Disclaimer; Images of these tweets will not be shown in this article. The contents of them will be talked about. It is important to report that Twitter is censoring trans people like this, but we want to do that without adding to the harm such open calls for violence has on marginalised communities.
Calls for violence against transgender people and anyone who supports us have been increasing on Elon Musk’s Twitter. Including from subscribers to Twitter’s paid verification system, Twitter Blue. Trans people reporting on this issue on platform have found that now Twitter is censoring trans people like this.
Tweets come from users such as Jake Shields, An MMA fighter and Twitter Blue subscriber who Musk has tweeted at on several occasions. Shields asked his followers if they would support the public executions of anyone supporting trans people, including doctors, therapists, teachers and guidance counsellors.
When reporting on this Twitter users found that Twitter is censoring images of the tweet. Instead of displaying the calls for violence users images are replaced with a blanked out box after posting. Some users speculate that this may be being done manually and some even attempted to test if screen reading software was being used to detect the screenshot.
Other tweets which faced the same treatment included more threats against the transgender community, including some references to the Holocaust and concentration camps.
As of writing, Jake Shields is still a Twitter Blue subscriber and has an account on the platform. There has been no statement from Twitter or Elon Musk.
Violent anti-trans rhetoric targeting not just trans people, but also any person who supports our human rights are seeing a sharp rise. Not only in frequency but also in how much of it is tolerated. Comments once reserved for the most fringe and extreme anti-trans voices in the UK, such as those behind the “women’s declaration” are now being shared by mainstream American political commentators such as Michael Knowles. As both call for the “eradication of transgenderism”.
Women's Declaration International who stand for the total abolition of trans people's human rights and called for "eradication" of "transgenderism" are reporting that the United Nations CSW rejected their application for a fringe event due to being not in line with their values. pic.twitter.com/nxTNvQdVDE
— Mallory Moore (@Chican3ry) March 27, 2023
The Missouri government in the US has even gone as far as asking its citizens to report on their neighbours for supporting trans youth. While the UK government are currently considering going against all known safeguarding guidance and forcing teachers to out children to parents.
Twitter has also been reported to have removed protections for transgender people from hateful conduct on the platform. Organisations that formed on Twitter before Musk’s reign are finding themselves able to further flourish under a system where the rules preventing their hate have been removed with Twitter censoring trans people trying to report on the problem.
Elon Musk himself has also repeatedly dipped his toes into online transphobia on the platform. As recently as a week ago the unfunny billionaire cited and misrepresented the findings of “The Swedish Study” to justify his position against supporting transgender youth, finishing the tweet with his opinion that “cisgender” is a slur. This has prompted some trans people to worry that more censorship of trans voices will be seen on Twitter.
Twitter has never been a comfortable home for trans people or trans activism. Even before Musk took over as CEO trans people were complaining about the way anti-trans sentiment was allowed to flourish on the platform, whereas trans people pushing back against it were regularly penalised for doing so. Nevertheless there has been a sharp rise in hostility towards trans people under this new leadership and as the moral panic continues to take hold in politics and media.
With mainstream media and other large publications shutting trans people out, it is unsurprising that – at time of writing – hardly anyone has covered this story. Only a handful of small organisations have even touched the fact that Jake Shields openly suggested executing teachers, therapists, doctors and guidance counsellors for supporting trans youth. This is why it’s important to talk about how Twitter is censoring trans people; because despite it’s problems its one of the few spaces where trans people have been able to share information and support each other globally.
With the open hostility towards trans people being ramped up and even the CEO getting involved in that many are suggesting moving to alternatives such as Mastodon and Bluesky. Bluesky being Jack Dorsey’s second go at making Twitter. Though as I pointed out; things weren’t much better for us under his leadership and we got by on the platform in spite of the moderation team working under him; not because of them.
The “eradication” of trans people that these groups speak so gleefully about starts with forcing us to either self-isolate from public life, or be pushed out of it. The battlefields for that include presences on social media platforms. It’s never been more important to make yourself heard and speak up about things like how Twitter is censoring trans people.