Executives at Twitter have decided it’s time to bar people from “misgendering” or “deadnaming” those in the transgender community.
“Misgendering” is the practice of referring to an individual with the pronouns — he, she — that do not correlate with said person’s chosen gender identity, such as calling Caitlyn Jenner (formerly Bruce Jenner) “he” instead of “she.”
“Deadnaming” is when someone uses a transgender person’s former name, like Bruce, instead of their new name, like Caitlyn.
Twitter updated its “hateful conduct policy” to ban such blunders in late October, though the rule is just now garnering national attention.
The policy reads, in part:
We prohibit targeting individuals with repeated slurs, tropes or other content that intends to dehumanise, degrade or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected category. This includes targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals.
Depending on the severity of the offense, Twitter has reserved the right to ask the offending user to remove the content in question and/or serve a period of time in read-only mode before being allowed to tweet again. Subsequent violations can result in extended periods of time in read-only mode or permanent suspension from Twitter.
Some of the network’s users were quick to praise the policy change:
About time! @Twitter should be a safe space for everyone https://t.co/TArviRcZpX
— Paris Lees (@parislees) November 24, 2018
This is a great move from @Twitter. I'm really glad they've done this. I hope they ban Nazis next. https://t.co/ZxgiU0D9Tq
— Asher Huey (@asherhuey) November 26, 2018
More moves from Twitter to make its platform a more positive place https://t.co/5RJ7vtdSTK
— Chris Fox (@thisisFoxx) November 24, 2018
Others criticized it:
Sexual dimorphism is the basis of human reproduction, is fundamental to scientific understanding of health, and is not subjective. Twitter can fight science, but as the Catholic Church learned with regard to the earth-centric universe, it doesn’t go well.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) November 25, 2018
Does this mean @Twitter is prepared to ban people who correctly observe that men are not women? Are Catholicism, Judaism, certain branches of Protestantism, and science now forbidden on Twitter? https://t.co/q4Vsek5wjg
— Michael Knowles (@michaeljknowles) November 25, 2018
Twitter rationalized the rules change by explaining its research has shown “some groups of people are disproportionately targeted with abuse online.” Those groups include “women, people of color, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual individuals, marginalized and historically underrepresented communities.”
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News of the policy came the same week as the Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day to remember those whose murders have been linked to their gender identity. The memorial day was founded in 1999.