Progressives Weaponize Transgenders Against Elon Musk

AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File

Are we recognizing a pattern here? First, progressives wielded black Americans as a cudgel with which to smack Tesla CEO Elon Musk for buying Twitter. Now, they are weaponizing the “T” in the LGBTQ community. That’s right, they’re now claiming Musk hates transgender Americans and will use the power of Twitter’s platform to oppress them or something.

Vice’s Dia Kayyali recently penned an op-ed in which she insisted that Musk’s takeover of Twitter will somehow harm transgenders. She writes:

Musk’s plans for Twitter will drive away queer and trans people who have used the platform to create community and advocate for human rights. It will also influence real world events negatively through unmoderated spread of harmful misinformation and incitement to violence. Queer and trans people are rightly worried that their efforts fighting online harassment on the platform will be erased—including policies which prevent misgendering and transphobic hate speech, which often fuel offline harassment and violence.

This is a rather bold statement, considering Musk has not even taken over the platform yet. At no point has he said he would allow actual harassment to occur on the platform. However, he did give insight that addresses part of this argument. Kayyali’s contention that Musk plans to allow “incitement to violence” is uninformed, given that the Tesla CEO already said he wishes to allow speech that is also allowed by the law. Someone needs to inform Kayyali that inciting violence is illegal and not protected by the First Amendment.

The author goes on to outline how trans people are mistreated in different parts of the world, and how Musk will supposedly make this worse by making Twitter “a genuinely unsafe place for trans people.” She brings up comments made on the platform, in which he referred to the use of pronouns as “dumb” and an “esthetic nightmare.” Even worse, she brings up his relationship with The Babylon Bee, a popular conservative satire site that has rankled feathers on the left for years. She continues, saying Musk “tweeted a transphobic meme and briefly changed his Twitter name to “Elona,” after Page Six reported a rumor that his pop star ex Grimes was dating transgender whistleblower Chelsea Manning.”

“But as human rights advocates have repeatedly pointed out, creating online spaces where harassment is tolerated effectively silences the voices of trans people and other marginalized groups—and exposes them to real-life violence,” Kayyali writes.

The author brings up deadnaming as an example of harassment transgenders receive online and in real life. Twitter, in 2018, created a policy banning deadnaming, which is “the practice of using the name a transgender person no longer uses, but that may still be on legal documents.” She seems to be suggesting that Musk will rescind this policy and allow this practice to continue. Again, Musk has not outlined in detail how the company’s moderation policies will look once he takes over, so this could easily be an unfounded fear.

But for argument’s sake, let’s say Kayyali’s concerns are realized. The fact of the matter is that Twitter is already chock full of jerks who like to call people names and engage in other types of abhorrent behavior. It is a public forum, and in general, people can say what they want – as long as they are not conservatives. It is unlikely Kayyali would push for Twitter to ban people who call people like myself “coon” or “Uncle Tom,” right? It is rare to find a high-profile progressive who would wish for such a thing.

The fact of the matter is that assholes exist everywhere. If I can be subjected to racial slurs and continue living my life, so can others. Moreover, Twitter has handy-dandy “block” and “mute” features that one can use as liberally as they want. To put it simply, nobody is forced to be harassed.

What Musk is promising – and what free speech proponents actually want – is a level playing field to make their views known without fear of punishment. Some of those views will be nasty. The problem is that currently, the company is more likely to take action against folks on the right engaging in foul behavior, while allowing progressives to say whatever they please. In this environment, people can express themselves freely.

But the bottom line is that folks like Kayyali aren’t too concerned about transgenders being victimized. They are concerned that people will be able to voice views about transgenderism that they don’t like. These people want to tamp down on political views that do not align with their own, and they are using transgenders as a weapon against a person who will allow speech from both sides — because they wish to remain dominant in online discourse. Unfortunately for them, if Musk follows through, they will be forced to have their ideas compete without being given an advantage.


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