Google has a unique power to shape people’s perceptions.
Often, it’s the very first place people go to research something.
Countless young LGBT people take their first steps out the closet using the search engine – typing ‘gay’ before they’d dare tell a real person, or looking for transition tips online.
However, the search engine is not perfect – and the algorithm-based images search seems to have learnt a few lessons from humanity in terms of negative stereotyping.
Here’s what comes up if you search for some common LGBT terms… and how Google portrays you.
(Suggestions: Are you sure you didn’t want to laugh at some homophobic ‘gay’ jokes? Here’s some homophobic ‘gay’ jokes.)
You are a man. Definitely a white man. Why would you be searching for ‘gay’ if you’re not a white man?
All gay people have muscles and six packs, never wear clothes, and look promiscuous in public places. Being gay also means you dress up as women for fun, obviously.
Also, Nigel Farage doesn’t like you. Take it up with him.
‘Lesbians’? Oh, you’re probably a man looking to get off. Here’s some porn. Lesbians only exist to get men off.
(Suggestions: Did you mean ‘butch lesbian’? We keep those separately, and you won’t find any unless you specifically ask.)
You’re an actual lesbian? Oh right, okay then… you’re white, have long hair and wear make-up.
You also like having lots of sex in public places. Being a lesbian’s a bit trendy, so we’ve put everything in black-and-white, just like your Instagram filters.
Cara Delenvinge is also one of you. She might claim to be ‘bi-sexual’ or something, but we know better. Here she is.
Nice try, but we’ve rumbled you. You are a flag. You only exist in flag form.
People might claim that ‘bisexuals’ exist, but really they’re just big ol’ flags.
(Suggestions: Did you mean bisexual PEOPLE? I mean, I guess we have some stock images…)
(Suggestions: What?! Did you mean Trains? Transformers? You should be more careful when you type.)
Ooh, ooh, we know this one! You’re that cool Austrian diva who won Eurovision. She was trans, right?
She had a dress and beard and everything, so she must be. Here you go. Sorted.
We also have a few posh white dudes playing you in films. And Michelle Obama… Joan Rivers said it so it must be true!