Twitter Removes Policies Against Deadnaming and Deliberate Misgendering


Prior to the rule change, Twitter’s Hateful Content Policy stated: “We prohibit targeting others with repeated slurs, tropes or other content that intends to dehumanize, degrade or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected category. This includes targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals.”

The final sentence, specific to transgender users, has since been removed. According to the Wayback Machine, the sentence referring to targeted misgendering and deadnaming was present on April 7th, but was stricken from the policy on April 8th. The previous version is here, the current version is here.

This is not the only change Twitter made to this policy, but it is a notable one. Twitter also removed a list of examples of groups of people who are more likely to be marginalized, and clarified places where it will restrict an offending tweet’s visibility.

GLAAD notes the policy against deadnaming and misgendering transgender people has been in place since 2018, and that its removal comes at a time when the humanity of trans and non-binary people is being used as a political issue by the worst kind of assholes, some of whom have associated the mere existence of people who are not cisgender with heinous criminal acts. To the extent Twitter still has policies against targeted harassment, it is — at best — unhelpful to make them more vague. But that is being generous; it is hard to read this as anything other than tacit permission for Twitter users to bully people who are trans or non-binary.

There are some people who seem to believe everything is up for debate — that we need to resolve everything from first principles over and over, just to make sure. And, look, sometimes it is fair to question whether the precedent which has been set is the correct one. But when policies are a de facto encouragement of discrimination and othering of people for who they are, it means the authors of that policy are unprincipled assholes. The humanity of people is not a debate, and policies which undermine that do not encourage careful thought. They encourage a mob.