Friday, 3 July 2015

Facebook Rainbows: Take Down Your Flags

It’s now easy, popular and politically expedient to raise the rainbow flag for marriage equality, since 60 percent of Americans support it. But being an LGBT person is still difficult. In some states, it’s still legal to be fired or evicted for being gay. And the gay marriage ruling won’t end the crises of homelessness, harassment and suicide suffered by LGBT people. A record number of LGBT people, especially trans women of color, are being killed and HIV rates are still astronomically high among gay and bisexual men.

Covering your profile picture in rainbow colors doesn’t change any of those truths. Some have argued that this kind of “slacktivism” promotes awareness, motivates people to take action and could subtly persuade opponents of same-sex marriage to change their views. But a 2014 study suggested that people who make these token displays of support often do it simply to boost their own public images without making any real sacrifice to benefit the cause...

The co-opting of symbols and movements is not unique to Facebook’s rainbow-flag campaign. Throughout history, the powerful have taken credit for social progress they did not participate in, or, in some cases, actively fought against...

Facebook did not invent co-opting, but it allowed it to happen en masse this week. It gave an unprecedented number of people the power to claim understanding of a struggle they do not actually know. When millions of people cloak themselves in a symbol without understanding what it means, they dilute that symbol’s power.

Peter Moskowitz, Washington Post.

Bit pious, but kinda yeah.

PS The 26 million people who've put up a rainbow flag online will be thrilled to know Facebook is using them to spy on you.

PPS Radical Faeries and trans activists against Facebook's ban on adopted names.

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