Bringing the internet to marginalized populations allows for a greater and more substantial scope of conversation about oppressive issues that govern the lives of those who don’t have many opportunities to speak up.
In India, queerness is seen as something that’s “invisible.” One blogger notes that Asian society can be considered “tolerant” simply if homosexuality remains unseen. But, as Mitra and Gajjala write in Queer Blogging in Indian Digital Diasporas : A Dialogic Encounter, “with the increasing visibility (albeit still marginalized) of GLBT identities and enhanced transnational purchasing power, multicultural queer identities and groupings become visible to the mainstream.” In doing so, queer Indian bloggers are working toward achieving “equitable globalization.”
Elisabeth Jay Friedman, in The Internet and Gender Equality Advocacy, writes that “The internet’s ability to provide new spaces for expression and action helps to foster a civil society where widespread deliberation or other forms of participation matter.” She further talks about how the internet can be a primary aid for “marginalized populations” and how there should be “techno-logical literacy” for all classes, genders and races. This idea has already been instituted in Brazil, by the Committee for Democratization in Information Technology (CDI). The CDI maintains a platform of “inclusion” and teaches internet skills to marginalized communities (there are 37 of these schools in Brazil and 10 in other countries).
Jessica Lavariega Monforti & Jose Marichal, in their article “Can the Internet be a Door to Increased Latin@ and African American Participation?” write about how internet use, specifically, use of social-networking, is linked to increased interest in politics. “The ability to do information searches, send text messages, tweet, share content and other on-line skills is a central element in becoming what Evegny Morozov calls a “digital renegade” rather than a “digital captive.” The digital renegade is someone who is not sedentary, nor someone who is confined.
Creating these “digital renegades” are vital to a mobilization of marginalized communities’ presences in the world.
The internet is not only for activism. Members of the LGBTQ community can use the internet for self-care. Dr. Gieseking, in a lecture she gave for our class on trans* issues, talks about how the internet can be used to transform the body. She mentions that trans* people mostly get their knowledge about medical care from the internet, because institutional healthcare is discriminatory and sometimes incompetent (or just ignorant as to how to treat a trans* person). Websites like Trans Medicine and Transgender Care provide medical care and support.
Becoming visible by using the internet is a way of becoming empowered. Digital skills lead the oppressed on a transnational road of conversation.