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Mumsnet to bring in tougher forum rules to tackle anti-trans posts

Jasmine Andersson June 14, 2018

Trans rights campaigners (MARVIN RECINOS/AFP/Getty Images)

Mumsnet has announced that they will be tightening their forum rules after complaints emerged that anti-trans commenters were said to have run rife on the website.

The parenting forum ended up hosting a spate of anti-trans commenters, which led to them facing a deluge of criticism, including from two former employees.

Founder Justine Roberts said that Mumsnet will now “stand in solidarity” with trans people.

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 25: Mumsnet Co Founder Justine Roberts listens as the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg participates in a Q&A session (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

“Mumsnet will always stand in solidarity with vulnerable or oppressed minorities,” founder Justine Roberts told The Guardian.

“Mumsnet is also committed to freedom of speech. Sometimes these two issues come into conflict, rarely more so than in the recent debate about what is acceptable to say, or not to say, about trans people.”

Nick Baker, outreach and communications manager of Hero, a LGBQT rights organisation, broadly welcomed the change in moderation policies, reported The Guardian.

(Mumsnet)

“The forums on gender at Mumsnet have for a long time been a horrible place for anyone who advocates for LGBTQ+ rights,” he told the publication.

“Mumsnet have at last recognised this issue and the damaging effect it has on trans people and that sweeping negative generalisations about any group will not be tolerated. However, the proposed policy to also moderate terms such as cisgender [identifying with the gender one has at birth] show that the forums may not be set up to enable balanced discussion on gender identity.”

Writer and former employee of Mumsnet Hannah Woodhead said that forum needed to challenge the “echo chambers” of anti-trans sentiment that had been established on the website.

Mumsnet stated that they stand in solidarity with vulnerable minorities (Creative Commons)

“Regardless of intention, it seems to me that Mumsnet has allowed transphobia to become associated with their brand through their inaction,” wrote Woodhead in a piece for Huck.

“These boards have now become nothing short of echo chambers, spaces in which anti-trans rhetoric is continually employed with little objection.

At least 26 transgender people were killed in the US in 2017 (Mark Makela/Getty)

“As a site on which, for all its avowed impartiality, political debates occur on a daily basis, I believe Mumsnet has failed to recognise a very basic principle: if your feminism doesn’t include trans women, it’s not feminism at all. It’s not right for Mumsnet, which has the ear of the government and gives a voice to parents across the UK, to have become hijacked by blatant transphobia.”

More: Mumsnet, Trans, Transgender

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