Transgender activists and transphobic conservatives on Twitter finally agree on something: Both groups are displeased with the social media platform for censoring images of a poster advertising “The Trans Day of Vengeance,” a now-canceled weekend protest against “trans genocide.”
The protest — organized by a little-known group called the Trans Radical Activist Network (TRAN) — was set to occur outside the U.S. Supreme Court this weekend. The event would have marked the annual Transgender Day of Visibility while also demonstrating against transphobic policies, like bans on trans student-athletes and gender-affirming care, which threaten the safety and well-being of trans people.
On Tuesday, Twitter announced that it began automatically removing images of the event’s poster when right-wing figures like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) began re-tweeting it as proof of a “violent” occasion organized by a “trans-terrorism” group, as Greene put it.
Greene said she found the image particularly alarming since it seemingly appeared “a day after a mass murder of children by a trans shooter.” She was referring to the Monday mass shooting of a private Christian elementary school in Nashville by an allegedly transgender shooter who was a former student at the school.
Twitter’s automatic removal of the image reportedly angered conservatives on Twitter who were reposting it to speak against the gathering, The Hill reported. Its removal has also angered trans activists who accused Twitter of long tolerating transphobia on its platform while now censoring a truly non-violent protest against transphobes like Greene.
“[Twitter is] slow to moderate content targeting trans people, but quick to silence us when we speak out or push back,” Evan Greer, director of the nonprofit liberal advocacy group Fight for the Future, told the aforementioned publication.
Greer explained, “’Trans Day of Vengeance’ is not a specific day or a call for violence. It’s a meme that’s been around for years, a way of expressing anger and frustration about oppression and violence the trans community faces daily.” TRAN, the protest’s organizing group, said on its website that it doesn’t condone violence and that the event was organized before Monday’s shooting.
“Vengeance means fighting back with vehemence,” TRAN wrote on its website. “We are fighting against false narratives, criminalization, and eradication of our existence.” However, in a more recent statement, TRAN announced that it had canceled the protest “due to a credible threat to life and safety.”
“This threat is the direct result of the flood of raw hatred directed toward the trans community after the Tennessee shooting,” TRAN wrote. “Individuals who had nothing to with that heinous act have been subjected to highly serious threats and blamed only because of their gender identity. This is one of the steps in genocide, and we will continue our efforts to protect trans lives.”
Even before the shooting, right-wing figures like Greene and Fox News host Tucker Carlson repeatedly claimed that trans people are dangerous. Transphobes like them claim that trans people are mentally unstable and seek to “groom” and “sexualize” kids with “gender ideology” that will confuse and coerce children into “irreversible” medical procedures that will “mutilate” them for life. These untrue and stigmatizing claims have led to death threats against trans people, drag performers, LGBTQ+-allied educators, and medical professionals alike.
Greer said that Twitter’s content moderation policy missed the context behind seemingly threatening event posters, “which is why content policies should be based in human rights and applied evenly, not changed rapidly based on public pressure or news cycles,” Greer said.