From the Supreme Court’s milestone decision to legalize gay marriage nationwide to Caitlyn Jenner’s incredibly public transition, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities have rarely seen more positive attention. With the eyes of the world on the challenges these communities have faced and the recent strides they’ve made, take a look into how social media has played a part.
These traditionally marginalized communities are having their moment in the sun thanks to positive messages from many public figures, like Apple’s Tim Cook, the first Fortune 500 CEO to be openly gay. Social media has allowed many to express their support, and it has allowed influencers who had already found fame to announce their identification as part of one of these groups.
Social media influencers who might be a part of these communities are also important players beyond the social and civil rights challenges they face. Major brands work with them on campaigns that are not specifically linked to their identity as gay, lesbian or transgender.
Gigi Gorgeous is first and foremost a beauty blogger, sharing her tips and tricks to getting as gorgeous as her name implies. However, with her platform on YouTube and more than 2 million followers, Gigi’s posts can be personal and almost like diary entries. Notably, Gigi went through a transition from male to female while continuing to post, addressing her transition after the fact on her terms. Gigi shared videos detailing her surgeries and candidly shared how her experience really felt. Gigi is also working with Too Faced, a major cosmetic company, on an exclusive partnership, thanks to her beauty expertise.
Transgender, lesbian and gay social media influencers have often taken the opportunity to advocate for civil rights on their pages, either by joining movements like the It Gets Better Project, or sharing their own personal stories. Activism has certainly become an important component of many people’s social media experience.
Oriol Pamies is a prominent influencer who focuses on his work as a LGBT rights activist. Like many people, Oriol started using social media to connect with family and friends, but soon found that it would be a powerful tool to share a message he believed in.
He helped to found Moovz, a LGBT social network that aims to create a supportive and respectful global community. Oriol believes that “social media allows you to inspire, get inspired, support and get supported. When we show ourselves living our life freely on social media we can encourage other people that might be afraid of being true to themselves.”
Further, he says that he is frequently the recipient of “tons of messages from people around the world that are not living in an accepting environment,” and that “social media allows me having the possibility to help them out and make them feel better.”
Caitlyn Jenner broke records when she joined Twitter, surpassing even Barack Obama. Her new television series is also watched by a wide audience, and her public role is not lacking in commentary on LGBTQ issues. In the premiere episode of her show, Caitlyn visited with the family of a transgender teen who committed suicide, calling attention to an important issue with her position as a voice for the community.
The lesbian, gay and transgender communities are often lumped together into one under the LGBTQ label, but it is important to recognize their different challenges and assets. For brands that are looking to reach these communities, remember that the people who make up these groups are not solely defined by these identities, but by the work that they do.
Eric Dahan is the CEO and co-founder of InstaBrand, one of the leading mobile influencer platforms that connects brands with millions of people in an authentic and meaningful way across all social media channels.
Image courtesy of Gigi Gorgeous on Facebook.