N.S. singer-songwriter calls on YouTube to stop filtering LGBTQ+ videos
Published Monday, March 20, 2017 8:00PM ADT
Maritime singer-songwriter Ria Mae is among a chorus of LGBTQ+ artists demanding YouTube end its practice of filtering videos.
One of Mae’s music videos showing a same-sex couple kissing had been on YouTube for about a year, when it was suddenly blocked in the restricted mode.
“My content is not mature content,” Mae said. “I just happen to be gay and that's why they restricted it.”
YouTube's restricted mode is an optional feature that must be actively turned on by people choosing to have a more limited experience.
Libraries may use it, or parents monitoring their kids online.
"I think that what YouTube said gives a strong message that queer content is inappropriate for children,” said Mae.
Ria Mae is not the only one upset with the restrictions. Indie pop singing duo Tegan and Sara chimed in, as did YouTube sensation Tyler Oakley, until YouTube responded.
"We recognize that some videos are incorrectly labeled by our automated system and we realize it's very important to get this right. We're working hard to make some improvements," the video sharing site said in a statement to CTV News.
In addition to the statement, YouTube also apologized via Twitter for the confusion with the restricted access mode.
“We are so proud to represent the LGBTQ+ voices on our platform. They’re a key part of what YouTube is about,” the tweet reads. “The intention of Restricted Mode is to filter mature content for the tiny subset of users who want a more limited experience.”
Some of the videos don't even show physical contact. Others are purely educational. Ria Mae insists this is not about the number of views on her video.
“I'm in it kissing someone. Whether I was gay or straight, I'm not that comfortable with people seeing that, but I felt it was important because that's what I needed to see when I was a kid. I needed to see that it was normal and that it was ok, and that someone could be successful and still be themselves,” said Mae.
She says young people who are gay need to see themselves represented, and she doesn't want her video to be blocked from people who need to see it.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kayla Hounsell.