Twitter has banned the misgendering and deadnaming of transgender people, earning it widespread praise from trans users and their allies.
The social media platform updated its terms of service on this matter in October, but it was not widely reported until last Friday, Pink News notes. Twitter made the move in an effort to stop anti-trans abuse, which often involves using the wrong gender or old name in describing a trans person. Misgendering and deadnaming are sometimes used to out people as transgender, something that can put them at risk of physical harm.
“We prohibit targeting individuals with repeated slurs, tropes or other content that intends to dehumanize, degrade or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected category,” Twitter states in its updated terms of service. “This includes targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals.”
Penalties for violating the policy vary according to the severity of the violation and a user’s previous conduct. For a first offense, for example, a user may have to remove the content and be barred from tweeting for a limited period. But severe or multiple offenses can result in the permanent suspension of the account, according to the terms of service.
The update to the terms of service also recognizes that LGBTQ people are at particularly high risk for abuse. “Research has shown that some groups of people are disproportionately targeted with abuse online,” it reads. “This includes; women, people of color, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual individuals, marginalized and historically underrepresented communities. For those who identify with multiple underrepresented groups, abuse may be more common, more severe in nature and have a higher impact on those targeted.”
The National Center for Transgender Equality praised the update in this statement to The Advocate: “The policy is a great step forward for inclusivity and safety online. We’re glad to see Twitter take responsibility for ensuring all people can find community on their platforms.”
Also, trans people and allies quickly tweeted support for the new policy, although some were skeptical that it would be enforced. A few right-wingers, however, denounced it.
Excellent news everyone: Twitter has finally updated their TOS such that misgendering/deadnaming a trans person is against the site's rules. Happy hunting. https://t.co/BTN56rWqp6
— Holden Shearer (@HoldenShearer) November 23, 2018
Good, now actually enforce it https://t.co/rQ0NWiF06D
— Zinnia: Adult Transhuman Female (@ZJemptv) November 24, 2018
holy shit, this is awesome and a huge step forward (assuming they actually enforce it, which I'm not holding my breath over but am keeping my fingers crossed for): looks like twitter banned misgendering and deadnaming trans users!! took them long enough!! https://t.co/zoD4ogmHOs pic.twitter.com/7rRVnPDQkI
— AJ Sacher (@AJSacher) November 24, 2018
Misgendering or deadnaming a trans or non-binary person can now get you reported to twitter. It has taken twitter far too long to reach this but I’m glad that recognition of transphobic online bullying, harassment, and abuse is gaining momentum.
Turn off the mic on transphobia. https://t.co/FNpUccS2DF
— s_golightley (@s_golightley) November 25, 2018
Great news. All social media should follow Twitter’s lead.https://t.co/tNgDIm4kCr
— Wayne Besen (@WayneBesen) November 24, 2018
And an example from the transphobic right:
So Twitter is now banning people for stating the basic scientific fact that men are men and women are women, and that men cannot become women simply by thinking themselves so. Twitter vs. reality. https://t.co/Ur6ap8zNUN
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) November 25, 2018