Even during the 2020 celebration of America’s Pride month (June), homophobic content continues to spread across the internet, seeking to intimidate and shame those identifying as LGBTQ+. In addition, an entire counter-Pride movement, known as “Pridefall”, has sought to doxx (purposefully release personal information) and humiliate those who are a part of the community, leaving reverberating fear and trepidation among LGBTQ+ social media users.
The False Link
Homosexuality has often been confused with pedophilia. Despite the fallacious claim being rejected in a number of modern studies, the myth continues to be leveraged by anti-LGBTQ+ individuals and organizations to discredit the community.
In one tweet, LGBTQ+ men are denigrated as “less worse than corpse fuckers.”
Another tweet propagates the myth that gay men are pedophiles. This tweet references a 2003 study conducted by Paul Cameron, a man who the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as someone who “churns out hate literature masquerading as legitimate science.” The tweet is accompanied with “#prideshit” and “#LGBTQ is stupid.”
Another tweet insinuates the false claim of pedophilia, sharing an image that reads: “THE TRANSEXUAL MOVEMENT IS COMMONLY ASSOCIATED WITH SOCIALIST PARTIES, ANTIFA [sic], ANARCHISTS AND CHILD GROOMERS;” claims that have no merit whatsoever.
One last example is a bizarre tweet that is not only homophobic, but contains misinformation on the World Health Organization (WHO). The tweet shares a link to an extreme right-wing site that claims the WHO is “…Encourag[ing] Children Younger Than 4 [to] be Taught “Masturbation” and “Gender Identity.” The tweet is followed with a video in which a man says that “all homos are pedophiles.”
Generalized Homophobia & Transphobia
Many of the homphobic content is serialized, targeting all members of the LGBTQ+ community.
This tweet contains an image that incites violence; a cartoon of a man is seen kicking another man with gay pride colors. The tweet simply says “fuck the gays.”
In response to an individual’s tweet in solidarity with a transgender woman undergoing treatment, another individual uses humiliating language, writing: “Ur so fucking gay [REDACTED NAME] fear Allah you Syrian sewer rat.”
In the call for Mars, an American food brand, to change the name of two popular food labels, one user responded with vulgar and transphobic language, suggesting that the company “…put a gender fluid trannie on the label and call it Uncle Bes/Aunt Lucille’s Rice.”
This tweet, in response to the U.S. removal of confederate statues from the Capitol building, described America as “fucking GAY.” The use of the adjective “gay” in this instance is being used to denigrate the ideas that differ from the user’s own.
What began as a 4chan campaign to humiliate members of the LGBTQ+ community has evolved into a cataclysm of hate speech, harassment and demoralization. Rolled out on June 1st, the first month of Pride, far-right and homophobic individuals have taken to social media to fill the internet with anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric. A number of threatening and distasteful posts have been created as part of the campaign.
Many Instagram accounts, like the ones listed below, have been created with some variation of the words “Pride” and “fall,” with many using profile photos of the LGBTQ+ flag being burned, or with a cross through it.
Many posts on Instagram have been created like the example below; using offensive memes and images to intimidate LGBTQ+ members. This post writes that the Pride flag “…looks better burnt…”
Another Instagram post ridicules the Pride movement with an image of a cartoon face covering their ears, with a caption of “LA LA LA NOT LISTING” as colors of the Pride flag are placed over the image.
Another post, above, is seen with full-throated anti-LBBTQ+ sentiments, writing: “to all you lgbtq+ motherfuckers, burn in hell, I hope this month is worst for you all, haha, #operation pridefall.”
The final example is a post that has modified the poster of a kid’s movie to include an anti-LBGTQ+ symbol. The caption reads that the symbol is the “only emoji that matters [laughing emojis] #pridefall #pridefall2020.”
Targeting the LGBTQ+ Community
Online targeting of the LGBTQ+ community during America’s Pride month demonstrates the level of homophobic hate that continues to permeate the Internet. There are many who openly set out to discredit & humiliate members of the LGBTQ+ community, and are even prepared to take the humiliation to the point of deliberately revealing private/personal information (doxxing) via social media. Social media platforms need to work harder at putting a stop to all aspects of online Homophobia & Transphobia.
Osiris Parikh – OHPI Analyst based in U.S.A.
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This article is part of our July 2020 campaign – Tackling Online Homophobia & Transphobia. We are currently running a fundraiser to expand this campaign and we welcome donations. The full plan for our campaigns in 2020 can be seen here.