Pride Month was just three days away when singer and YouTube creator Shannon Taylor tweeted to video sharing site about the anti-LGBTQ advertisements appearing on its platform. Then, one week into Pride Month, Team YouTube finally responded to another YouTube creator with the same complaint by removing the ad in question.
“We’re an open platform and support free expression of creators with a wide range of views but don’t allow paid advertising that disparages people based on who they are,” they tweeted on June 7 in response to Elijah Daniel, whose vlogs, music, and social media savvy exploits have netted his YouTube channel nearly 637,000 subscribers. “We removed this ad that violated this basic principle.”
Thanks for speaking out, Elijah. We’re an open platform and support free expression of creators with a wide range of views but don’t allow paid advertising that disparages people based on who they are. We removed this ad that violated this basic principle.
— Team YouTube (@TeamYouTube) June 8, 2018
That same day, the YouTube blog featured almost those same exact words (penned by Ariel, Devon, and Victor on behalf of YouTube’s LGBTQ Employee Resource Group) while announcing the video platform’s Pride Month campaign, #ProudToCreate.
Instead of focusing on celebrating Pride, the platform used a good chunk of its post to respond to LGBTQ creators about its various missteps regarding their content in the past. In addition to hateful ads appearing alongside their content, the word “transgender” has triggered YouTube’s algorithm to demonetize videos. Chase Ross, a YouTube creator who vlogs about his experience as a transgender man, pointed out how blatantly this discrimination takes place.
DO NOT LET YOUTUBE GET AWAY WITH THIS.
I uploaded my video TWICE to see if the word “transgender” would trigger the algorithm… and every step of the way was fine UNTIL I added the word Transgender. RIGHT away, the video was demonetized.
Literally. RIGHT. AWAY. pic.twitter.com/mvCucFPyZP
— Chase Ross (@ChaseRoss) May 30, 2018
While responding to the recent criticism from its LGBTQ creators, YouTube pointed out how its “LGBTQ community has an extraordinary legacy of turning adversity into creativity and self expression.” YouTube ultimately addressed these creators’ impact more bluntly. “You’ve helped make YouTube what it is today,” Ariel, Devon, and Victor wrote.
The latest change in its advertising policy is a direct example of LGBTQ creators shaping the video platform. As Pride Month goes on, YouTube encourages viewers to look for more content from creators who identify as LGBTQ on YouTube Spotlight, Twitter, and Instagram. Here’s YouTube’s video announcing #ProudToCreate.