With transphobia, homophobia, and so many kinds of hatred being spewed, the online LGBT community in India can end up being subjected to hate from nasty trolls. To feel safe in an online community, one needs to feel safe, comfortable, and supported to feel they belong to any space, let alone an LGBTQ community, so here are 4 top-tips to look after one self and stay safe in an LGBT online community.
Learn what the privacy settings are in an online community. These privacy settings will help you control who sees your profile, what you post, and manage your overall online experience in a positive way. While in an online LGBT community, your name, location, and similar unique identifiers can be hidden if you are not out and don’t want to show them on your public profile. If you are closeted and don’t want your name on your public profile, ensure you use a nick name or a pseudonym. This can help you feel safe while still allowing you to share your experiences and opinions.
Picture and Fake News
Always recheck what you share, unless it is a personal experience. Make sure you check the share settings before posting any pictures that you don’t want the public to see. Also, with so much fake news around, it is wise to do a bit of research before sharing. Unfortunately, all this hate and shame sometimes doesn’t make it easy for people to come out of their closets. If you are closeted, there may be a risk of being blackmailed. So, it is completely your decision to share or not share photographs and personally identifying details on your public profile, whether on the LGBT meeting app or online community.
Personal Info on Online Communities
Be mindful about how much personal information you want to provide in an online community. Use the privacy settings wisely when you are looking to share your personal information. Apart from basic information, most personal information on online communities allows you to share it only with a limited number of viewers. Understand the privacy of online communities to keep your personal information safe while in an online LGBT community.
On WE, an As You Are online LGBT community, we treat your personal information with utmost care. We give you freedom to update your name as you prefer and the phone number used for verification doesn’t show up anywhere on your profile.
Online Community Reporting
The advantage of an online community is that most of them have a reporting system setup. If someone is harassing or threatening you, block them or unfriend them, and make sure you report or email the community administrator, so further action can be taken. Apart from personal attacks, if you find any content you feel in an online community is hateful or phobic, reporting it and taking it down will help keep the LGBT online community safe.
Indian LGBT online forums or communities are a fantastic way to interact with the Indian LGBT community. Sometimes these spaces can become crowded with heated arguments or discussions that can turn nasty. This situation is not uncommon for LGBTQ people, who are in real life also targeted on public boards, just because of their identity. The LGBT community should never be forced to hide or mask their identity or feel unsafe in a space built for them.
On WE Community, even if you are closeted, your identity is safe and you can choose to give out only as much information as you want to, cos your safety and comfort is important to us.
At As You Are, in our “WE Community”, we aim to accommodate networking and conversational opportunities among the LGBTQ community in India that are safe and meaningful. We have privacy settings and reporting systems in place to keep our queer users comfortable and their privacy protected.