With Pride Month celebrations shifting to digital spaces due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Instagram has launched a number of new features — including rainbow hashtags and queer themed stickers — to help users celebrate virtually. The Facebook-owned photo sharing app has also collaborated with digital advocacy group The Queer Muslim Project to develop a Wellbeing Guide for LGBTQIA+ social media users.
Instagram’s Wellbeing Guide has been designed to help LGBTQIA+ users cope with feelings of loneliness, anxiety and isolation during the coronavirus pandemic. It includes carefully-curated tips and guidelines to help queer users navigate the tricky terrain of social media at a time when social distancing and lockdowns are the new normal. It also features personal anecdotes and advice on how to handle negativity by several queer creators and groups.
In celebration of Pride Month, Instagram partnered with US-based NGO GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) to launch new features — hashtags like #lgbtq, #equalitymatters and #pride2020 will now appear in rainbow colours. Further, Instagram stories which feature these hashtags will soon be displayed with the new rainbow gradient colour ring.
The photo sharing platform, known for its unique filters, has also introduced a Pride-themed AR effect, which includes 12 LGBTQIA+ flag gradients. Instagram has also collaborated with several creators to expand its pre-existing Pride sticker pack to include several new ones.
“We understand the challenges and diversity of emotions that the LGBTQIA+ community faces everyday, and want our platforms to be safe spaces for them to express themselves. Especially during COVID-19, we want to help the community celebrate virtually, find support online, and stay connected with the people they love,” Instagram’s Public Policy and Community Outreach Manager, Tara Bedi, said in a press release.
Every June, LGBTQIA+ people across the world come together to celebrate their queer identity. This year, over 500 Pride events were cancelled globally, according to a list released by the European Pride Organisers Association. With people confined to their homes, several queer groups and collectives have actively worked towards bringing the celebration online.
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