Instagram removed this gay man’s pic for violating its community guidelines. That’s not ok.
Sexy social media personality Miles Kennelly has been the victim of censorship by Instagram for being too sexy. In a world where graphic violence, homophobia, and busty women are the norm, it’s sad to think that a man posing in a bathing suit is what Instagram feels it needs to protect us from.
Have Instagram’s censors ever seen the summer Olympics? A man (or woman for that matter) should not be made ashamed of his own body and told to cover up. Are they trying to usher in The Handmaid’s Tale? Miles’ pic is a far cry from pornography and this decision screams of anti-gay bias. This is something you’d hear about in Saudi Arabia but not in the first-amendment-loving USA. Instagram allows women falling out of their skimpy bathing suits, but a gay man in tight swimwear is simply too much to handle.
— Miles Kennelly (@MilesKennelly) October 3, 2017
Instagram had also banned the following image but then decided to reinstate it. Sure, this guy takes our breath away, but the only thing dangerous about this picture is Instagram’s anti-gay decision to ban it. Social media companies are all about supporting gays, as long as the depiction of those gays is a sanitized desexualized version. They still think that looking at gay men expressing themselves as gay is obscene.
Social media platform censorship has an anti-gay bias
Social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube censoring and silencing gay voices is nothing new. Instead of focusing on hate speech and violence, the censors at social media companies feel they need to shield innocent eyes from us disgusting gay people.
At OutBuzz, our content has been censored multiple times for weeks at a time, only to be told afterwards that it was a “mistake.” We were even not allowed to boost this post about this US Army Officer and his Boyfriend posing for prom, as it violated Facebook’s advertising guidelines. They said that OutBuzz was an adult website, while allowing far more nudity and content of a sexual nature on MensHealth.com. That is an anti-gay double standard.
In the meantime, other sites like Buzzfeed or GQ freely use sexual imagery in their posts and ads without a problem. Just one look at this post by GQ and you can immediately understand the anti-gay censorship double standard.
Gay photographer Michael Stokes was involved in a drawn out censorship battle with Facebook. Images were routinely reported and removed from Michael Stokes’ Facebook page for violating community standards. We can only assume that this is because of an anti-gay bias with Facebook’s censors.
ESPN, for example, has images of completely naked players with their privates carefully concealed. When Michael Stokes posted similar poses of his photogphy, the images were censored and removed.
Social media platforms have a long way to go in treating gay content fairly and with equality to straight counterparts. Part of being an ally and accepting gay people is to accept us for who we are—not to sanitize and desexualize us.