Anti-trans activity is rife online and in digital and social media platforms. Now, in a new open letter, a diverse coalition of 20 organizations — including Media Matters for America and GLAAD — have called on YouTube to strengthen its policies around harassment, including creating explicit policies that would ban targeted deadnaming and misgendering of trans people, to create a safer place for trans people on its platform.

READ THE FULL LETTER HERE.

Signers of the open letter include: Accountable Tech, Athlete Ally, Center for Countering Digital Hate, CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, Equality Federation, Free Press, Friends of the Earth, Gender Equity Policy Institute, GLAAD, Media Matters for America, MediaJustice, NARAL, National Black Justice Coalition, National LGBTQ Task Force, National Equality Action Team (NEAT), ParentsTogether, PFLAG National, Reproaction, SumOfUs, and UltraViolet.

While YouTube has provided a platform for LGBTQ content creators, it is far from a safe place especially for transgender influencers, broadcasters, activist, artists and creators.

New research from Media Matters found several high-profile examples of targeted misgendering and deadnaming of trans people on YouTube that have accumulated millions of views — this includes videos from right-wing creators like Ben Shapiro, Matt Walsh, Michael Knowles, and The Hodgetwins.

In addition to misidentifying trans people, the videos used other extreme rhetoric, calling their targets “a pervert," a “seriously confused individual," and other harmful language.

YouTube does not currently have an explicit policy in place that bans targeted deadnaming and misgendering of trans people. Twitter updated its hateful conduct policy in 2018 to explicitly prohibit “targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals." However, YouTube has fallen behind Twitter's efforts to protect trans people on its platform, and according to GLAAD's Social Media Safety Index, the platform should “follow the lead of Twitter's Policy on Hateful Conduct, which includes a specific prohibition against misgendering and deadnaming."

As the letter explains: “If YouTube is serious about being a safe place for LGBTQ people, it is incumbent upon the platform to protect trans people from harmful misgendering and deadnaming."

Photo by Sara Dubler on Unsplash

Rejuvenating Thailand


Keep reading Show less
Photo courtesy of The Dinah

The Dinah


Keep reading Show less
Photo courtesty of Cecilie Johnsen on Unsplash

LGBTQ+ Healthcare Issues

The Dobbs decision, otherwise known as the court case that overturned Roe v. Wade, has resulted in confusing medical situations for many patients. On top of affecting access to abortions for straight, cisgender women, it presents heightened risks for LGBTQ+ healthcare as a whole. Flipping the switch on reproductive rights and privacy rights is a far-reaching act that makes quality care harder to find for an already underserved community.

As the fight against the Dobbs decision continues, it’s important to shed light on the full breadth of its impact. We’ll discuss specific ways that the decision can affect LGBTQ+ healthcare and offer strategies for overcoming these challenges.

How the Right to Bodily Privacy Affects LGBTQ+ Healthcare

When the original Roe v. Wade decision was made, the bodily privacy of people across the United States was protected. Now that bodily autonomy is no longer guaranteed, the LGBTQ+ community must brace itself for a potential loss of healthcare rights beyond abortions. This includes services like feminizing and masculinizing hormone therapy (particularly for transgender youth) that conservative lawmakers have been fighting against this year, as well as transition-related procedures. Without privacy, gender-affirming care may be difficult to access without documentation of sex as “proof” of gender.

As essential services for the LGBTQ+ community become more difficult to access, perhaps the most immediate effect we’ll see is eroding trust between healthcare providers and LGBTQ+ patients. When providers aren’t working in the best interest of patients — just like in cases of children and rape victims denied abortions — patients may further avoid preventative care in a community that already faces discrimination in doctor’s offices.

The Dobbs Decision Isn’t Just a Women’s Issue

While the Dobbs decision is often framed as a women's issue — specifically, one that affects cisgender women — it impacts the transgender and non-binary community just as much. All people who are capable of carrying a pregnancy to term have lost at least some ability to choose whether or not to give birth in the U.S.

For transgender and non-binary individuals, this decision comes with the added complexity of body dysmorphia. Without abortion rights, pregnant trans men and some non-binary people may be forced to see their bodies change, and be treated as women by healthcare providers and society as a result.

The Dobbs decision also opens up the possibility for government bodies to determine when life begins — and perhaps even to add legal protections for zygotes and embryos. This puts contraceptives at risk, which could make it more difficult to access gender-affirming care while getting the right contraceptives based on sex for LGBTQ+ individuals.

Overturning Reproductive Rights Puts IVF at Risk

Queer couples that dream of having their own children often have limited options beyond adoption. One such option is in vitro fertilization, or IVF, which involves implanting a fertilized egg into a uterus.

While IVF isn’t directly affected by the Dobbs decision, it could fall into a legal gray area depending on when states determine that life begins. Texas, for example, is already barring abortions as early as six weeks. To reduce embryo destruction, which often occurs when patients no longer want more children, limits could be placed on the number of eggs that can be frozen at once.

Any restrictions on IVF will also affect the availability of surrogacy as an option for building a family.

How Can LGBTQ+ Individuals Overcome Healthcare Barriers?

While the Dobbs decision may primarily impact abortion rights today, its potential to worsen LGBTQ+ healthcare as a whole is jarring. So how can the community be prepared?

If you’re struggling to find LGBTQ+-friendly providers near you, using telemedicine now can be an incredibly effective way to start developing strong relationships with far-away healthcare professionals. Telemedicine eliminates the barrier of geography and can be especially helpful for accessing inclusive primary care and therapy. Be sure to check if your insurance provider covers telemedicine.

If you’re seriously concerned about healthcare access in your area — especially if the Dobbs decision affects your whole state or you need regular in-person services that may be at risk — it may be time to consider moving now. While not everyone has the privilege to do so, relocating gives you the ability to settle in areas where lawmakers better serve your needs. However, this decision shouldn’t be taken lightly, so preparing and making progress on a moving checklist now can help you avoid issues later.

The Dobbs Decision Isn’t LGBTQ+-Friendly

The Supreme Court of the United States has proven the power of its conservative majority with the overturning of Roe v. Wade. However, the effects of the Dobbs decision don’t stop at affecting cisgender women’s abortion rights. In states with bans, it also leads to forced birth for trans men and non-binary individuals. Plus, the Dobbs decision increases the risk of other rights, like hormone therapy and IVF, being taken away.

Taking steps now, whether it’s choosing a virtual provider or considering a move, can help you improve your healthcare situation in the future.