3 Ways ‘Fake News’ has Been Used Against the LGBTQ Community
By Christine Siamanta Kinori
In the digital world, the spread of ‘fake news’ has been made easier through social media sites that includes but is not limited to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Its effects have ravaged through nations and social and cultural communities. The LGBTQ+ community has been especially impacted. With misconceptions already alienating the LGBTQ+ community, recent ‘fake news’ across social media has made public acceptance and understanding frustratingly more difficult.
In the health sector, myths have been spread that gay and bisexual women are not at the risk of getting cervical cancer based on the assumption that it is only spread by men. This has led to a reduced number of people showing up for screenings. The disease is preventable, but many do not see the need for screening, and this poses a danger to the LGBTQ+ community dying of the disease unknowingly. This fake news should not be taken lightly and measures should be taken against such misconceptions to save lives in the LGBTQ+ community.
Last year, a video clip circulated on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter alleging gay individuals couldn’t keep themselves from partying during the COVID-19 lockdowns in Italy, when in fact the videos were of carnival celebrations in Brazil in 2018. The incorrect claims were met by many religious media posts blaming the LGBTQ+ community for the outbreak of the pandemic. It furthered misconceptions of the LGBTQ+ community as nothing more than irresponsible and reckless party-goers and led to homophobic attacks across social media.
Recently, fake news arose again around the LGBTQ+ community with claims that the letter “p” was being added to thee acronym to stand for pedosexual. LGBTQ+ activists have released countless statements denying the claims and saying that they do not condone acts of pedophelia. The fake news nonetheless incited controversy and more homophobic attacks across socail media, leaning into the problematic language that there is something unavoidably predatory and dangerous about queer sexuality.
This fake news is not just impacting people’s social media feeds- it has concrete, real world consequences around the world. In addition to a rise in anti-LGBTQ+ conspiracies online, hate crimes against LGTBQ+ Americans are on the rise. The LGBTQ+ community is facing new anti-gay laws in Nigeria and Uganda that uses similar language found in conspiracy-laden posts from Facebook and Twitter posts from U.S anti-LGBTQ activists. In addition to a misleading and toxic digital discourse, fake news can have real consequences.
About the Author:
Christine Siamanta Kinori grew up in a little village in Kenya known as Loitoktok near the border of Kenya and Tanzania. All she wanted to do when she grew up was to explore the world. Her curiosity led her to join Nairobi University to pursue a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications. She later got a job with an amazing travel magazine Nomad Africa which gave her the opportunity to explore Africa. She also writes for numerous travel websites about Africa and tries to create a new narrative in the media about our aesthetic continent.
Christine claims to have somewhat unhealthy addiction to TV and reading, as it is a fun way to keep herself occupied during the long journeys for her travel writing. She is also a believer of letting people be their beautiful selves. To her, love is love and it is the greatest gift we have as humans.