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TikTok bans misgendering and deadnaming of trans people in new guidelines

Among other things, the social media platform will also ban content that “promotes conversion therapy programs.”

TikTok bans misgendering and deadnaming of trans people in new guidelines
Friends together taking a selfie/filming or doing a video call on smartphone at home - stock photo/Getty Images

TikTok has banned misgendering and deadnaming of trans people on its platform in a powerful move. The social media platform also announced that it would prohibit content that in any form 'supports or promotes conversion therapy programs.' The video-content platform updated its guidelines to announce the ban on some forms of anti-LGBTQ content and speech, reported NBC News. The company said it is “adding clarity on the types of hateful ideologies prohibited on our platform," confirming deadnaming and misgendering trans people are banned. "At TikTok, we believe people should be able to express themselves creatively and be entertained in a safe, secure, and welcoming environment. Our policies are designed to foster an experience that prioritizes safety, inclusion, and authenticity," read the statement.  

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Cormac Keenan, the company's head of trust and safety, said the platform had always acted on conversion therapy among other anti-trans content, it felt the need to mention them as part of its guidelines. “Though these ideologies have long been prohibited on TikTok, we’ve heard from creators and civil society organizations that it’s important to be explicit in our Community Guidelines,” said Keenan in a statement. “On top of this, we hope our recent feature enabling people to add their pronouns will encourage respectful and inclusive dialogue on our platform.” Conversion therapy is a long-discredited practice of trying to stop someone from embracing their true identity. TikTok said it would ban any conversion therapy content on its platform.

Clenched fist of a man with a painted transsexual flag, wearing an LGTBIQ flag bracelet/Getty Images

TikTok's new guidelines come in the wake of a damning report from GLAAD, an LGBTQ media advocacy nonprofit that found the top social media platforms including TikTok to be "effectively unsafe for LGBTQ users, as per their Social Media Safety Index from last year. “When anti-transgender actions like misgendering or deadnaming, or the promotion of so-called ‘conversion therapy,’ occur on platforms like TikTok, they create an unsafe environment for LGBTQ people online and too often lead to real-world harm,” GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis, said in a statement. “TikTok’s move to expressly prohibit this harmful content in its Community Guidelines and to adopt recommendations made in GLAAD’s 2021 Social Media Safety Index raises the standard for LGBTQ safety online and sends a message that other platforms which claim to prioritize LGBTQ safety should follow suit with substantive actions like these.” 


UltraViolet, a national gender justice advocacy group, organized an open letter signed by more than 75 groups and suggested guidelines and policies that could help protect women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community. “TikTok has become a little safer for women, LGBQ and trans people today," said Bridget Todd, Communications Director at UltraViolet, after it updated its guidelines. “We applaud TikTok for responding effectively to our recommendations and implementing them into an updated, more protective user policy. Even so, it’s clear social media platforms have a long way to go across the board.”


According to Freedom for All Americans, 2022 has seen nearly 150 anti-LGBTQ bills proposed with over 80  of them targeting transgender people and youth. This is at a time when the violence against the trans community is sharply rising. The year 2021 proved to be the deadliest year on record for the trans community with at least 53 transgender or gender non-conforming people were killed, with the majority of victims being Black or Latinx trans women.

TikTok updated guidelines will also work to prevent suicide hoaxes. "This previously sat within our suicide and self-harm policies, but will now be highlighted in a separate policy category with more detail so it's even easier for our community to familiarize themselves with these guidelines," read the statement. It will also remove content that promotes eating disorders and also remove the promotion of disordered eating. The company said it would consult eating disorders experts, researchers, and physicians while making decisions on such matters. 

If you're trans and are being subjected to abuse, or need any help, please reach out to TRANS LIFELINE at 877-330-6366

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