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19 Apr, 2023
2 min time to read

Twitter no longer prohibits targeted deadnaming or misgendering of transgender people in its updated content moderation guidelines regarding hateful content.

Twitter had implemented a policy in 2018 that clearly stated that repeatedly and purposefully referring to a transgender person using the wrong name or pronouns was a violation of its rules. This policy was a significant step towards creating a safer and more inclusive space for transgender individuals on the platform.

However, GLAAD, an LGBTQ+ advocacy organization, recently discovered an unannounced change made to the "Slurs and Tropes" subsection of the policy in early April. The line that previously read "This includes targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals" was removed, while the rest of the webpage remained unchanged.

The removal of this clause, which explicitly protected trans individuals, is part of a larger trend in which Twitter has become more hostile towards LGBTQ+ individuals. Despite still having guidelines that prohibit attacks based on gender, gender identity, or sexuality, the platform's rollback of protections for trans individuals is concerning.

Since Elon Musk took over, Twitter has disbanded its Trust and Safety council, which was responsible for developing and enforcing policies that protect users from harm, and reinstated the accounts of previously banned users, such as author Jordan Peterson and conservative satire outlet The Babylon Bee, both of which were sanctioned for targeted harassment of transgender people.

In addition to these changes, a report from GLAAD and Media Matters showed that since Musk's takeover, usage of the anti-LGBTQ+ "groomer" slur has increased on the platform. The use of such language can have severe consequences for LGBTQ+ people, who are already more likely to experience discrimination and violence in the real world.

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis expressed concern over Twitter's recent changes, stating that "This decision to roll back LGBTQ safety pulls Twitter even more out of step with TikTok, Pinterest, and Meta, which all maintain similar policies to protect their transgender users at a time when anti-transgender rhetoric online is leading to real world discrimination and violence."

Twitter's decision to remove explicit protection for trans individuals is worrisome, and the platform must take steps to address the concerns raised by GLAAD and other organizations. It's essential that social media platforms do more to create safe spaces for marginalized communities and prevent the spread of harmful content.