July 12th: Join the Internet-Wide Day of Action to save Net Neutrality

Without net neutrality, internet censorship that harms the LGBTQ community is not only possible, but inevitable. That's why today, GLAAD is calling for the FCC to save net neutrality and protect LGBTQ communities.

So what is net neutrality and why is it important? Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers (ISPs) should allow users equal access to all online content. In practice, net neutrality restricts ISPs from blocking content and speeding up or slowing down data from certain websites who pay for priority status. Imagine internet networks as a highway–without net neutrality, there would be fast and slow lanes, and wealthier drivers would be able to buy access to the faster route. ISPs would also be able to restrict content they find objectionable–this could include silencing LGBTQ content. It's time to raise our voices and push back. 

Save the internet. battle for the net .com

image credit: Fight for the Future

Said Lucas Grindley, Editor in Chief of The Advocate:

“The Advocate has long benefited from absolutely ‘free’ speech that doesn’t come with a bill owed to the very people we’re protesting. The forces of intolerance are scared by a loud and organized resistance, and now they’re proposing weakening one of the tools it fears most — the internet. Creating an internet for the privileged and another for the rest of us is worse than losing neutrality, it’s about losing equality.”

In the coming days, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will begin the process to overturn net neutrality rules. The consequences of overturning net neutrality could have a huge impact on the LGBTQ community. ISPs could make it more difficult for users to access political coverage they don’t like, or resources for marginalized groups, like the LGBTQ community. Additionally, important LGBTQ resources are often provided by smaller organizations and nonprofits, and in a system that would require sites to pay for prioritization or even visibility, the voices of those who cannot afford to pay to be heard will be extinguished.

Riese of Autostraddle:

Even without the assistance of the federal government, our existence is constantly threatened by the resources of larger media conglomerates. We're struggling to do marketing, logistical and technical work on top of our editorial duties, while they enjoy entire teams dedicated to ad sales, tech, SEO, business, accounting, design and social media. Their size, network and financial resources enable them to pay writers more than we do, fund actual reporting, and secure large ad deals. Our independent LGBTQ-focused site provides community and information to a niche audience. We answer to our readers, not to our investors or advertisers (because we don't have any). Doing away with net neutrality is like giving millions of extra points to the team that's already winning the game, and could very well be the final nail in the coffin of independent media companies like ours. 

Further, we could see network owners charge a premium for community spaces, like chatrooms, message boards, and social networks. This means that LGBTQ teens, or people in isolated areas, who depend on the internet as their primary source of information and community will suffer. The internet and the people who use it thrive because of net neutrality–that’s what makes it such a dynamic and innovative place for expression, exchange, and liberation.

Alvin McEwen of Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters said:

"Changes in net neutrality would definitely have a hindering effect on how blogs like mine seek to educate and empower the LGBTQ community during this mistake of a presidential administration.The internet is a powerful source for the LGBTQ community, so I can't help but to think that this is a goal of those who would impose this awful rollback - to keep communities like ours ignorant and in fear while they attempt to impose their agenda of deliberate inequality on America."

  Stop: battle for the net .com

image credit: Fight for the Future

Said Zack Ford of ThinkProgress:

“It’s hard enough in our current political climate to fight myths with facts, and if big corporations can control what content we have access to, it will be even harder. Communities targeted for discrimination and stigma like the LGBTQ community depend upon an open and free internet to connect with one another and advocate for ourselves when many in the world still don’t understand who we are. We know all too well how often our lives are censored by web filters and content providers as it is.”

To join the leagues of people and organizations rallying to protect net neutrality – including GLAAD, Amazon, and the American Civil Liberties Union – you can take part in Fight for the Future’s Internet-Wide Day of Action to save Net Neutrality on July 12th. Click here for more resources and ways to participate.

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