Murphy v. Twitter
GLAD, together with NCLR, Lamda Legal, Transgender Law Center, and HRC, submitted a friend-of-the-court brief in this case to support a provider’s ability to create and enforce policies against online abuse and harassment. The brief highlights the importance of policies that protect transgender people from abuse and harassment, including policies that prohibit the intentional misuse of a trans person’s name and pronouns.
From the brief:
“Online communities play a critically important role in enabling transgender people to connect with one another, build networks and communities, and participate in public debate and discussion. However, transgender people also often face disproportionate abuse and harassment online, including hate speech, slurs, and targeted efforts by other users to disparage their identity, experience, and existence as transgender individuals by deliberately assigning them the wrong gender or name—forms of verbal harassment sometimes referred to as “misgendering” and “deadnaming,” respectively, including in Twitter’s user code of conduct at issue in this case. The prevalence and severity of such abuse can substantially impair transgender people’s ability to access online spaces and communities, denigrates their identity, and in some cases can be associated with adverse mental health outcomes; it can also adversely affect the vibrancy of online communities themselves, by depriving those communities of full and open participation of transgender users, who may feel reluctant to speak up or engage in discussions for fear of attracting such abuse. Service providers have valid and well-founded interests, as expressed in Twitter’s own policy, in having rules that foster greater participation. And policies by social media companies that prohibit the use of their online platforms to target and denigrate other users on the basis of their gender identity—provided they can be meaningfully enforced when necessary—play an important role in ensuring that such spaces are available for transgender people to express themselves freely.“