20 organizations ask YouTube to ban harassment of trans folk

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.


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 Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

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