Phaylen Fairchild

Jan 31, 2019

3 min read

Twitter Declines To Enforce Own Safety Guidelines When Trans Women Are the Targets

In 2017, Twitter, the popular social media platform boasting 261 million users worldwide announced new guidelines to ensure the safety of its accoount holders from targeted harassment, bullying and incited violence. Although they’ve claimed to crack down on misgendering trans users, we’ve seen little change. In fact, it has been demonstrated repeatedly that these protections ensconced in their guidelines do not apply to the transgender community, nor are they enforced on behalf of us.

Even more disturbing is how Twitter actually did a full pivot on their own rule set which states:

Instead of protecting transgender users who are frequently targeted by religious extremists, bigots and trans exclusionary radical feminists, they started banning transgender folks instead.

Why? For using the word “TERF” — and acronym for the aforementioned Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist- which is a moniker given to those who do not believe that transgender women should be included in the feminist movement, nor will they acknowledge them as women at all. Often, TERFs use social media to organize malicious attacks, especially on higher profile transgender women, misgendering them, harassing them while provoking their followers to do the same. They believe transgender women are men and claim they pose a threat to women and children everywhere despite having absolutely nothing to substantiate this malformed logic except their own, deeply ingrained hatred.

While trans women who use Twitter have had to compromise their own comfort and emotional health to use the platform due to the relentless hysteria they’re met with every time they log in, more often than not, when trying to defend themselves, they end up being the one put in Twitter’s proverbial time-out, not their attackers.

While transgender individuals and their allies are finding themselves hit with a ban for using the term TERF, those to whom the term applies are still rampaging across the platform using it to aggregate audiences of anti-trans support.

When a report is made over a tweet or, in most cases, entire accounts devoted to anti-trans vitriol designed to intentionally mislead the public, peddle dangerous misinformation and prejudices that provokes violence towards the trans community, this is typically Twitter’s response:

To be clear, free speech is not hate speech. While we are constitutionally guaranteed our right to our opinions, belief systems and cultural/political alignments, all too often, anti-trans activists leveraging social meddia ultimately turn it into a battlefield for trans people on the platform who are subjected to antagonistic actors simply for being there- simply for existing in the space.

This, in spite of Twitter’s own declaration that targeted harassment or abuse of an individual or group is against its rules. Indeed, Twitter is complicit in the mobilizing of TERFs and other hate groups or accounts whose sole purpose is to promote aggression toward transgender people as well as provoke others to do the same.

Twitter has, in the past, already demonstrated that they are not an ally, but a platform that permits hate-speech and bullying while punishing trans folks who either report, or those who have the audacity to fight back.

Actor, Filmmaker, LGBTQ+ & Women’s Rights Activist All work copyright

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