Elon Musk, Twitter's owner, has started a firestorm by declaring “cis” and “cisgender” slurs on the platform and warning that the usage could lead to account suspensions.
This announcement came as a response to a user who felt victimized by pro-trans activists, and Musk shared his dismissal of both terms on Wednesday.
Musk's bold statement set Twitter abuzz, elevating the adjectives to trending status. Going forward, he warned, their usage (if done in a harassing manner) will be flagged, and their intentional repetition to single out an individual would amount to harassment.
An overwhelming 63% of the Twitter community, according to a poll, supported Musk's viewpoint. The poll has received over 405,000 votes as of the time of this report.
The tech mogul, 51, did not hold back his criticism of the German sexologist who coined the terms “cis” and “cisgender,” used to describe individuals whose gender identity aligns with their birth sex, as opposed to transgender persons. Musk labeled Volkmar Sigusch, the sexologist who coined the term, who once spoke in favor of sensuality between a child and an adult, a “creep.”
This fiery discourse was initiated by a tweet from James Esses who expressed discomfort about being referred to as “cis” against his wishes. His tweet gained massive traction, clocking more than 8.1 million views and drawing Musk into the conversation.
Musk, who bought Twitter in October, has since championed free speech on the platform. He clarified that "Repeated, targeted harassment against any account will cause the harassing accounts to receive, at minimum, temporary suspensions," adding that "'cis' or 'cisgender' are considered slurs on this platform."
Many Twitter users expressed gratitude towards Musk for his firm stance on the issue, considering the increasing usage of these terms in recent years.
Despite this stance, Musk emphasized that individuals have the freedom to self-identify, saying, “Call yourself anything you want.”
Twitter currently labels slurs as language that “intends to degrade or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected category.” Neither Facebook nor Instagram classify “cis” or “cisgender” as slurs.
This instance marks yet another episode of Musk vocalizing his personal beliefs, regardless of any potential implications due to his influential status. As he recently told CNBC: “I’ll say what I want, and if the consequence of that is losing money, so be it.”