Digital Culture

LGBTQ centers leave Twitter following removal of hateful conduct protections

Online safe spaces are becoming rarer.
By Chase DiBenedetto  on 
A blue Twitter bird logo on the side of a gray, concrete building.
Twitter's conduct changes are pushing more and more organizations off the app. Credit: Tayfun Coskun / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Dozens of regional LGBTQ community centers are deactivating their Twitter accounts today, decrying recent policy changes despite the rise of hate speech and calling on the app to do more to protect its users. 

The announcement came from CenterLink(opens in a new tab), an international nonprofit network of more than 325 LGBTQ organizations, many of which will also be leaving the platform.

"Twitter has become increasingly unsafe in recent months for LGBTQ and BIPOC people with anti-LGBTQ, anti-trans, anti-Black, and antisemitic tweets on the rise. The removal of this policy was the last straw," Denise Spivak, CEO of CenterLink, told Mashable. 

Earlier this month, Twitter, led by CEO Elon Musk, quietly removed a portion of its hateful conduct policy that specified protections against misgendering and deadnaming transgender users, adding to an already hostile, hate-speech filled(opens in a new tab) environment. 

In response to the conduct changes, CenterLink and its members have decided to forgo the app entirely, formally deactivating their Twitter accounts today. Some participants have already left the app, announced they will no longer be active, or pinned statements opposing the app's changes.

"Purposeful communication requires an honest and transparent dialogue in spaces that respect our lived experiences and honor everyone's safety," wrote CenterLink in its deactivation announcement. "With more than 430 pieces of legislation(opens in a new tab) targeting healthcare, education, public places and services, and drag performers or entertainment, 2023 is on pace to be a record-setting year for state legislation targeting LGBTQ adults and youth. Now is a time to lift up the voices of those who are most vulnerable and most marginalized, and to take a stand against those whose actions are quite the opposite."

The participating centers include:

  • SF Center

  • Orlando Center

  • Las Vegas Center

  • Hudson Valley Center

  • Durham Center

  • CenterLink 

  • Coastal Bend Pride Center 

  • Indiana Youth Group 

  • LGBT Life Center 

  • Youth Outlook 

  • Casa BruMar Foundation 

  • LGBT Community Network 

  • The Center Las Vegas 

  • Our Family 

  • Guilford Green Foundation & LGBTQ Center 

  • Hudson Valley LGBTQ+ Community Center 

  • CAMP Rehoboth 

  • Queer Space Collective 

  • Hudson Pride Center 

  • The Frederick Center 

  • The Pomona Pride Center 

  • Diversity Center of Oklahoma 

  • Compass Community Center  

  • LGBTQ Center of Durham 

  • Pacific Pride Foundation 

  • The Center Orlando 

  • Stonewall Alliance of Chico 

  • Pacific Center 

  • NoVA Prism Center 

Twitter's quick evolution over the last year has resulted in a loss of trust from users. "Immediately reinstating the policy aimed at protecting transgender people from targeted misgendering and deadnaming would be a good place to start," Spivak said when asked what the platform could do better. "Beyond that, Twitter frankly doesn’t do a great job combating hate speech and should do more to ensure that the platform is safe for all its users. None of the major social media platforms seem to have found the exact formula to create and ensure a safe environment, but CenterLink still has active Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube accounts."

Twitter has seen an exodus of users, verified accounts, and advertisers since Musk's purchase. While many see the app's changes as the end to a fun social ecosystem, others are more worried about the implications Musk's policies have on users with disabilities, LGBTQ users and users of color(opens in a new tab), the spread of accurate information, and the ability for organizations doing important work to stay connected to communities online. 

"LGBTQ centers across the country are vital resources for our communities and provide a wide range of critical, life-saving services both online and in-person. These centers collectively serve nearly 2.7 million people annually and engage in advocacy, public policy, and civic engagement," Spivak said, noting LGBTQ community resources like these need national support, in the form of donations, volunteers, and political action, to keep their work going.

"When it comes to staying safe online, people can disengage from platforms that allow hate and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric — which now most certainly includes Twitter."

To find LGBTQ community centers in your area, and to learn how to continue following them online, visit CenterLink's online directory(opens in a new tab).

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Chase sits in front of a green framed window, wearing a cheetah print shirt and looking to her right. On the window's glass pane reads "Ricas's Tostadas" in red lettering.
Chase DiBenedetto
Social Good Reporter

Chase joined Mashable's Social Good team in 2020, covering online stories about digital activism, climate justice, accessibility, and media representation. Her work also touches on how these conversations manifest in politics, popular culture, and fandom. Sometimes she's very funny.

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