It is almost unfathomable that freedom can be found in solace. That something so conceptually open must be found in a closed space. In this weeks reading of “The Gay Global Village in Cyberspace” by Larry Gross, he details what the introduction of the internet has done for the ever expanding LGBT community. Looking at the image above one might be inclined to laugh, but although Trapped in the Closet has no ties to LGBT themes, its title is ever so relevant.
Prior to the introduction of the internet, those who identified themselves, or had yet to, as LGBT had few if any resources for likeminded individuals. There were spread out throughout other existing communities and quieted by the normality of society. This was until the internet gave them a forum by which to share and exchange information. “In today’s world, young people grow up reading words and seeing images that previous generations never encountered” (Gross, p. 262). The internet became the greatest tool by which this society could communicate and flourish. In fact, many people choose to come out online prior to coming out in real life. I myself, being a straight male, has never had to hide my preferences from the public because the things I preferred sexually and emotionally were widely accepted. However, those who have different perspectives and opinions are privy to both verbal and physical harassment especially in their youth.
Young children are brutal when it comes to judgement. Then again they are the most susceptible to information. They only know what their parents and the media have taught them and thus act accordingly. In my own experience I have seen straight people use homosexuality as a way to disrespect another person. As if to say that having homosexual traits make someone a lesser being. It is this wide-spread phenomena that keeps people in the closet and scared to be themselves. Nevertheless the internet gives people, especially youth, a space free of oppression and conducive to privacy. It is these features which have helped LGBTs find support and information online to aid them along their journey. It has also allowed them to communicate with similar individuals so that what seems like a big straight world becomes and smaller mixed one. The internet has saved countless lives in the LGBT community directly through suicide prevention techniques and easy accessibility. If not for the internet, the LGBT community may have never expanded to the level is has today, which means our society would be even less evolved than we already are. If a society is only as strong as its weakest link, it is our responsibility to strengthen rather than weaken these communities.