X/Twitter has ‘quietly restored’ a ban on misgendering and deadnaming trans people

Ten months ago, in April 2023, Elon Musk’s X platform – formerly Twitter – rolled back a vital policy protecting transgender users from misgendering and deadnaming in a move that was widely condemned.

The move meant that X immediately fell behind other social media companies including TikTok and Pinterest, which have both explicitly banned misgendering, deadnaming, misogyny and the promotion of ‘conversion therapy’ practices.

This unpopular decision seemed to come about decision came after Elon Musk suggested that his own tweets might violate the 2018 policy, so the rule was quietly dropped. Now, it seems that X just as quietly reinstated the original policy – back in January 2024.

Ars Technica reports that, in a section labeled “Use of Prior Names and Pronouns,” X’s updated policy confirms that X will “reduce the visibility of posts that purposefully use different pronouns to address someone other than what that person uses for themselves, or that use a previous name that someone no longer goes by as part of their transition.”

LGBTQ+ journalist Ari Drennen picked up the report, tweeting it to her followers and writing, “Don’t look now but X (formerly Twitter) quietly restored their ban on misgendering and deadnaming trans people – as long as it’s reported by the target.”

Don’t look now but X (formerly Twitter) quietly restored their ban on misgendering and deadnaming trans people – as long as it’s reported by the target. pic.twitter.com/RFykoB9gg9

— Ari Drennen (@AriDrennen) February 29, 2024

The policy reinstatement comes in the wake of multiple high-profile LGBTQ+ organisations and individuals quitting X, citing a rise in anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-trans “hate and vitriol” on the platform.

X users responded to news of the change, with one person tweeting, “Had to go look for myself. It says January 2024. So very quietly putting it back. I just got a violation for using the word cis. Unbelievable.”

Another person added, “Someone either read enough to widen their perspective or the company was going to get hit with litigation. We will never know unfortunately.”

Whether this change will have any impact on the overall safety of LGBTQ+ people using the platform remains to be seen – it’s also not clear whether any LGBTQ+ organisations who have quit the platform will return.

Non-profit LGBTQ+ suicide prevention organisation The Trevor Project announced its official departure from X in November 2023, saying, “LGBTQ+ young people are regularly victimised at the expense of their mental health and X’s removal of certain moderation functions makes it more difficult for us to create a welcoming space for them on this platform.”

Transgender charity Mermaids made a similar announcement in October 2023 – as did LGBTQ Youth Scotland and The San Francisco LGBT Centre in May 2023.

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