Earlier this month, Elon Musk got rid of Twitter’s protections for transgender people.
It’s now totally OK for people online to bully and abuse trans folks by deadnaming and misgendering them without consequence.
In response to Twitter’s removal of transgender-specific protections, GLAAD, the LGBTQ+ media advocacy organization, criticized the company on Tuesday.
As part of its policy, Twitter quietly altered a section dealing with transgender people. The section considers a policy violation if a user repeatedly uses slurs, tropes, or other content that reinforces negative stereotypes about a protected category.
In particular, Twitter removed a phrase that described “targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals.”
A Wayback Machine scan shows Twitter removed misgendering and deadnaming from its policies on April 8, one day after clarifying its definition of targeted harassment.
In 2018, the company amended its abuse policy to explain that misgendering and deadnaming are considered violations, GLAAD noted in a statement.
According to GLAAD, these changes are another example of Twitter’s untrustworthy nature for advertisers and users.
Targeted misgendering and deadnaming are explicitly prohibited in TikTok and Pinterest’s hate and harassment policies, while Meta has stated the same for Facebook and Instagram.
They “prohibit violent or dehumanizing content directed against people who identify as LGBTQ and remove claims about someone’s gender identity upon their request,” according to Meta’s policy.
A coalition of 18 organizations, including GLAAD, called on YouTube to adopt the same hate speech policy in 2021.
GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis scorned Twitter’s rollback on Tuesday.
“Twitter’s decision to covertly roll back its longtime policy is the latest example of just how unsafe the company is for users and advertisers alike. 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,” Ellis said.
“The practice of targeted misgendering and deadnaming has been identified by the ADL and other civil society groups as a form of hate speech. Social media companies committed to maintaining safe environments for LGBTQ people should be working to improve hate speech policies, not deleting long-standing ones,” she concluded.
Amnesty International USA, GLAAD, and Human Rights Campaign surveyed LGBTQ+ Twitter users in February of this year, finding 60 percent had experienced an increase in abuse and hate speech since Musk took over as CEO. In January, users noted a marked rise in hate speech on the system.
After Elon Musk purchased the platform in October 2022, LGBTQ+ leaders expressed concern that the targeted misgendering and deadnaming policy might disappear because Musk previously posted anti-LGBTQ+ material.
This article originally appeared on Advocate.com, and is shared here as part of an LGBTQ+ community exchange between Q Voice News and Pride Media.