How do marginalized communities find voice and visibility? In the United States, a cycle is needed: first, communities become visible to each other, them they amplify that visibility to the larger world. If the larger world catches on, mainstream media pays attention. And if media-savvy people like @janetmock and @lavernecox are at the helm, it turns into TIME magazine covers and NYT best sellers. A recent conversation with Janet got me thinking about the role of the Internet in building her voice and community. When used well, the Internet isn’t a flash in the pan: it’s more like a slow boil, maintained through the tiny actions of many.
I’m with you, but I also find myself thinking a lot about how this plays out in cases where visibility/legibility aren’t the goal, or where there’s a substantial amount of wariness around misappropriation of community values/aesthetics. That tension between wanting not to endure real pain and stigma while also identifying with alterity - I think that becomes incredibly tricky precisely in the context of online technologies that lower the barrier of entry both for finding out about previously obscure (whether on purpose or not) groups and for harassing those groups in new ways.