TikTok bans misgendering and deadnaming. We explain what this means.

TikTok has officially become a more welcoming place for trans and non-binary people. In the app’s guidelines, there was a provision to ban misgendering and deadnaming. What’s behind these terms?

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TikTok continues to fight against harmful content. Recall that only in the second quarter of 2021, 81.5 million videos promoting, among others, violence, drugs, hatred and self-aggression were removed from the platform. The use of discriminatory language and verbal abuse, including against people from the LGBTQ community, has recently joined the list of phenomena for which TikTok faces a ban.

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TikTok bans misgendering and deadnaming

In February of this year, TikTok’s community guidelines included for the first time a provision banning misogyny, misgendering, deadnaming, and any content that supports or promotes conversion therapy (also known as reparative therapy). While the first term is probably self-explanatory (misogyny is simply contempt for women), the next three terms may not be familiar to everyone. So we are in a hurry to explain.

Mingendering is one of the main manifestations of transphobia, which is the negative actions, feelings, and attitudes directed towards transgender and non-binary people. Minsgendering is the use of grammatical forms different from a person’s gender identity. In practice it usually means, for example, the use of the pronoun “he” for a transsexual woman, the pronoun “she” for a transsexual man or the use of gendered forms for a non-binary person (e.g. the term “singer” for the non-binary music, film and television star Demi Lovato). The intentional use of such misrepresentations qualifies as aggressive and violent behavior.

Deadnaming occurs when someone applies data to a transgender or non-binary person that that person no longer uses. Example? Recently, this phenomenon could be observed, for example, in media mentions about a Canadian actor Elliot Page. Recall that the Oscar winner for the title role in the film “Juno” made a transgender coming out in December 2020. Despite this, until now it happens that some people continue to use against him not only female forms (which is the already mentioned misgendering) but also his old, female name.

Conversion therapy is the so-called “cure for homosexuality.” It’s absurd, because you can’t treat something that is neither a disorder nor a disease. Experts agree: conversion therapy is extremely harmful and wreaks havoc on the psyche of those who undergo it.

Conversion therapies, also known as reparative therapies, promise pears in the sky — changing something that is impossible to change. The words conversion and reparative imply that a person should be changed, fixed, improved. This is a misunderstanding. Besides, it is hurtful to homosexuals because it implies that they are inferior to the rest of society.

The topic of hurtful conversion practices was brilliantly portrayed in the moving 2018 biographical film “Erase Yourself” (the original “Boy Erased”) with Lucas Hedges (the actor received a Golden Globe nomination for this role), Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe and Troye Sivan in the cast.

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TikTok finally changing for the better?

Provisions to ban misgendering and deadnaming are just part of the wide-ranging changes to the platform that TikTok’s creators recently announced.

“TikTok is a platform dominated by entertainment and the desire for creative self-expression, and the overarching goal is to provide an open, safe and welcoming environment to do so,” — reads a statement released by the service in February.

On February 8, Safer Internet Day, TikTok also released a report pledging to take care of:

  • strengthening policies related to unsafe behaviors and challenges;
    A comprehensive approach to eating disorders;
  • more clearly communicating the types of behaviors and hateful ideologies prohibited on the platform;
  • enhancing the security, integrity, availability and reliability of the platform;
  • improving the recommendation system.

Do you think that TikTok actually has the potential to soon become a much more inclusive and safe place on the web than it already is?



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