Regarding transphobia in the LGBTQ+ thread

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Lex

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Hi folks,

There are a few things that need to be publicly addressed following recent discourse in the LGBTQ+ thread. In summary, there was some transphobia on display and following discussion with staff we feel that action must be taken.

TLS has always been a place that has championed discourse in terms of allowing discussion - sometimes controversial - to take place. It needs to be made clear that this does not include opinions that align with hate against a particular group. I've seen my fair share of homophobia and racism on display during my time here and I've had to champion action against it, as with many other topics. Just because discourse is relatively civil does not mean that viewpoints which promote or validate hate should be given the time of day, or accepted any more than outright bigotry.

The following has been a key component of this on TLS in recent years:

https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/sealioning-internet-trolling

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In addition to this, in the debate section we should not be debating for the sake of debate, we should be encouraging people to share their own opinions rather than "playing devil's advocate" so we should be discouraging that wherever possible. In recent times there has been an increased incidence of this that has led to so called "bad-faith" discourse that is not conductive to reasonable discussion.

In terms of the nitty-gritty of the discourse in the LGBTQ+ thread, several posts were reported and staff were contacted regarding some of the discourse in there. Initially - and I want to be clear here - while some transphobic statements were made, this was treated by others as a moment to have some civil discourse about the topic and maybe also educate.

Following LGBTQ+ members explaining why some of the statements or viewpoints were transphobic or problematic, the users in question then doubled down on their viewpoints and did not accept that their behaviour was problematic. The key take-home is that if you are trans and you read what was posted, we apologise if you felt uncomfortable or triggered by anything you read. I would beg your understanding that the language from members comes from a place of ignorance rather than hate. The members in question have been active and prolific members here for over 10 years. However, staff have still come to a consensus that action needs to be taken.

To that end, the following action has been taken:

Tres (The Twighlight Mexican) - Has been removed from staff and banned from the board for 2 months (return date 9th January 2022), and indefinitely banned from the News and Debate section.
Octo - Has been banned from the board for 2 months (return date 9th January 2022) and indefinitely banned from the News and Debate section.
Lic - Has been banned from the board for 2 months (return date 9th January 2022) and indefinitely banned from the News and Debate section.

These members will be allowed to return to the debate section if a willingness to learn is shown upon their return.
 
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