Facebook reinstates homophobic ‘awareness’ page

Written by scott on August 30th, 2014

RECENTLY I wrote about Heterosexual Awareness Month, a campaign against LGBT rights and marriage equality which is spreading ignorance and prejudice on Facebook.

I discovered their Facebook page in May and reported some of its content, which I considered to be blatantly homophobic.

At first Facebook responded to say these posts didn’t violate their Community Standards, even though they clearly state:

Facebook does not permit hate speech, but distinguishes between serious and humorous speech. While we encourage you to challenge ideas, institutions, events, and practices, we do not permit individuals or groups to attack others based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition.

Shortly before writing my last post about this campaign, I received notification from Facebook informing me that these posts were no longer visible because the page had been removed. However, a Facebook search for Heterosexual Awareness Month revealed more than a dozen variations of the campaign page that had been removed.

Then this week I returned from a week away to find further notifications from Facebook saying that the posts I had reported may be visible again as the page had been reinstated, and inviting me to report it again if I still think they violate these standards.

Of course I still think they do – though Facebook can’t seem to make up its mind. I don’t understand why they would remove a page for violating its own standards then reinstate it with its offensive content intact. Being on the ‘naughty step for a month appears to have done nothing to dent the false pride of this campaign. An admin posted after the page was reinstated:

Today is a great day. Let us celebrate the return of HAM, and let us celebrate Heterosexuality! Don’t be ashamed for being normal.

So I have decided to share the posts I reported to see if my readers think they count as humorous or hate speech. Let me know what you think and, more importantly, let Facebook know what you think. If it truly is a social and democratic medium, maybe Facebook will respond more consistently if enough people make their voices heard.

Let’s be clear – I don’t expect everyone to agree with LGBT rights or marriage equality, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect a rational and well informed debate. This campaign shows little of that – but it’s important to note that they’re claiming erosion of their rights and prejudice against them, as this post from today shows:

HAMcampaignI’ve chosen not to enter the lion’s den and comment on any of these posts directly, as I believe that way madness lies. I also choose not to demonise the page admins or those who post on this page. I believe the only way to bring about meaningful challenge and change is to deal with facts and evidence to counter injustice and prejudice, not to engage in personal abuse in return. I know others who read this may not agree, but I believe trading personal abuse only serves to entrench both sides in defensive positions. It feels futile to engage in debate with those who troll on this page – let’s focus our efforts on getting Facebook to enforce its Community Standards more consistently and effectively.

So here goes – these are the posts I reported:

  1. This image may seem harmless enough, but the comments which follow give a flavour of the kind of interaction this page gets.
  2. This post, which denies the existence of homophobia.
  3. This image, which implies that anything other than ‘traditional marriage’ is perversion.
  4. This image which perpetuates the dangerous myth that AIDS is not an issue for heterosexuals.
  5. These two posts which imply that all gay men are interested in is anal sex and group sex.

If you can stomach it, there are many more where these came from on the original Heterosexual Awareness Month page and the many spin-offs.

I was also interested to see that a page opposing this campaign has sprung up – maybe worth adding your voice to them too.

Happy reporting – let me know if you have more constructive feedback than I did.


9 Comments so far ↓

  1. Lee Dorsey says:

    Need to share this essay too (as you have on other sites) #LGBT, DONT MISS this post: ‘Dumb arguments against same-sex marriage don’t hide bigotry’ http://t.co/fFTZBGFsds
    NOW question becomes when is Bigotry ‘HateSpeech’

  2. needR says:

    Make sure you actually check what pages are about before you start hating on them. The first one, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Heterosexual-Awareness-Month/501164269919365 It’s “about” portion states:We here at the NEW Heterosexual Awareness Month are clearly aware that heterosexuals exist and don’t really need awareness. And want our LGBT friends family and allies to know that WE LOVE THEM VERY VERY MUCH 🙂 2013: we stopped being douch*ags.

  3. Jennifer says:

    Include my name in the efforts to abolish these hateful offshoots of Heterosexual Awareness Page.

  4. Kieran Bohan says:

    needR – I am glad to hear that you feel the HAM agenda has changed. I don’t see much evidence of that from the current output of its pages though. Definitely not feeling any love coming from this page, only judgement and misinformation.

  5. Ann Delicath says:

    So how soon will we be expected to bow down to racists? Hatred is hatred no matter who it’s aimed at.

  6. Annette Gross says:

    When I first learned of this page, I created a petition to urge Facebook to close it down. I got about 2500 signatures. Personally, I don’t trust them even if they do say their agenda has changed.

  7. Rhonda says:

    I didn’t even get through all of these before I couldn’t take it any longer. YES!!!!! This page needs to be taken down. This is breeding hate, discrimination and misinformation. I am and have been, seriously thinking about ending my association with Facebook. This is just another nail in the coffin!

  8. Hannah says:

    Report this page: ‘Death for the Gay’ https://www.facebook.com/groups/663961446991082/?fref=ts

  9. Milo Farnsworth says:

    I find what they are saying abominable . . . but I will defend their right to say it. They have every right to say what they want. I don’t have to like it. Most of what they’re spouting are opinions. Opinions are protected speech.

    Oliver Wendell Holmes (Supreme Court Justice) said, “Offensive speech is protected speech.”

Leave a Comment