Martin Shkreli has given the LGBT community another reason to despise him.
The pharmaceutical executive, who rose to infamy by hiking the price of a drug used for an AIDS-related condition by more than 5,000 percent, is now promoting "clovergender," an identity concocted by trolls to mock LGBT people.
Before his Twitter account was suspended for harassing a Teen Vogue writer, Shkreli urged his followers January 4 to "please spread clovergender awareness." The term, which has sprung up on several social media accounts early this year, appeared to be used by adult individuals claiming to be "a child trapped in a man's body who is attracted to other children."
However, "clovergender" is a hoax. Snopes debunked it, tracing the birth of "clovergender" and this definition, which ridicules the identity of transgender and gender-nonbinary people, to a 4chan thread from December 31.
"We're creating a new gender to trolls SJWs with," posted an anonymous user, in a reference to "social justice warriors." They then coined "clovergender" and ascribed fake preferred pronouns like "cl / clir /climself."
"We will be trolling on Tumblr and Facebook," the user stated. Another replied, "I see potential in this."
After gaining momentum on the message boards of 4chan and Reddit, the term did indeed find its way to broader social media. A new Facebook page claimed to be created in response to "the horrible pain and backlash somee [sic] Clovergender people receive. We are against that. We think a kid should do what he wants."
The account's profile picture is a green gender symbol, which combines both male and female sex signs. A four-leaf clover is placed in the center. The page itself, while advocating for pedophilia, is filled with memes that mimic language used by activists to reduce stigma against the LGBT community.
[facebook https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fclovergender%2Fposts%2F150746982079775&width=500 expand=1 site_id=25879312]
Several Twitter accounts, which follow and retweet LGBT outlets and influencers, are also attempting to intertwine the fake cause with the real-life movement. At least one has attributed Shkreli's Twitter ban to clovergender discrimination.
The ruse duped some folks on social media, who reacted with disgust to the "clovergender" community.
The myth of the sexual predator has dogged the LGBT community since time immemorial. The call for "bathroom bills," which prohibit transgender people from using restrooms that correspond with their gender identity, is the most recent example of how conservatives are painting queer people as perverts. "Clovergender," if it perpetuates, will only continue to stoke these mistruths and biases.