Meta provides services like Facebook and Instagram for the rainbow community to find belonging and connection. Our policies on these apps are designed to give people a voice to express themselves freely but also feel safe and respected. In addition, we also build tools to support and celebrate the diversity that exists within our community. And we work directly with the community and local organisations to provide resources, education and research that will both support the community and inform the wider industry about what more we can do in the future. Through our work with partners such as ACON, Black Rainbow and Trans Pride Australia, we are working to deepen our understanding and support for the Trans community.
The theme for the 2022 Trans Day of Visibility is #beseen – this theme speaks to the opportunity for us to recognise trans and gender diverse experiences and what more we can do to ensure both recognition and visibility in digital spaces both now and into the future. This seems like the perfect time to #beseen using the trans colours option in the Pride AR filter – read on for more details about Meta’s work to provide tools, and resources and invest in research to support the trans community and trans visibility.
To ensure people can #beseen on Facebook and Instagram in ways that reflect their gender identity, you can include the gender pronoun on your profile that best reflects you. This setting gives both people identifying as gender diverse and cis-identified allies the opportunity to openly curate their Instagram profiles and also increase the awareness and acceptability of gender pronouns on social media.
To add your pronouns on Instagram, open your profile on the app and click “edit profile.” Click pronouns, and start typing. A list of suggestions will pop up. Each one you tap will be added to your profile, up to four pronouns.
To add your pronouns on Facebook, click your profile picture in the top right of Facebook, click About, then click Contact and Basic Info.
At Meta, we’re also excited to look for new ways for people to celebrate the queer community and #beseen. As part of Meta’s major sponsorship of the 2022 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, we released a new Pride AR filter on Instagram designed by Sydney based artist Kim Leutwyler aka @carlosbob. We partnered with Kim to design this filter including colour schemes which allow people to honour the breadth of the LGBTQIA+ community – including a filter that reflects the colours of the trans flag. You can access the Pride AR filter at @sydneymardigras; @carlosbob – a great way to celebrate visibility and #beseen on this Trans Day of Visibility.
To understand how the LGBTQIA+ community is using our apps, especially during the pandemic, we undertook to study the experience of LGBTQI youth. The research found young LGBTQIA+ people’s social media use during the pandemic went up and they had strategies in place that allowed them to thrive on social media platforms. However one of the outcomes of that study recommended greater research be undertaken to understand the unique experience of the Trans community on social media and their unique needs.
Building on this recommendation, in 2022, we are thrilled to be working with the Kirby Institute at UNSW Sydney and researchers Denton Callander, Shoshana Rosenberg and Teddy Cook, to enhance trans people’s experiences of gender affirmation on Instagram. Titled “#TransIsBeautiful”, this research furthers our commitment to engaging the trans community meaningfully and ensuring the wider community is informed by the trans community and their needs directly.
Speaking to the importance of the research, Teddy Cook, #TransIsBeautiful Co-Lead Investigator, Manager of Trans Health Equity at ACON, and Vice President of the Australian Professional Association for Trans Health explained: “Instagram and other social media are really important social spaces for many trans people, which is why we’re so excited to launch the #TransIsBeautiful project. This innovative social research will help us learn about how to maximize visual social media as a safe, healthy, and affirming space for trans people of all genders in Australia and around the world.”
This research is just one project from the global Instagram research awards on safety and community health, announced in December 2021. We look forward to sharing the findings later this year.
Part of ensuring that everyone in our community can express themselves and feel safe means more than just having policies and designing tools. In addition to the existing resources such as the Instagram Safety Guide, we have developed resources that are specifically designed to provide practical tips and advice for the LGBTQIA+ community. The Safe & Strong Guide is a guide that provides practical advice for the LGBTQIA+ community to keep your socials a safe and positive space. It contains tips on how to use the safety tools on Facebook and Instagram, advice from experts and inspiration from your favourite queer creators. Developed by Meta in conjunction with Black Rainbow, Trans Pride Australia, ACON, Twenty10 and Minus18, the guide features trans and gender-diverse creators including AJ Clementine, Roshan Nausad and Brandon Scott.
We look forward to celebrating Trans Day of Visibility with you in 2022 and into the future!