Now, when you think of problematic social media platforms, what comes to mind? Instagram? Definitely. Twitter? Yeah, add that to the list. Facebook? 100 percent, but the one platform that you might not think of is LinkedIn - the hub of white-collar wannabes hoping to find a job, some advice or just connect with other like-minded "professionals."
But this is where you're wrong. Just like those other platforms I mentioned, LinkedIn also consists of ignorance and judgment. Those who claim to be "moving with the world" get caught up in their own archaic values and whether it's intentional or not, those said values cause pain to others. And this is where Justin Sedgwick's story comes in.
Justin plucked up the courage to finally come out as gay at his prom by wearing a black off-the-shoulder dress. He received a positive reaction from his teachers and his fellow peers, but it was only when his mom decided to share some snapshots of him online, things took a turn for the worst.
Jade Scotney, Justin's proud mom wanted to make sure the whole world knew about her sixteen-year-old son's strength and courage and she also just wanted to show off how gorgeous he looked in his black number, but of course, people had to go and ruin the momentous occasion. While she said that most people at the prom, which took place at the Solent Hotel and Spa, were "welcoming and accepting", people online were not.
After posting some pictures of her son on LinkedIn, Jade was shocked to find that, by the morning, the post had been removed and her profile was blocked.
At my prom night! Extremely fucking nervous about the dress (and also loud music and crowds) but holy shit everyone is complimenting me I am extremely happy pic.twitter.com/CyFg36LStO
— Justin Sedgwick (@sedgwick_justin) July 22, 2021
Even though LinkedIn has since apologized and reinstated both the post and the profile, the thirty-four-year-old mom said that it was a "disappointing" experience to have to endure.
"It's disappointing really, it's crazy to think you've got all these kids who have just been so welcoming and accepting, and not batted an eyelid. And then adults online are getting offended by it and reporting the post and getting it shut down."
She continued: "I posted that evening before we went and by the next morning, I noticed it had been removed and my profile had been blocked. They [LinkedIn] have apologized now, but they have not said why they took the post down."
Justin, who has autism, also had some words of his own to say about it all.
"I was disappointed when I heard it was taken down, just because someone doesn't like it doesn't mean that no one should see it. People need to accept it, whether they like it or not."
Regardless though, Justin said he had an amazing time at his prom.
"It was around about this time last year that I started getting into cross-dressing because I thought it was fun," he explained. "And when it came to my prom, I thought, 'I'm just going to wear a dress.' I thought it would be great to show everyone that I can do that and show that I'm not afraid of being myself."
He added: "I was definitely nervous about it, in the weeks leading up to the whole event, I kept thinking 'what if someone says something?', I thought that some people were going to be quite negative about it or be weirded out by it. But that wasn't the case, it was overwhelmingly positive, the staff and pupils were really complimentary, and it made me feel really welcome.
"I was a bit surprised, but it was absolutely wonderful to see that people were accepting me."
Well, I for one, think you looked amazing Justin. Keep being you.