Twitter’s recent update to its Terms of Service has sparked controversy among transgender activists. The social media platform removed restrictions on “misgendering” and “dead-naming” individuals with gender dysphoria, allowing users to refer to transgender individuals by their biological sex and birth name without facing penalties.
The update is seen as a move toward “Freedom of Speech, Not Reach,” as it allows users to express themselves without fear of being censored or banned for using proper grammar to refer to transgender individuals. Users who used the given name of trans activists were also penalized, prior to the updated rule.
However, trans activists have argued that the move will lead to discrimination and violence against the trans community. Sarah Kate Ellis, CEO of GLAAD, spoke out against the decision, emphasizing how “unsafe” Twitter is.
“Twitter’s recent update to its Terms of Service has sparked a debate around freedom of speech and transgender rights. The social media giant removed restrictions on “misgendering” and “dead-naming” individuals with gender dysphoria, allowing users to refer to transgender individuals by their biological sex and birth name without facing penalties,” she stated.
Other activists on Twitter, including professional activist Alejandra Caraballo, have also criticized the move, with some calling it a step backward for LGBTQ rights.
“Twitter lifts its policy on targeted misgendering and deadnaming and the freaks are out gleefully misgendering and deadnaming every prominent trans person as an achievement. It’s not about speech, it’s about bullies wanting to harass people because of who they are,” Caraballo wrote.
On the other hand, supporters of the move maintain that it is a necessary step towards protecting free speech on the platform. Twitter CEO Elon Musk has been a vocal critic of the pervasive promotion of “preferred pronouns,” calling it “virtue-signaling.”
He recently commented on the issue saying, “Pronouns are virtue-signaling, so inevitably, as with all virtue-signaling, they will be used as a shield by bad humans.”
“In any event, good manners require using the person’s name, not their pronoun, when referring to them,” he added.