Source: Getty Images

Instagram Blacks Out Image of Same-Sex Dads and Their Newborn

Kilian Melloy READ TIME: 2 MIN.

Instagram blacked out an image of a same-sex family showing two fathers and their newborn baby, labeling the image "graphic" and "Sensitive Content" that "some people might find upsetting," Metro Weekly reported.

"Men Having Babies, a nonprofit that assists gay men in building families by pursuing surrogacy options, posted the image to promote an educational conference in Berlin in April," Metro Weekly detailed.

Text posted with the family photo reads, "Men Having Babies is coming to central Europe to provide you with unbiased and objective information about becoming fathers with the Parenting Options for European Gay Men Conference, April 26-28 in Berlin:".

Metro Weekly recounted that "soon after the picture was posted, Instagram censored it with a black message screen that forced users to click to view the image."

The "Sensitive Content" warning was followed by "an error message," at which point the sweet family photo "could no longer be viewed at all," the article added.

The post was ultimately restored, with no warnings or blackout screen. In response to Metro Weekly's inquiry, Meta said, "We apologize as this post was labeled mistakenly and has since been corrected."

The image depicts an actual family, with same-sex couple Sam and David seen with their newborn, named Jude, who was carried by a surrogate mother.

"The two fathers are seen nuzzling Jude with one father kissing the baby's head," Metro Weekly described. "There is no graphic, violent, or sexual content in the image."

LGBTQ Nation reached out for comment to the head of Men Having Babies, Ron Poole-Dayan, who told the publication, "People don't see us as natural parents," Poole-Dayan said.

Metro Weekly took note of the longstanding slander deployed by anti-LGBTQ+ forces that claims gay men "recruit" children or "groom" them for sexual abuse.

The baseless claim dates back decades, with Anita Bryant having made such assertions in the 1970s and an infamous 1961 filmstrip titled "Boys Beware" dramatizing the narrative that gay men sexually prey on underage boys.

More recently – and especially since the implementation of Florida's "Don't Say Gay" law –  anti-LGBTQ+ conservatives have leaned into the narrative once again, branding drag entertainers, equality advocates, and even out LGBTQ youth as "groomers."

No details were forthcoming from Meta as to why the image was blacked out or whether it was human judgment or AI that obscured – and then temporarily removed – the post, but Poole-Dayan offered another theory as to the cause for the content warning. With some countries forbidding surrogacy, it might have been the reproductive strategy itself – rather than the presumed sexuality of the two fathers – that triggered the content warning.

by Kilian Melloy , EDGE Staff Reporter

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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