Transgender content creator Stef Sanjati has opened up about having her videos restricted or demonetized because she talks about trans issues.
In an interview with Youth Radio, Sanjati revealed that some 20% of her videos are put in restricted mode, a “kid-friendly” mode that limits their viewership solely to users who are logged in. And roughly 10% of her videos are demonetized completely, meaning she makes no ad revenue off of her content whatsoever.
“I tend to experience demonetization for things that cisgender people typically wouldn’t,” she said. “And I don’t have it that bad. A lot of other channels that are more specifically about sex ed get demonetized a lot more than I do.”
She added that YouTube—and Google, the company that owns the site—have failed to keep content creators in the loop: “There’s been no clarification of whether or not it’s been fixed and they haven’t really been very communicative with their creators on the platform. I’m still experiencing demonetization on videos that discuss sexuality.”
Sanjati is far from the first LGBT YouTuber to complain about censorship: For more than a year, queer YouTubers have opened up about losing ad revenue to restricted mode or demonetization.
Last April, YouTube officials claimed to have fixed the issue—but it wasn’t enough for some LGBT content creators, including Steph Frosch (ElloSteph), who left the site because of her struggles with demonetization.
Other YouTubers, like Steve Boebi, who hosts a lesbian sex ed series, have called out the company directly for unjustifiably censoring their content:
Hi @youtube please define 'vulgar' language. Make it racist and homophobic shit only plz
— Stevie (@stevieboebi) September 1, 2016
It’s more than a personal loss, adds queer content creator NeonFiona. Many times, LGBT videos are educational and geared toward younger audiences, who might be exploring their sexuality or gender identity.
“Kids who want to know about different orientations and definitions and about the history of LGBT people… can’t access that when [these] videos are being restricted,” NeonFiona told Gizmodo last March. “Restricting these videos makes it harder for these kids to find information they need and the community that they’ve been missing.”