Elon Musk Declares ‘Cisgender’ a Slur on Free Speech Twitter

Twitter owner Elon Musk is still making big decisions on the social media platform, even if he’s no longer CEO. Overnight, Musk decreed that the words “cis” and “cisgender,” denoting the alignment of a person’s birth sex and their gender identity, were now considered slurs on Twitter and that users who engaged in “harassment” with these words would face consequences.

Musk’s revealed Twitter’s new policy in a tweet, his preferred method of communication, shortly after midnight on Wednesday. The Twitter owner was responding to a post from James Esses, a UK-based former therapist trainee who claims that many children with gender dysphoria “eventually come to identify as their biological sex.” Esses is an avowed transphobe—he’s openly said that he doesn’t “believe in gender ideology” and that using the prefix “cis” to describe him makes him “feel unsafe” and reflects hatred towards him.

Esses stated that on Tuesday, he posted a tweet rejecting the prefix “cis” and was subsequently bombarded with messages from trans activists. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word “cisgender” simply means a person who identifies with the sex they were identified as at birth. It is not considered a slur.

“Yesterday, after posting a Tweet saying that I reject the word ‘cis’ and don’t wish to be called it, I receive a slew of messages from trans activists calling me ‘cissy’ and telling me that I am ‘cis’ ‘whether or not I like it,’” Esses wrote.

In response, Musk, who has become known for his increasingly hostile views of transgender people, told Esses that he was classifying the words “cis” and “cisgender” as slurs.

“Repeated, targeted harassment against any account will cause the harassing accounts to receive, at minimum, temporary suspensions,” Musk said. “The words ‘cis’ or ‘cisgender’ are considered slurs on this platform.”

Esses proceeded to thank Musk for “standing up for reality.”

Musk’s comments exploded on Twitter, where some users praised the billionaire for further enabling anti-trans rhetoric. Other users pointed out that Musk’s stance was hypocritical, given that Twitter allowed users to freely misgender trans individuals without facing consequences. Users also noted that nominating certain words as “slurs” goes against Musk’s mission to promote free speech on Twitter.

The Twitter owner’s comments come three weeks after he said he would allow people to misgender transgender people on the platform, a common bullying tactic. Misgendering transgender people on Twitter was previously against the platform’s rules until this past April, when language that protected transgender people was removed. Earlier this month, Musk said that while he personally used someone’s preferred pronouns, not doing so “is at most rude and certainly breaks no laws.”

Musk’s own trans daughter, Vivian Jenna Wilson, changed her name on her 18th birthday to disaffiliate from her billionaire dad, citing “Gender Identity and the fact that I no longer live with or wish to be related to my biological father in any way, shape or form.”

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