Using Facebook for Change
How Facebook is inspiring pride, acceptance and activism.
Chrissy Chambers (left) & Bria Kam (right)
The week that Prop 8 and DOMA were brought to the Supreme Court, Facebook turned into a sea of red. On March 25, the Human Rights Campaign encouraged everyone to change their profile pictures to red equality signs in support of same-sex marriage. On March 26, 2.7 million people, a 120 percent increase, updated their profile pictures on Facebook.
Facebook isn’t just about sharing photos of our meals or pictures of our furry companions, it’s about having a platform for our voices to be heard. We helped the video of Hillary Clinton’s speech at Geneva go viral by clicking share. The phrase “gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights” was plastered on Clinton photos all over our Facebook timelines, pages and groups.
Recently, anti-gay politicians have been changing their views on same-sex marriage. Although they still may be against it, they are recognizing a shift in the majority and are realizing that our culture is moving towards acceptance.
Our voices are being heard. With 1.06 billion monthly active Facebook users, what we share has an audience, and lesbian couple Bria Kam and Chrissy Chambers, known as Bria and Chrissy Lesbian Duo, represent a generation of LGBT youth who are turning to social media to use their voices, share their stories and increase LGBT visibility and representation.
Kam, a 26-year-old Georgia native and Chambers, a 22-year-old Mississippian are a musical duo who make videos to inspire change. Their songs range from serious to satire, and their videos range from skits, to their music, to discussions on sexuality to video blogging about their lives.
Their life together began when they met outside of a gay bar in Atlanta and hit it off, but they didn't exchange contact information. As Kam was waking away, Chambers yelled after her asking for her last name. The following day she found and liked Kam's Facebook page and sent her a Facebook message. Eventually they started dating and went on to create Bria and Chrissy Lesbian Duo.
Through sharing their relationship on Facebook, Kam and Chambers are giving people hope. They have pride in themselves, in what they do and in their sexuality, and they're open and honest in sharing their experiences and their love for each other. It's refreshing. By making their relationship public on social media, they're creating positive media representation of lesbians and same-sex relationships.
We may not be fully represented on TV, in film or literature, but through social media, anybody can easily access or create information. We have a growing list of web series and independent films with strong LGBT female lead characters. And more people, like Kam and Chambers, are putting their lives into the public arena, creating a new, more personal form of media.
With the advent of Facebook, we're witnessing a shift into a new culture that is more willing to share their story. Kam and Chambers shared their experiences with being bullied to help others who may be going through the same experience. They shared their coming out stories as a way to show others who are currently struggling with coming out that it does get better. They are contributing to and changing queer media. LGBT youth can look to their Facebook page to watch them sing "I Have Two Moms" and "Together We Rise" or to watch them make dinner, visit with their families and live their every-day lives. Kam and Chambers are part of a new wave of media that humanizes us. They show that we are more than our sexuality and that our sexuality is an aspect of our identity that we should be proud of.
Whether we know it or not, a lot of us take part in activism on Facebook. When we signed and shared a petition for same-sex marriage, when we changed our profile picture to a red equality sign, these small but simple actions are examples of us using our voices for a larger cause, for our equal rights, but activism doesn't have to be signing petitions or sharing political photos. Activism is being proud of who you are. You're an activist and a role model by simply being yourself. Like Kam and Chambers, by living openly and proudly, you're setting an example for those who are still coming into their own.