Starting relations online has become so much easier in the past few years. Social media allows anyone from any country to speak with others, share ideas, and learn about different cultures and opinions. You can even join groups of like-minded people on sites like Facebook.
Although many people know the harmful sides of social media, there are also positive sides to it as well. Social media connects minority groups that do not have a community in their hometowns or countries. It is a valuable tool in allowing those who face oppression to find a connection. Here’s how.
Social Media and LGBTQ Minority Groups
In the LGBTQ community, everyone’s story of coming out, acceptance, and love is different. Some people live in areas in their country where their sexuality or gender can be seen as unnatural. Many people face prosecution in other countries simply for falling in love.
For those in the United States, many younger LGBTQ adults report feeling isolated in their community. In areas such as the Midwest and the southern United States, they report being stuck in small towns without other LGBTQ people to speak to.
For these people, finding online circles is a huge deal. Joining groups online that allow them to speak to other LGBTQ people can help them see that they’re not alone in their own community. They may even meet someone who lives close by or in the same city.
Dating apps have also been substantial to the LGBTQ community. When there are no LGBT bars or hangouts in the area, it’s hard to meet other LGBTQ people without fear of homophobia. For that reason, many LGBTQ singles go on dating apps to meet others for friendship or romance.
Social Media and Racial Minorities
The same principles apply to racial minorities online. In states in the west part of the US, many people of color find themselves alone in their communities. They may be the only Black person on their college campus or an immigrant that doesn’t speak English in a predominantly white neighborhood.
Racism is still alive in the United States. That’s why it is essential for people of color to find others in their community, even if it’s online. Many groups on sites like Facebook allow a safe place for people of color to chat about their experiences and get support. Some groups allow crowdfunding to help people of color and mothers with children get the financial support they need.
Social media is essential in allowing these groups to connect and find their culture, even if they cannot find it in their current city. It may also open up the possibility of moving and finding more racially diverse areas and countries.
Social Media and Immigrants
Immigrants may face racism, xenophobia, homophobia, and stereotypes when moving from their country to the US. When you move internationally, it is hard to find connections and make new friends, especially as an adult or someone who doesn’t speak English very well.
For those looking for community, online support groups on social media are available for immigrants from every country. You can speak in your own language, find friends, find resources, and talk about the specific social issues that come with being an immigrant in the US.
Social Media and Disabilities
When you’re someone with a disability in a small town, it can feel like you’re the only person in the world with your disability. Finding doctors that understand your case, friends who don’t look down on you, and people who understand the specific struggles you go through can feel almost impossible.
In all truth, over 60 million people in the US alone have a disability of some sort. You are not alone, and having an online community can help.
Many online groups offer spaces for those with specific disabilities to ask for advice from others who have the same disability. They provide the resources to find doctors, specialists, and new ways to handle chronic pain. There are groups for:
- People with wheelchairs and other assistive devices
- People experiencing blindness or deafness
- People with chronic illness and autoimmune conditions
- People with a mental illness
- People who are autistic
- People with disabilities affecting the body
- People experiencing cancer
You can find a group for almost anything. Rare genetic diseases even have their own groups. If you need support and aren’t finding it in your community, talking to someone who knows exactly what you’re going through is a valuable way to make connections and start relationships.
It can feel isolating to be a minority in a small community. You may think that you’re never going to find others like you. However, social media can be an excellent tool in finding and creating relationships. Even dating apps can help.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com.
With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.