Creators Are Forcing YouTube’s LGBTQ Problem Out into the Open

A new lawsuit laid by eight prominent creators is laying YouTube’s issues around the LGBTQ community bare

Chris Stokel-Walker
FFWD
Published in
5 min readAug 14, 2019

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Photo: Christian Weidiger/Unsplash

When Chase Ross picked up the phone to a YouTube representative a little over a year ago, he wasn’t hopeful for the future. The creator, who had top surgery as part of a transition from female to male five years beforehand, had been embroiled in a dispute with YouTube, whose algorithm he claimed was discriminating against trans people. (I interviewed Ross for The Daily Beast around that time.)

The representative invited him to YouTube’s offices in San Francisco. Right after VidCon, Ross paid YouTube a visit.

Ross can’t talk about the exact terms of his visit, as he was made to sign a non-disclosure agreement as part of the visit. But he says he met with YouTube higher-ups, including an employee who deals with YouTube’s algorithm.

“I did meet some pretty high up people, did some video conferencing and it did make me feel important,” says Ross. “But I also felt like they were just trying to reassure me things can change, it just takes a lot of time for things to change.”

Chase Ross has waited more than a year for change. And he hasn’t seen it. So he’s suing YouTube.

Ross is one of eight creators named as plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed August 13th in the Northern California District Court, claiming YouTube is engaged in “discriminatory, anticompetitive, and unlawful conduct that harms a protected class of persons under California law”.

He didn’t intend on being part of a lawsuit until the duo behind GlitterBombTV, Chris Knight and Celso Dulay, got in touch with him. They’d seen his campaign against YouTube last year — where Ross alleged that the platform demonetized any of his videos containing the word “trans” — and wanted him to join with others in suing the platform.

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Chris Stokel-Walker
FFWD
Editor for

UK-based freelancer for The Guardian, The Economist, BuzzFeed News, the BBC and more. Tell me your story, or get me to write for you: stokel@gmail.com