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YouTube star Calum McSwiggan calls on site to stop censoring LGBT+ videos

By Will Stroude

YouTube star Calum McSwiggan has spoken out following the shocking revelation that LGBT+ videos are being censored on the video sharing website.

The Google-owned company offers users a “restricted mode” that aims to block “potentially objectionable” content for those who opt-in for the service.

However, it’s come to light that a number of child-safe, LGBT-friendly videos are being hidden as part of the restricted rule, which has provoked outrage among both YouTubers and fans alike.

A spokesperson for YouTube previously told Attitude that the filter was only used be a “very small subset of users who want to have a more limited YouTube experience,” but despite their explanation, many of the videos that are blocked don’t appear to contain any adult themes.

For example, transgender make-up tutorials and videos looking at LGBTQ models don’t appear on the restricted mode, according to creators.

Speaking to Attitude about his opinion on restricted mode, Calum urged YouTube to make changes to the way they filter content.

“YouTube have always been a wonderfully inclusive organisation and yet this filter is blocking LGBT+ content because it isn’t deemed appropriate. We’re not talking about videos about gay sex, we’re talking about videos about LGBT+ love, gay pride, and coming out.

“Make-up tutorials are blocked just because the person doing the make-up is transgender, and wedding vows are being blocked just because the people reciting them are gay. It’s so out of character for YouTube to do something like this, and I think that’s why so many people are speaking out against it.

“These videos are not only suitable for people of all ages, but they’re important to help young LGBT+ identifying people come to terms with who they are. I really hope YouTube make the right call on this and rise to be the inclusive LGBT+ friendly company that I believe they are,” added the star.

In a video released shortly after the backlash began, Calum hit back at the company and questioned their motives behind the use of the filter.

“I completely understand if the point is to protect children, as there are a lot of videos on my channel where there’s a lot of bad language. I don’t think it would be appropriate for a six-year-old child to watch a video where I show my nudes, for example.

Related: Interview | Calum McSwiggan talks mental health, body image, and his gay porn past

“However are many videos on my channel that are appropriate. There’s a video where I celebrate an amazing gay marriage, and it’s just a video capturing the love between two men  – why is that not suitable for children?”

“I know there are a lot of people who will continue to argue that children shouldn’t be exposed to LGBT people. But being gay isn’t an idea that is placed inside your head, and the same goes for being transgender.”

In response to the backlash from stars including vlogger Tyler Oakley, the creators of YouTube took to Twitter to explain why LGBTQ videos are filtered on the site.

“We are so proud to represent LGBT+ voices on our platform – they’re a key part of what YouTube is all about,” explained the statement.

“The intention of Restricted Mode is to filter out mature content for the tiny subset of users who want a more limited experience. LGBT+ videos are available in Restricted Mode, but videos that discuss more sensitive issues may not be. We regret any confusion this has caused and are looking into your concerns.”

Attitude has reached out to YouTube for further comment.

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