davyeo: Query: how effective is the internet or media in helping youth in their coming out process and the understanding of the public? #?qd2010 12:48 AM Sep 26th via web
With the creation of the internet, people from all walks of life are able to come together. This is particularly helpful for those in the GLBT community. It has created an outlet where people from villages, unincorporated towns, metropolis', and more can come together and share common likes and aspirations. For those in the GLBT community it can be a place, an outlet to find themselves and try/examine new things. These options are especially important for those in the GLBT community who have confirmed a new identity or are questioning it. In general the internet can be a great place to find out about Queer culture (what do certain flags or signs represent, Queer book groups, GLBT allied organizations, where are the "gay" bars in my city, etc.). The possibilities on the internet seem endless, but there is a dark side as well.
Facebook is a good example which can provide a liberating environment. However, there seems to be a false sense of control on facebook. The options given for creating a profile are very limited and clearly set to a heteronormative standards. For example, "Sex" male or female. What about transgender, or woman who identifies as male, or bisexual, or no gender at all? Then there is the "looking for" section with the options of friendship, dating, a relationship, or networking. What about wanting to show that you have more than one serious relationship or you practice polyfidelity? Another heteronormative standard used on facebook is their use of marketing/advertising based on the sex that you choose in your profile. Adds on the side of the page are geared towards male or female. For women: Vogue Magazine, perfume, get free makeup, etc. For men: girls in your area, check out the latest girl on girl action, old spice, etc.
As you can see the endless possibilities on the internet can be freeing and educational. The facebook phenom in many ways is also a great place to make connections and express yourself. However, it is important to see the normative "rules" that are set on many social networks.
The internet is definitively a great place to explore, question, and learn. It is also a great place to establish a group of people that an individual may identify with. The internet is a place to experiment with new places, people, and ideas. With all of these options in mind, the coming out process for youth can be as open or anonymous as they choose.