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A major LGBTQ+ org just left X over the site’s cyberbullying of queer youth

Elon Musk stands between the logos for X and Twitter
Elon Musk stands between the logos for X and Twitter Photo: Shutterstock

GLSEN, the LGBTQ+ student rights advocacy organization, has announced that it will no longer use X (formerly Twitter) because of “increased cyberbullying and harassment against transgender and LGBTQ+ youth” on the microblogging platform.

The organization’s departure comes barely a month after The Trevor Project, an LGBTQ+ youth suicide prevention resource, left the platform because of its “increasing hate and vitriol.” The It Gets Better Project, a queer youth empowerment nonprofit, also left X in August, saying that changes at X made it impossible to “safely and effectively do this work.”

In its announcement, GLSEN wrote that the platform’s “discriminatory policies and harmful practices… continue to put LGBTQ+ youth at risk.” Specifically, the organization mentioned X’s quiet removal of a policy that protected transgender people from deliberate misgendering and deadnaming.

“Twitter/X’s recent policy changes have birthed a new platform that enables its users to harass and target the LGBTQ+ community without restriction or discipline. Cyberbullying, harassment, and the spread of harmful misinformation targeting LGBTQ+ individuals, especially youth have escalated,” GLSEN’s Director of Communications Madison Hamilton wrote.

“The impact of this online discrimination extends to mental health, self-esteem, and tragically, to cases of self-harm and suicide,” Hamilton continued. “These discriminatory practices have been met with little to no regulation and GLSEN will no longer engage with the medium.”

GLSEN said it intends for its indefinite pause on X to raise awareness and call attention to “the urgent need” for X to adopt “comprehensive policies and practices” that prioritize all users’ well-being and safety.

In addition to GLSEN, several other high-profile organizations and individuals have also left X since its takeover by transphobic billionaire Elon Musk. The Trevor Project left the site in November. The It Gets Better Project departed in August.

Gay pop star and HIV activist Elton John quit X in December 2022, citing the proliferation of “misinformation” on the site under Musk. Queer entertainer Jameela Jamil quit in April 2022, saying that the site had become “a lawless space of bigotry, misogyny, and xenophobia.” Celebrities allies like Whoopi Goldberg, Shonda Rhimes, and Trent Reznor have also left the site since Musk’s takeover.

Musk has promoted a transphobic film, supported imprisoning doctors who provide gender-affirming care, pushed the anti-gay #Pizzagate conspiracy theory, re-platformed anti-LGBTQ+ wingnut Alex Jones, and threatened to ban the word “cisgender” for being a slur. (It isn’t.)

A March 2023 report from the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) noted that anti-LGBTQ+ tweets accusing queer people of “grooming” children for sexual abuse increased 119% since Musk’s takeover. Five of the accounts most responsible for pushing anti-LGBTQ+ groomer attacks were set to generate up to $6.4 million per year for Twitter in ad revenues, the report noted.

In response, Musk threatened to sue CCDH for scaring away advertisers from the site. He made a similar threat against Media Matters after the media watchdog organization reported on big-name companies having their ads appear next to neo-Nazi content. Companies have continued to flee the site as Musk has embraced racist and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on the site.

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