LOS ANGELES – At the first PRIDE Summit celebrating the influence of the LGBTQ+ community in music, media and entertainment Thursday, African-American transgender woman Shea Diamond said it’s time to move beyond being “not female enough not male enough.”
During the emerging artists panel, the 41-year-old singer said her pronoun of choice is goddess.
“Goddesses give power to kings and queens,” she said. “(I am) not bound by this thing they’ve controlled for so long, not female enough not male enough. I’m beyond that. I’m a goddess.”
The summit consisted of panels at which celebrities, activists and others discussed topics ranging from inclusion and representation to issues facing the entertainment industry around homophobia.
“This community is important to us, the industry and the world,” said Deanna Brown, president of Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group, the host of the event.
Diamond signed with Asylum Records and her debut album “Seen It All” was released in June. But Diamond says the exposure isn’t enough.
“Stop hiding us in the pages (of magazines),” she said. “We’ve worked hard enough to be on the cover of that magazine.”
Hannah Hart, Eugene Lee Yang and Miles McKenna, speaking at a digital content creator panel, said censorship and media portrayals of the community are problems. When asked about digital content versus mainstream content, Hannah Hart, a queer woman with over 2.4 million subscribers on YouTube, said journalists need to do better.
“I don’t see much positive media coverage of independent creators. There’s no discovery through journalism anymore … they’re just reflections of the top,” said Hart. Instead of separating media platforms, Hart said, there should be an effort to “find the similarities more than the differences.”
Yang recently came out on his YouTube channel to 13 million views. He said that the LGBTQ+ community needs to be vocal and “enact the tools and the power we have at our disposal which are these digital platforms.”
McKenna, a transgender man and YouTuber with more than 1.1 million subscribers, said platforms such as Instagram and Tinder are censoring various trans people, such as transgender men. When they post their top surgeries in celebration of their identity, the posts are flagged or taken down, he said. “We all have internalized transphobia and homophobia,” said McKenna.
A spokesperson for Facebook/Instagram said the company celebrates the LGBTQ+ community. “We actively celebrate Instagram’s vibrant LGBTQ+ community and we want to empower queer expression on our platform. It is never our intention to silence members of our community.”
McKenna says YouTube is a place where creators can be raw and honest. It provides a space where people are given the proper language to communicate how they feel.
“When there are no chains and expectations of who we have to be, then we’ll see these amazing rainbows in our community,” said Diamond.