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Why NFTs Are Failing To Represent LGBTQ+ People

Written by: Mustafa Mulla

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Mustafa Mulla

Mustafa has been writing about Blockchain and crypto since many years. He has previous trading experience and has been working in the Fintech industry since 2017.

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Mar 22, 2022

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There are a lot of NFT-avatars that portray gay, lesbian, bi, and trans people now. But they are rarely generating the amounts of hype compared to famous CryptoPunks or BoredApe collections.

It is not yet evident how diverse the artists are creating NFTs, but the fast-growing NFT-avatar market currently has a scarce amount of decent LGBTQ+ images.

It is challenging to mention ultra-hype LGBTQ+ NFT-avatars offhand. PrideApe Club, KissBoys, and Toxel avatars can’t be marked as visually outstanding or inventive. That gives an impression of LGBTQ+ peoples’ image being left off. But it is barely a case.

Low-quality profile pictures concerning LGBTQ+-oriented projects result from well-designed projects not needing any gay agenda to develop. Unsuccessful and poorly designed NFT-avatar projects are resorting to LGBTQ+ representation only for the sake of exploitation.

Their logic is quite simple – getting cheap publicity for an otherwise meaningless collection of images. But LGBTQ+ community would instead resort to a traditional set of avatars rather than having unpleasant profile pictures.

Clearly, exploiting the LGBT agenda cannot do all the work in promoting NFTs, primarily if it originated by sham cold math.

Still, the impression is that well-known and artistically pleasing NFTs don’t strive for LGBTQ+ representation.

Therefore, LGBTQ+ representation in the NFT world is only treated as a promotional tool, not an artistic goal.

The question of how gay can an NFT-image get is an open one. How do you know if the NFT-avatar you’ve just purchased is gay, lesbian, or has any other gender or sexual preferences?

Do visuals convey that? If they do, that will only perpetuate the stereotypes that LGBTQ+ people are surrounded with. Digital artists should not just create a profile pic of a pink-haired male and sell it as “gay representation.”

Not all lesbians have short colored haircuts, and not all gays are feminine or interested in cross-dressing. The depictions of that kind do nothing but harm LGBTQ+ people.

The solution to the issue is a videogame-ish mechanic of assigning attributes to NFT-avatars. In the recently launched project “Novatar,” whose NFTs are newborns that grow up into adults, gender and sexuality are randomly attributed features.

Holders won’t know if their “baby” will grow up to be bisexual or trans, so they will end up with an unexpected set of attributes. But again, the reflection of their sexuality outside textual attributes is dependent on visuals.

And visuals of Novatars are AI-generated, so it is possible to end up with gender-normative profile pictures whose attributes are “transsexual” and “gay.” It also might be the opposite – your NFT profile pic’s attribute might say “straight” but fully resemble a queer, trans person.

This might unhinge users who treat NFT profile pictures as their online identification rather than an investment. Nevertheless, avatars being “accidentally” gay are less noteworthy than profile pictures artistically crafted to represent the LGBTQ+ image.

The perspective might change when NFT’s sexual and gender identifications acquire depth beyond textual and visual representations.

The inexorability of this fact is growing – each day, the expansion of metaverses and NFT-games becomes more evident.

“Gender” and “Sexuality” attributes will soon come into effect when used as self-identification and communication tools in projects like “Metaverse.”

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Mustafa Mulla

Mustafa has been writing about Blockchain and crypto since many years. He has previous trading experience and has been working in the Fintech industry since 2017.

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