In the age of “new media,” LGBTQ elected officials and movement leaders are harnessing the power of technology to give a platform to LGBTQ issues and issues affecting the communities they represent.
On Twitter, public figures and ordinary users alike are expressing their views, opinions, and critiques in what are generally known as “threads.” In these threads, Twitter users reply to themselves over and over again resulting in a readable, long chain of talking points typically with sources attached. Popular threads are then subsequently retweeted, in some cases thousands of times, allowing the original thread to spread far and wide allowing people from across the globe to read, engage, and discuss. Often, threads emerge in response to a current event or to examine a timely topic. Other social media platforms like Facebook allow LGBTQ elected officials to engage with their constituents and keep them updated about their work in government and their lives as members of the community.
LaWana Mayfield, City Councilwoman from Charlotte, NC and Brian Sims, Pennsylvania State Representative, are two prime examples of LGBTQ elected officials using their public profiles to spark conversation and bring legislative issues to the community at large. Representative Sims is known for using his substantial online presence to uplift LGTBQ voices and issues facing the Pennsylvania legislature. As Representative Sims explained during Victory Institute’s 2016 International LGBT Leaders Conference – social media can be an incredibly useful way to engage with the world and advocate on behalf of issues that affect the community.
Councilwoman Mayfield has recently sparked lively debate via her twitter post aimed at President Trump. Whether or not people agree with the Councilwoman’s statement, it spurred conversation and engaged her followers to debate the current political climate and how it affects their everyday lives.
As always, Victory Institute is looking for new and innovative ways to help LGBTQ leaders continue to be advocates for change and to harness new developments in media and technology for the betterment of our communities. This year’s International LGBTQ Leaders Conference will re-visit the topic of harnessing new media to engage with constituents and community, to ensure that our leaders have cutting-edge tools to create change.