We were informed that Bible Girl, a popular drag queen based in New York City, was kicked off Instagram. Why? No one’s sure — but she’s not the only drag queen to be kicked off recently. So was Rubber Child, a queen based in South Florida.
These deactivated accounts are possibly another example of LGBT influencers being censored on social media, similar to YouTube’s recent classification of LGBT content as “adult.”
Alaska Thunderfuck, who still has an Instagram, gave us the following comment regarding this possible purge:
I don’t know if what’s going on with Instagram is an algorithm gone awry, other users campaigning against profiles they don’t like by flagging and reporting posts, or if this is actually an act of homophobic and transphobic discrimination on the part of Instagram.
What I do know is that there are acerbically racist profiles that are alive and well, spouting hate speech every single day. And I also know that there are cis-bodies exposing themselves and flagrantly breaking the codes of conduct set in place by Instagram, who are also not being shut down.
So seeing my friends and sisters being shut down for presenting themselves as who they are and for creating art is troubling, frustrating and upsetting. Plus, we have just dealt with YouTube filing all LGBT content as adult and 18+ and denying it from young users. So we need to stay vigilant and ask questions as to why these things are happening and to see that they don’t continue happening.
In the meantime, I’m proud to be the first follower on Bible Girl’s new Instagram: @NotBibleGirl!
We reached out to Bible Girl for an exclusive interview to find out what happened — this is what she told us:
How do you use Instagram as a tool for your business?
For the past three years, I have utilized Instagram as a tool for business through marketing and promotional strategy. I started drag while I was still in college, but felt my passion for the art form required me to commit fully to it.
I left school after receiving my associate degree. At this point, when I chose to leave school for drag, I knew it was only going to work if I cranked out a drag character concept revolving around social media and viral marketing.
Nothing outside of my usual posting cycle, to be quite honest. I was in Canada at the time for a few shows, as I was getting ready, I posted the “Blame Canada” clip from South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut. This was no different than the posting of any other clip or meme which I have seen done by thousands of Instagram users.
Upon uploading, Instagram deleted that post and said it was because of copy-written content from the movie clip. I was given the option to comply with deleting the post or contesting it. Of course, I complied.
Later, I posted another form of promo for the show: A screenshot of Cartman’s mom pointing at a sign that reads, “Blame Canada.” The following morning, I received an email from Instagram with the subject, “Your Account.” Inside was a vague message that said I had violated terms and conditions of the app, and my account would therefore be (indefinitely) “hidden” due to my alleged lack of following the rules.
Nothing as to what I did was specified. Instead, there was a line suggesting that if I wasn’t familiar with Instagram’s terms and conditions, they could be found in an included link.
I know you posted about being deactivated on Facebook. What happened when you did that?
I posted a status asking for others on my friend list who have experienced LGBTQ-based discrimination via social media censorship to share their stories in the comment section. I’ve had many friends have their accounts compromised by the company under the same vague guise of “breaking the rules.”
One of my close drag friends, Rubber Child, had this happen to her about a month or so ago, and this trend of mass account wipeouts going down is hard to ignore. The status was up for a few hours and then I received a notification that Facebook removed my post because I had once again “violated terms and conditions” and I was then put into Facebook jail for 24 hours.
I found this especially odd considering Facebook owns Instagram. I had a friend who works in porn who had been commenting on the since-revoked status, and after it was removed, his social media account had been shut down, too.
What has Instagram and Facebook’s response been since this happened?
There seems to be a trend happening to LGBTQ people and their social media accounts being deactivated or censored. Why do you think this is?
I believe that the terms and conditions are formulated under a scarily heteronormative gaze. The problem with this is that it has created a double standard for people who are actually violating terms and conditions versus drag queens who are doing their damn best to hustle in 2017 and make a career out of what they love to do.
There are straight “comedians” (i.e. Eric Andre) who post photos with bare asses, dildos, transphobic jokes, women in misogynistic scenarios etc., who are allowed to fully function and operate with zero issue.
There have also been sponsored posts and ads about boycotting Target for their stand with the trans community for equal bathroom rights. The ads themselves are inherently harmful and offensive, especially in the case of how they depict the idea of a trans person in the bathroom as the opposite gender assigned to the respective room.
There are also nazi and white supremacist accounts freely spewing garbage, and that’s all I have to say on that. Somehow these examples have not broken the rules.
For now, where can people follow you? What are some big things you are working on that you are not able to promote because your account was deleted?
My company DragQueenMerch.com will be repping and selling at RuPaul’s DragCon 2017 at Booth #1026. Also, there are a bunch of huge updates coming to my smartphone game, BibleGirl’s Big Apple. It’s hard to promote a game I’ve pumped so much time and energy into over the past two years for an audience that evaporated.
Lastly, I have a line of merchandise in Hot Topic and we are expanding beyond just t-shirts and our roster of queens in-store has grown exponentially as well. All of our current product can be found on HotTopic.com and in stores throughout the US and Canada!
We reached out to Instagram for comment, but have not heard back at press time.
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