had the same experiences; it showed how vast and varied the community was!
Social media still plays a role in providing community and a safe space for the LGBTQ community, but it also has had a positive effect on the culture. Before the rise of social media, unfortunately, many media outlets did not provide positive representations of the LGBTQ community, if at all, or not very multi-dimensional portrayals.
As LGBTQ folx understood the power of social media and how strong the bond of community really was, there then came multi-faceted representations of LGBTQ culture. There were these various outlets to show how people were dressing, where they were going, and how they were interacting. Those who did not yet know how they can present themselves comfortably were now exposed to a whole world of possibilities. They could connect, follow, be inspired and then further push the boundaries of LGBTQ culture by sharing themselves.
Social media is a powerful tool for the LGBTQ community; it has the power to bring a whole community together and provide influence.