The debate about social justice and free speech in the United States burns on. Some argue that asking for more diverse representation is “identity politics,” while I argue that identity diversity often equals idea diversity. I recently came across a news story where social justice and free speech go hand-in-hand.
According to Brendon Hong of The Daily Beast, last week Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo reversed its decision to ban the hashtag #IAmGay from its site after worldwide condemnation. The hashtag ban was part of Sina Weibo’s plan to remove “illegal content” from the site, which included “videos with pornographic implications, promoting violence or (related to) homosexuality.” LGBTQ people and allies in China responded to the ban by using the hashtag even more, until finally Sina Weibo realized this was a battle they couldn’t win. What’s interesting to note is that, according to Hong, while China never outright outlawed homosexuality (except from 1979 to 1997 when it was “indirectly criminalized” under a law that lumped together with sexual assault), the existence of LGBTQ people is still virtually erased throughout the nation.
Read the rest here.