Social Media: A Breeding Grounds for Transphobia | Teen Ink

Social Media: A Breeding Grounds for Transphobia

August 12, 2023
By Anonymous

Shuffling my toes under the welcoming embrace of my blanket, I was more than eager to begin my nightly routine of mindlessly swiping through my TikTok feed. I stumbled across news of my favorite internet celebrity, Chris Tyson, undergoing gender-affirming hormonal therapy. To me, she beamed with confidence, clarity, and fulfillment but as I opened the comment section, I was disgusted to see the outpour of unmitigated hate. Commenters bitterly proclaimed she had lost all sanity, undermined her personal relationships, and belittled her as if she were below human.

In recent years, there has been a surge of anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment in social media, epitomized by the ruthless, shameless vitriol in response to Chris’s transition. Commenters reinforce the recurring and harmful notion that an individual’s gender is always tied to their biological sex – that the cause of someone’s desire to transition stems solely from psychological issues and influences from modern culture. In fact, studies from the National Library of Medicine found that the brains of people who have always felt distant from their biological sex, more closely resemble that of the opposite gender. Still, blatant remarks of transphobia run rampant across the web. 

Though the cause of this hostility may be nuanced, an undeniable contributor is social media. Platforms, specifically Twitter, lack enforcement on censoring misinformation and hate speech, often justifying this inadequacy as “protecting free speech”. Inadvertently, this only enables extremist users to exacerbate the dehumanizing rhetoric regarding transgender people through misleading information and synthesized narratives. The New York Times reported that discriminatory slurs had spiked significantly after Elon Musk, a clear advocate of absolute free speech, took ownership of the platform. Uneducated and impressionable demographics, like our youth, are prone to spend hours in the unregulated echo chambers of prejudice and misinformation in their social media feeds. Those who do become engrained with one-sided perspectives and openly incite hate because they are too naive to regard the other side.

Today, marginalized groups are outcasted from our society. A survey from the Trevor Project reveals “fewer than 1 in 3 transgender youth found their home to be gender-affirming”. With the little restraint of stereotypes perpetrated and sustained by the media, this heartbreaking metric is no surprise. Social media, for better or worse, controls the thoughts we think, opinions we have, and the character we become through the content fed to us. Though it is ultimately the responsibility of social platforms such as Twitter to rethink censorship guidelines, it falls upon us to question the way we engage or disengage with media. We need to build cultures of love and acceptance by staying mindful of the narratives pushed online while contributing to an environment that welcomes all walks of life

The author's comments:

As a student in high school, the increasing amount of discrimination and hate toward the transgender community became more than evident to me. With all the buzz of Chris Tyson undergoing gender therapy in his transition, came a realization for me that social media was definitely a contribution factor to this disgusting trend. I decided to write this essay to bring the spotlight to what I believe is a root cause of this issue. 

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.