GENERATIONAL DIFFERENCES IN SOCIAL MEDIA USE, GENDER IDENTITY, AND SEXUALITY AMONG YOUNG LGBTIQ+ PEOPLE IN AUSTRALIA
Keywords:LGBTIQ , social media, gender, sexuality, hook-up apps
For LGBTIQ+ people, the internet and social media are key channels for communicating and connecting with queer peers, and learning about queer life and queer experiences. While digital social spaces have evolved over the past 20 to 30 years, many of the motivations for using these platforms remain the same. This paper draws on data from the Scrolling Beyond Binaries study, centred on a national Australian survey of 1,304 young LGBTIQ+ people. We present key findings from the study examining generational differences across our four age cohorts of our young respondents: 16–20, 21–25, 26–30 and 30–35. Even among this group of young people, we find stark differences by age in self-identification related to gender and sexuality, and also patterns of difference in the social media platforms they use. Our younger respondents identify with much more fluid forms of gender and sexuality, and also tend to favour dating and hook-up apps that are more inclusive. We seek to foreground the ways in which the internet continues to be significant for our respondents for social connection and learning. We also add to our understandings of the complex and evolving ways in which young LGBTIQ+ people use and thus (re)produce digital social spaces, returning to Nina Wakeford’s (2000 ) consideration of ‘cyberqueer spaces’.