In the name of protecting children, YouTube’s relatively new Restricted Mode filters out a disproportionate amount of LGBT content. Restricted Mode exists purportedly to help parents block inappropriate materials from the young and impressionable. So, what sort of videos got quarantined when the setting was changed? A lot of surprisingly inoffensive stuff. YouTube promises to fix its filter — eventually — and isn't saying why it blocked queer people in the first place. (The Advocate asked and was referred to a blog post that doesn't answer the question.)
Here are a few videos that were banned initially and a lot more that inexplicably still make the bad list:
1. Her Vows
Part 2 of a reading of vows for lesbian couple Ash and Grace Hardell, this video features Grace rereading her wedding vows and Ash’s reaction. The video is one of four that YouTube admits should not have been flagged; it now shows up in Restricted Mode.
Tegan and Sara
One of the videos YouTube conceded should never have been restricted, the official music video for this Tegan and Sara song depicts a lesbian relationship playing out through a rejected proposal followed by a reconciliation. YouTube no longer blocks this video. One more down, hundreds to go.
3. Coming Out to Grandma
Calum McSwiggan reads a poem in tribute to his accepting grandmother. The YouTuber tells the tale of the first time he introduced a boyfriend to his grandmother, who then turned to her new acquaintance and said, “Then you can call me Grandma too.” The video was not viewable in Restricted Mode for a period before YouTube lifted the restriction and conceded it never should have been affected by filters.
4. Woman Interrupted During BBC Interview
Jono and Ben
A parody of the infamous “Children Interrupt BBC News Interview,” vidoe this post from LGBT vloggers Jono and Ben doesn’t even have LGBT content. It’s a G-rated humor clip that doesn’t get tense even when the mom defuses a bomb on live television. But the clip was barred in Restricted Mode before making a short list of YouTube clips the service admits were filtered in error.
5. San Diego!!!
This video shows vlogger Will Shepherd of shep689 taking a trip with husband and fellow YouTuber RJ Aguiar, visiting San Diego with a pair of straight friends. Hand-holding seems about as risqué as romantic interactions get, though there is a tiger at the zoo that might scare children, so…
6. Protect Trans Kids: A Message of Support
Human Rights Campaign
Restricted mode doesn’t ban all political content, but several HRC videos somehow get filtered out, including this message published three weeks ago encouraging protecting trans youth from Trump administration policies. Yes, youth are protected from seeing a video about protecting youth.
7. Feeling Emotional, Transgender + Life Updates
Even as YouTube enjoys an important cinematic moment with the release of the YouTube Red film This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous, the video sharing service managed to deem much of the star’s content objectionable, including this video about Gorgeous's emotions as she becomes a transgender icon. Gorgeous has posted more than 400 videos on her YouTube channel, but only three can be seen in Restricted Mode.
8. Pulse Orlando — Tribute Music Video
This Sikora Entertainment–produced montage features stills of the 49 people killed in the Pulse shooting in Orlando last June, displayed as the song “Be Your Own” by Beat the System plays in the background.
9. Wegan Getting Engaged!! Lesbian Proposal in Hawaii!!
Megan Evans and Whitney Kay Bacon, better known as YouTube supercouple Wegan, got engaged in Hawaii in 2012. A post shows Megan preparing to pop the question, and then a cameraman hides nearby to record Whitney’s affirmative response.
10. All My Life
While many of Tom Goss’s music videos do include mild sex scenes, this video consists only of Goss sitting in front of a white background singing a love song. A rather tame one at that…
11. 8 Black LGBTQ+ Trailblazers Who Inspire Me
One of YouTube’s most famous personalities also had benign content flagged. This political video pays tribute to such historic figures as Bayard Rustin and James Baldwin and highlights their role in civil rights and giving voice to queer people of color.
12. Reality of a Lesbian Relationship
Australian vlogger Chelsea Kei and her girlfriend Natalia go over the specific plusses and minuses of being in a same-sex relationship. No, nothing sexual. This video only covers things like the ability to share wardrobes or the abundance of long hair in the laundry.
13. Transition Video
While some of makeup and beauty videos on Miss Jamie-Leigh’s YouTube channel can still be viewed in Restricted Mode, this photo compilation that shows the vlogger’s transition from teenager to adult trans woman gets filtered away when the setting turns on.
14. Little Dog With Big Toy Goes Viral
This installment of The Sassy Scoop makes the controversial claim that dogs are more entertaining than cats, with gay YouTuber Josh Rimer endorsing a viral video of a dog picking out its own toy at the store. Then things get wild. Not really. This video lasts less than three minutes.
15. My Drunk Kitchen: Christmas Holiday Cake Disaster
Nearly every video on popular YouTuber Hannah Hart’s channel disappears when you turn Restricted Mode on. This includes most installments of My Drunk Kitchen. Is it the occasional swearing or free flow of wine? That fake British accent when she seeks out food coloring? That fugly Christmas cake? Something is apparently too offensive for kids here.
16. Til Lease Do Us Part
Every video posted on the LGBT and women’s channel UnsolicitedProject disappears once Restricted Mode turns on, including the full run of lesbian (and nonprofane) web series Til Lease Do Us Part.
17. Gay Questions
While vlogger Connor Franta recounts some colorful details in this video answering questions about being gay, such as what it’s like to come out in Minnesota and his first trip to a gay club, the topics never veer toward the sexual or the obscene, nor does any content on this largely family-friendly channel.
18. 10 Things You Need to Know About Transgender People
While most of TLC star Jazz Jennings's YouTube clips are left untouched, somehow this instructional video on transgender sensitivity manages to earn a ban once Restricted Mode goes on. Advice like “If you're not sure what pronoun to use, just ask” is a step too far, apparently.
19. All My Insecurities
This video from trans YouTuber Chloe Arden checks through a list of personal insecurities, involving such matters as her complexion, her height, and her estrogen levels. A largely confessional video, it seeks to remind people struggling with their identity that even a celebrated vlogger feels imperfect much of the time.