Twitter removes guidelines intended to safeguard transgender app users.

Ultimately, it is up to social media companies like Twitter to ensure that their platforms are safe and inclusive spaces for all users, including those from marginalized communities

Ridha Fathima
Ridha Fathima April 19, 2023
Updated 2023/04/19 at 8:48 AM
Twitter's long-standing policy previously prohibited users from targeting transgender people by misgendering them or calling them by their old name after they had adopted a new name as part of their gender transition.

Twitter recently announced that it is removing policies designed to protect transgender users from hateful or harmful content on the app. The move has sparked outrage among the LGBTQ+ community and advocates for transgender rights, who argue that it will lead to increased discrimination and abuse. The policies in question were put in place in 2018 and aimed to prohibit users from deliberately misgendering or deadnaming transgender individuals on the platform. Deadnaming is the act of using a transgender person’s birth name, which can be deeply hurtful and invalidate their gender identity. Misgendering involves using incorrect pronouns or other gendered language to refer to someone who identifies as a different gender.

These rules were an important step towards making Twitter a safer and more inclusive space for transgender users, who are disproportionately targeted with online harassment and abuse. By prohibiting deliberate misgendering and deadnaming, Twitter was sending a clear message that this kind of behavior would not be tolerated on its platform. However, in a recent blog post, Twitter announced that it would be revising its policies to focus more on “promoting free expression” and less on “restricting speech.” The post stated that the company had received feedback that the old policies were too broad and could be used to silence legitimate debate or criticism. While it is certainly important to protect free speech and allow for robust debate on social media, it should not come at the expense of vulnerable communities. Transgender people already face significant barriers to equality and acceptance in our society, and online harassment and abuse only compounds these challenges. Removing policies designed to protect transgender users sends a harmful message that their identities and experiences are not valid or worthy of protection. It also gives a green light to those who wish to engage in hateful or discriminatory behavior towards transgender individuals, effectively emboldening them to do so without consequence. Moreover, it is important to note that the revised policies still prohibit hateful conduct and abusive behavior, including targeted harassment or inciting violence. However, without specific protections for transgender users, these policies may be less effective in practice.


In response to the announcement, many LGBTQ+ advocates and organizations have spoken out against Twitter’s decision. GLAAD, a media advocacy organization for LGBTQ+ people, released a statement condemning the move and calling on Twitter to reconsider its position. Transgender activist and writer Charlotte Clymer tweeted, “This is a reckless and irresponsible move by Twitter, and it will lead to trans people facing even more harassment and abuse on the platform.” Ultimately, it is up to social media companies like Twitter to ensure that their platforms are safe and inclusive spaces for all users, including those from marginalized communities. While promoting free expression is important, it cannot come at the expense of vulnerable individuals who already face significant barriers to acceptance and equality. Twitter must listen to the concerns of the LGBTQ+ community and prioritize the safety and well-being of transgender users on its platform. This means reinstating policies that specifically protect against misgendering and deadnaming, as well as taking concrete steps to address and prevent online harassment and abuse towards transgender individuals.

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