Censorship of queer expression on “mainstream” social media platforms is nothing new.
The latest victim is an art exhibit by Conrad Kane. He’s showing his work at The Box Gallery in West Palm Beach from April 23-June 10.
Kane’s work is titled “The Untucked Cup Queen,” and shows mid-torso shots with various coverings. However, Facebook took down the promotional posts, which have since been reposted with pink dots over the areas in question. (It’s important to note the dots are not part of the work.) In a phone conversation with SFGN, Kane said the pieces are designed to challenge society’s stereotypes and morals.
The Box Gallery owner, Rolando Chang Barrero, said this is just the latest incident of queer censorship.
“Censorship is all across Facebook but it really hurts the gay community even more,” he said. “When Facebook algorithms censor us, it’s making us even more invisible and that’s a real conflict for me personally because I run a gallery. If I can’t promote the shows that I’m doing, as a civic engagement gallery, then the word doesn’t get out.”
In addition to hurting business and expression, Barrero said the real damage is the message it sends to kids.
“We’re at a time and period, at least in the state of Florida, where there’s so much negativity against gays in school, in politics, in real life. A lot is damaging.”
While this has happened before, he’s usually been able to remedy the situation with a quick note to the platform. That is not the case this time, and he still doesn’t know why.
As for Kane, he doesn’t see this as a setback, he sees opportunity.
“As soon as I saw it, I said ‘Good!’”
He believes this is an opportunity for people to explore his work and themes for themselves and realize there’s nothing to be afraid of.
As of this writing, the original pic was still banned by Facebook.
In addition to Kane, ContempO! 2022 will also feature the work of Gina White and Judy Milazzo.