Instagram has today announced a slew of new features on for its platform to support the LGBTQIA+ community/communities during the auspicious Pride Month. The new features, along with a well-being guide, have been developed in association with @thequeermuslimproject, a community that  advocates for equal rights for the queer communit.

First and foremost, the company is bringing some colour to its hashtags. “We partnered with GLAAD to identify prominent, popular, and important hashtags used throughout the LGBTQIA+ community. When used in a Feed post, these hashtags will be displayed in a rainbow gradient.  Some examples include #lgbtq, #bornperfect, #equalitymatters, #accelerateacceptance, or #pride2020,” the announcement from the company read.

Next, your stories are about to be lightened up by Instagram’s newest rainbow gradient experience which has been extended to both Stories and Feed. “When used in a story, the GLAAD-identified hashtags will turn your Story ring rainbow gradient while the Story is live for 24 hours. This will roll out in a few days. ”

Prepare to express yourself in a manner never seen before, with the addition of stickers catered specifically to promote equality for the LGTBQIA+ community. “In partnership with Instagram creators, we’ve expanded our Pride sticker pack to include new stickers that highlight the LGBTQIA+ community. ”

Last but not least is the ‘Pride themed AR effect’. “For the first time ever, Instagram will be releasing a new Pride-themed AR effect including 12 LGBTQIA+ flag gradients that celebrate identities across the gender and sexuality spectrums. This initiative is the first of many to help honor the ever evolving LGBTQIA+ community.”

All of these new features are aimed to celebrate and support the LGBTQIA+ community during this month of Pride. Tara Bedi, Public Policy and Community Outreach Manager, Instagram, India“We understand the challenges and diversity of emotions that the LGBTQIA+ community faces everyday, and want our platforms to be safe spaces for them to express themselves. Especially during COVID-19, we want to help the community celebrate virtually, find support online, and stay connected with the people they love. We are thankful for the partnership with @thequeermuslimproject for their insights that helped make the well-being guide and hope everyone shows support with our newly released features.”

The Queer Muslim Project has used visual art and storytelling to promote sex-positive, affirming and intersectional representations of the communities. Rafiul Alom Rahman, founder of  @thequeermuslimprojectsaid, “The pandemic has created mental health challenges for the youth at large, but doubly so for the queer community due to the stigmas attached with their identity. Expressing themselves, but being safe online is the need of the hour and so we are excited to collaborate with Instagram, for this wellbeing guide.” 

With coronavirus coming in the way of physical rallies, social media is the only place to organise a celebration, and Instagram is doing its part to promote the cause.