What the Ice Bucket Challenge can teach the LGBT community

The Ice Bucket Challenge—excuse to see hotties get wet or legitimate activism? (x)

The Ice Bucket Challenge—excuse to see hotties get wet or legitimate activism? (x)

Some call the Ice Bucket Challenge “hashtag activism.” Which is a legitimate critique. “Useless exercise in self esteem“ is what it may appear to be, but that’s not the bigger picture. Individually, people may be participating in this charity because it is trendy, but what’s wrong with making charity or donating money trendy?

Aside from the individual level, the big picture is that it creates a World Wide Web presence. This challenge has many participants doing it for many reasons, to call it “stupid” or “useless” is harmful. If you don’t want to do the Ice Bucket Challenge, fine. If you want to donate $1 to $100 to $1,000 to $10,000, sweet! If you want to be apathetic about the situation, just hide the article or videos.

This goes for all causes or movements coming about. For example, within the LGBT community we have people all over the nation who identify as LGBTQIA and they aren’t always able to mobilize into action (for fear of being outed, or being hurt by their immediate community and/or families), or maybe they just don’t want to. But by participating in internet activism, they can add some small part to the conversation and the movement.

Make a video of you getting dosed in water, you’ve added publicity to help X number of people; donate $100 to a nonprofit, you’ve helped raise $100 that they didn’t have; make a video or write an article about your support for the LGBTQIA community and you may save a life of a person who you probably won’t ever meet, won’t ever be thanked by or may not even know your name.

While there is a knee jerk reaction to call internet based activism or ‘hashtag’ activism, useless ‘slacktivism,’ it plays a part in a bigger movement. So when it comes to viral campaigns like the “Ice Bucket Challenge,” if you can’t say anything nice or productive, don’t say anything at all.

What do you think of the Ice Bucket Challenge and other forms of online activism? Is it “slacktivism,” or can it make real change? Let us know in the comments or submit your own opinion article. Who knows? Maybe your opinion will help create change on a larger scale.

The short URL of the present article is: http://lgbteen.org/NcYxf

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