transfer 25(1) » Rezeptions- und Wirkungsforschung

Hate Leads to Suffer? The Impacts of Online Hate Speech on LGBTQ Community

A Qualitative Research Based on Chinese LGBTQ Community

The problem of online hate speech has been long-standing. With the popularization of social media and mobile Internet, the breeding ground for online hate speech is expanding, and the number of people subjected to hate speech is growing. However, there are still relatively few studies regarding the potential impacts of online hate speech on the LGBTQ community. Therefore, this thesis tried to fill this gap. Based on the Three-phase Crisis Reaction Model, this thesis focused on three sections: a) emotional reactions; b) cognitive and attitudinal reactions; and c) behavioral reactions.

Nine Chinese LGBTQ members were invited to the qualitative interviews. The results indicate that online hate speech directed at the LGBTQ community can result in considerable negative emotional impacts. However, these emotions are generally short-term and reversible. It would not cause severe adverse effects on mental health or self-esteem. Also, hate speech will not negatively affect their identity or cause serious negative attitudes towards the non-LGBTQ community. Meanwhile, some of the participants indicated that they would enhance their identification with the LGBTQ group because they treat hate speech as a trigger that makes them aware of their responsibility to fight against this negative social environment. They need to identify themselves in the LGBTQ community first, and then take themselves as a medium to promote the improvement of the circumstance of the LGBTQ community. This tendency of pro-social behaviors can also be reflected in behavioral level: participants would post or repost pro-LGBTQ content online, also, they would be more willing or had already participated more in LGBTQ activities or even hosted some activities to promote LGBTQ rights.