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Queer woman who deadnamed YouTuber Miles McKenna ‘didn’t know’ it wasn’t OK

Abi McIntosh July 19, 2019
MIles McKenna Stevie Levine VidCon panel

(David Livingston/Paul Archuleta/Getty Images)

Comedian Stevie Levine has apologised to Miles McKenna for deadnaming him during a VidCon LGBT+ panel on Saturday (July 17), saying she “didn’t know” that deadnaming a trans person is wrong.

Levine said that she was “so incredibly sorry” for deadnaming McKenna and using his incorrect pronouns during the annual YouTube convention.

“I am so incredibly sorry that I’ve hurt you in any way, and am heartbroken over the entirety of this situation,” the LA-based comedian wrote.

“I have been an out and proud member and advocate of the LGBTQ+ community for over a decade – spreading messages of love and support for those in my community.”

Levine attempted to explain that she used McKenna’ deadname when referring to a time she had previously met him, and was unaware that this would be harmful.

“I regret not specifically asking you if I could reference your deadname in relation to the story, but the truth is – I really, really didn’t know.”

Miles McKenna deadnamed at VidCon LGBT+ panel

Levine made the error while moderating the LGBT Activism and Awareness panel at VidCon, which was curated by The Trevor Project. McKenna appeared along with fellow YouTubers Calle y Poché, Amber’s Closet and Miles Jai.

A day after the panel, on Sunday (July 14), McKenna took to Twitter.

He wrote: “Yesterday I was called she/her and deadnamed on a panel by the moderator who after I corrected that you don’t call trans ppl by their old name said ‘I didn’t know.’

“Who allowed someone that doesn’t know how to address trans people moderate an LGBT panel @VidCon?”

McKenna continued: “My issue is less with someone’s ignorance and more with how was that person allowed to head a panel that partly focuses on trans topics.”

Miles McKenna fans criticise Stevie Levine’s apology

Although McKenna has not yet replied publicly to Levine’s apology, his fans have said that her excuse wasn’t good enough.

“Honestly i dont buy this bs,” one wrote. “Miles passes as male in every aspect and it’s honestly hard to find his deadname, I’vee been following him since like a year before he came out and literally haven’t even heard his deadname since so theres NO WAY this would be an ‘accident.'”

Some took the opportunity to urge members of the LGBT+ community to educate themselves about trans issues.

“This needs to be a wake up call for all cis gays to be more aware of trans issues and to also advocate for their rights and safety and not just preach about gay rights,” one fan wrote.

VidCon responded on Twitter, explaining they that were in touch with McKenna and would be taking steps to prevent similar incidents like this happening in the future.

“A mistake was made yesterday that left @TheMilesMcKenna hurt,” VidCon wrote. “We have reached out to him directly to discuss it. We are committed to trying to eliminate instances like this moving forward and are so sorry that this happened.”

What is deadnaming?

A deadname is the name of a transgender person prior to their transition. So the definition of deadnaming is the action of calling a transgender person by their former name instead of their new name. It counts as deadnaming whether it is intentional or not.

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