EFF is dedicated to ensuring that technology supports freedom, justice and innovation for all the people of the world. While digital freedom is an LGBTQ+ issue, LGBTQ+ issues are also digital rights issues. For example, LGBTQ+ communities are often those most likely to experience firsthand how big tech can restrict free expression, capitulate to government repression, and undermine user privacy and security. In many ways, the issues faced by these communities today serve as a bellwether of the fights other communities will face tomorrow. This is why EFF is committing to highlight these issues not only during Pride month, but year-round on our new LGBTQ+ Issue Page.
Centering LGBTQ+ Issues
Last month many online platforms featured pride events and rainbow logos (in certain countries). But their flawed algorithms and moderation restrict the freedom of expression of the LGBTQ+ community year-round. Some cases are explicit, like when blunt moderation policies, responding in part to FOSTA-SESTA, shut down discussions of sexuality and gender. In other instances, platforms, such as TikTok, will more subtly restrict LGBTQ+ content allegedly to “protect” users from bullying– while promoting homophobic and anti-trans content.
Looking beyond the platforms, government surveillance of LGBTQ+ individuals is also a long standing concern, including such historic cases as 1960’s FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s maintaining a "Sex Deviant" file used for state abuse. In addition to government repression seen in the U.S. and internationally, data collection from apps disproportionately increases the risk to LGBTQ+ people online and off, because exposing this data can enable targeted harassment. These threats in particular were explored in a blog post last month on Security Tips for Online LGBTQ+ Dating.
At Home with EFF: Pride Edition
For the second year in a row, EFF has held an At Home with EFF livestream panel to highlight these and other related issues, facilitated by EFF Technologist Daly Barnett. This year's panel featured Hadi Damien, co-president of InterPride; moses moon, a writer also known as @thotscholar; Ian Coldwater, Kubernetes SIG Security co-chair; and network security expert Chelsea Manning.
This conversation featured a broad range of expert opinions and insight on a variety of topics, from how to navigate the impacts of tightly controlled social media platforms, to ways to conceptualize open source licensing to better protect LGBTQ+ individuals.
LGBTQ+ community resources
Now that June has drawn to a close, there are some ongoing commitments from EFF which can help year-round. For up-to-date information on LGBTQ+ and digital rights issues, you can refer to EFF’s new LGBTQ+ issue page. Additionally EFF maintains an up-to-date digital security advice project, Surveillance Self Defense, which includes a page specific to LGBTQ+ youth.
LGBTQ+ activists can refer to the EFF advocacy toolkit, and, if their work intersect with digital rights, are invited to reach out to the EFF organizing team at firstname.lastname@example.org. People regularly engaging in digital rights and LGBTQ+ issues should also consider joining EFF’s own grassroots advocacy network, the Electronic Frontier Alliance.