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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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HELEN SCOTT: Love is Love? Not When Hate is Hate

Our lesbian on the ground, Helen Scott, took on the trolls and came out stronger on the other side.

I’ve been a content creator for almost seven years now and I’ve never had a post end up on Instagram’s Explore page. It’s an influencer’s dream to be catapulted into a fishbowl of viewers, potential new followers and adoration. It can really change some people’s lives through just one post landing there.

Why am I telling you this? Well, after years of grafting and worrying about the goddamn algorithm, losing sleep over IG not deeming me authentically myself enough to be worthy of a blue tick, my day finally came… 01.06.2023. The first day of Pride month, I hit the explore page. Was it a witty, sexy, uplifting post? I mean yes, in a way. But not the kind where I’m gazing candidly into the camera while the wind whips my hair about my face and my tits look great. No, no. The post was an image of a Pride flag high in the sky and I’d written one sentence across it in bold, white font. ‘Wishing all the homophobes and transphobes a super uncomfortable month’. And boy oh boy, did shit hit the fan!

Trolls descended in their thousands. “Leave our kids alone”; was written over and over again until I had to ban the word ‘kids’ from the comment section altogether and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I received death threats, people telling me to ‘unalive’ myself in the comments, men sending me dick pics (weirdly, I’m still a lesbian?) and even my manager Meisha got a creepy email about how we’re all going to hell unless we repent.

Now, I’m a ‘no fucks given’ kinda gal. I’ve been online for a long time and have no qualms using that block button, never thinking about someone’s self-loathing-filled hatred ever again. But this was different. This was more than personal. Imagine a young queer kid seeing my post, giving it a double tap with a little breathy chuckle, feeling comforted and empowered before opening the comment section and feeling their hearts sink. Not today satan, not on my watch. Social media is such a double-edged sword. There’s so much good that comes from being able to find community, from seeing representation that most of us over the age of 30 just never had as kids, and being able to connect with like-minded people so easily. I mean baby me could never!

But after I spent hours of my time blocking people and reporting
accounts, I wondered if any of this is actually worth it — the vitriol of abuse and misinformation, as well as the lack of empathy or accountability. Comments
from peers in the community, condemning me for posting something ‘negative’ were what pissed me off the most. ‘Spread love not hate’ being a personal rage-inducing comment from (I’m sorry to say) white, gay men who frankly should know better. We’re past the point of plastering “love is love” across rainbow flags babes, our trans peers are literally dying. The ones who started the protest for LGBTQ+ rights in the first place, you know? Don’t ask me to pussyfoot around homophobia and transphobia in 2023, it’s insulting and I was shocked as much by the ignorance as I was by the slurs at times.

But, as I was wading through and siphoning out the morons, the hundreds of thousands of comments rallying behind the message got me choked up some days. I couldn’t have been more proud to see people from all different walks of life support, encourage and love one another in the comments too. The post got over 100k likes and was shared over a thousand times, huge accounts reposted it and even SZA gave it a double tap, the legend. Ultimately the message was spread far and wide, that the community and our allies are done with being bullied, are done with being told how to live, and we will not back down until equality is realised.

Love is love, fine. But hate is hate, and if we’re calling a spade a spade, you’re either with us or against us. Pick a side, and pick wisely, as those on the opposition are about to find themselves on the wrong side of history, embarrassed and ultimately forgotten about as this beautiful community helps to evolve and expand the human race as we know it.

I have never been more proud as a content creator to have hit the explore page for the first time with this particular post and so I’ll say it once more but with a twist. I wish all the homophobes and transphobes a super uncomfortable life, and I say it with my goddamn chest.

Follow our Helen @helenscottuk

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