LGBT+ pornographers warn that Tumblr’s ban on porn will take away a “vital social component” and “further marginalise” the queer community.

Earlier this week, microblogging site Tumblr said it will ban adult content, including porn videos and photos, starting on December 17.



But the policy, which will prohibit “photos, videos, or GIFs that show real-life human genitals or female-presenting nipples,” has been met with dismay from queer adult filmmakers, who use the platform as a safe space to post LGBT+ adult content.

Queer pornographer Courtney Trouble: Tumblr ban is an “erasure” of LGBT+ expression

Artist and filmmaker Courtney Trouble, who was a major figure in the birth of the queer porn movement in the US, tells PinkNews that Tumblr’s porn ban will massively hinder the LGBT+ community’s access to explicit content.

Trouble, who runs queer porn company TROUBLEfilms and joined Tumblr in 2008, says: “The Tumblr ban on adult content will affect queer and trans users by taking away a vital social component to a community that is bound together by their sexual orientation and sexual desire.”

The non-binary artist adds that they have spent the past two days “archiving and deleting adult posts across all of my Tumblr accounts with hopes that I can keep some of my followers, whom I love.”

Courtney Trouble, who has criticised Tumblr for banning porn
A shot taken by Courtney Trouble, who has spoken out against Tumblr banning porn. (Courtney Trouble)

For Trouble, any move to block queer porn would be to the huge detriment of the LGBT+ community.

“Queer porn can have a much more positive, life affirming effect on queer people,” they say.

“The Tumblr ban on adult content will affect queer and trans users by taking away a vital social component to a community that is bound together by their sexual orientation and sexual desire.”

—Courtney Trouble

“Without social media that allows this kind of exploration, we are losing a lot.

“I suggest we fight harder for queer-friendly sex education in light of this erasure, and more queers taking to the streets to fight for our rights to discuss our sexuality in digital spaces.”

The pornographer believes that social media companies are moving to block explicit content because of a new package of US laws, known as FOSTA-SESTA, which make it  illegal to assist, facilitate or support sex trafficking.

Although this was signed into law by President Donald Trump in April, the online aspects of the legislation are not set to be enforced until January 2019.

The law, which has been heavily criticised by the trans community, means websites and social media platforms could be prosecuted if they are perceived as allowing sex workers to communicate or carry out business.

“I’m concerned that Twitter will follow suit,” says Trouble. “Get ready.”

Trouble, however, says that queer sex workers and pornographers on social media will “adapt” to the changes.

They point to one social media user, known as Cookie Cyboid, who has managed to bypass porn filters on Tumblr by adding image effects around their nipples.

Tumblr porn band will lead to “further marginalisation” of LGBT+ community

Paulita Pappel, a queer-friendly pornographer, who runs homemade porn company Lustery, also believes Tumblr’s ban on explicit content will disproportionately hit the LGBT+ community, as well as people of colour.

“Tumblr provided a community and access to porn for LGBT+ and POC people that would escape the sexist, homophobic and racist standards that other platforms unfortunately reproduce,” she says.

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“‘Protecting the children’ is an ever-recurring argument from right-winged and homophobic lobbies for convincing the public to accept measures that actually discriminate or even criminalise LGBT+ communities, art and practices.”

—Paulita Pappel

“The ban creates more barriers for people to find content that is empowering and positive for them.”

She adds that Tumblr’s “censoring” of adult content will lead to the “further marginalisation and isolation of alternative erotic artists and consumers.”

Paulita Pappel, who is critical of Tumblr's porn ban
Paulita Pappel says Tumblr’s porn ban will create “barriers” for LGBT+ people accessing explicit content. (Alexa Vachon)

Pappel argues that, historically, all bans on adult content have been used to discriminate against the LGBT+ community.

“In the times before the internet, pornography laws would be used to ban LGBT+ literature, today we find this same example in Amazon.

“Porn filters have been blocking educational and political content.

“‘Protecting the children’ is an ever-recurring argument from right-winged and homophobic lobbies for convincing the public to accept measures that actually discriminate or even criminalise LGBT+ communities, art and practices.”

Like Trouble, Pappel points to the growing number of websites, social media platforms and companies—like Apple and Google—that have moved to ban porn, largely due to new laws in the UK and USA.

“Platforms such as Reddit, Craigslist or Patreon have closed down whole sections or ban people,” she says. “Now [it] is Tumblr. What’s next?”




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