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Be an upstander – not a bystander

If you witness adult cyber abuse or online hate, don’t just let it slide.

There are many ways you can take action to support others in the LGBTIQ+ community online – go from being a bystander to an upstander. Depending on your style and what you feel confident doing, helping others could be as easy as sending a direct message to make sure they’re OK. If it feels safe and right, you might even step up and call out the bad stuff online.

‘My friend tweeted to their 6000+ followers that LGBTIQ+ couples had the right to define their own concept of marriage and shouldn’t be expected to behave in the same way that cisgender heterosexual couples do.’

‘Their Twitter feed was flooded with abusive comments and horrible insults. I was amazed at how mean people could be. My poor friend was really being trolled and I was worried about them, so I sent a message to offer my support and suggested that they avoid engaging with trolls. They really appreciated it.’ – Georgia*

What to do

  • Direct message the person, if you know them, to show your support. Message your friend to make sure they’re OK and remind them how awesome they are. Even a simple message can go a long way and make your friend feel like they have support and are not alone.
  • Report it. You can report abusive behaviour online, even if you are not the target of the abuse. Use The eSafety Guide to help you report abusive posts, messages, images or videos to apps and online services.
  • Speak up or show you disagree with disrespectful behaviour online. If you feel confident and safe, stand up to the person being abusive, and make it clear that what they’re doing is wrong. It can be tricky doing this without getting too involved, but sometimes just commenting *Thumbs down emoji*, or your negative emoji of choice, or saying something like ‘NOT COOL’ on a mean post can get your point across.

Young LGBTIQ+ people can find more advice about building a safer and more inclusive online community in our Young people section.

*The personal stories quoted here are real accounts taken from our community engagement sessions, only the names have been changed.

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Last updated: 20/10/2023