Science and Tech

Twitter says calling trans and non-binary people ‘groomer’ is hate speech

Lily Wakefield July 22, 2022
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Twitter has banned the slur "groomer" as hate speech. (Getty/ Bethany Clarke)

Twitter has said that it has banned the use of the word “groomer” when directed at trans and non-binary people as an anti-LGBTQ+ slur.

The use of the word “groomer” as an anti-LGBTQ+ slur, conflating queer identities with paedophilia, has been rapidly increasing in recent months.

This week, Twitter confirmed to Daily Dot in a statement that describing trans or non-binary people as “groomers” was now against its hate speech policy.

“We are committed to combating abuse motivated by hatred, prejudice, or intolerance, particularly abuse that seeks to silence the voices of those who have been historically marginalized,” Twitter’s health product communications lead Lauren Alexander said.

“For this reason, we prohibit behavior that targets individuals or groups with abuse based on their perceived membership in a protected category.

“Use of this term is prohibited under our Hateful Conduct policy when it is used as a descriptor, in context of discussion of gender identity.”

However, enforcement of the rule has been patchy, with the word being used in many different contexts.

Alexander added: “We recognize we have more work to do to ensure this content is addressed in a timely and consistent manner and we continue to invest in our automated tools and people teams to identify and address gaps in our enforcement.”

Ari Drennan, LGBTQ program director at Media Matters For America, reported on Twitter that author James Lindsay has described her as a “groomer” four times in one day.

Drennan reported the tweets, and on Thursday (21 July) confirmed that Lindsay, an “anti-woke” crusader who has been credited in part with popularising the slur, had been banned from Twitter.

“Misusing ‘groomer’ to attack LGBTQ+ people erases survivors of sexual abuse and is being used to incite violence against the LGBTQ+ community,” Drennan tweeted.

“Good to see Twitter finally starting to take this seriously.”

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