As of August 1st, 2022, I’ve applied to be Verified on Twitter 29 times. Each and every time, I’ve tried to figure out what I’ve been doing wrong. As far as I can tell, each and every time, I’ve fit the bill, matched the criteria, for each of the attempts. Yet, each and every time, so far, I’ve been denied.
It was about 12 attempts in that I started to wonder if Twitter’s administration just hated me. But, it was the 14th or 15th attempt, in, that I began to wonder something else.
Does Twitter just not like trans people? It would explain a lot. It would explain why violence threatened against us, harassment sent to us, and all manner of impersonation, just goes completely ignored. On the platform, I’ve been impersonated 9 times over almost as many years. Each and every time, Twitter has done nothing.
Today, I read a news article, and I’ve started to put the pieces together.
Willful ignorance, or purposeful abandonment?
It’s been said that Twitter is incredibly shortstaffed. For a long time, I think they hid behind this as the reason why their Verification ‘system’ was so woefully-inadequate. The reality, however, is sadder than you could imagine.
Twitter’s Verification ‘department’ is merely incredibly corrupt. This has been suspected for some time: but, before, it was always couched in the idea that Twitter just couldn’t handle their business. So ‘mistakes’ were made.
And then you get a bunch of Verified accounts being created, that are used by robots, and the pieces start to fall into place.
Verification functions similarly to the western idea(l) that working hard will get you everything you could ever dream of: it isn’t true, and it’s merely a façade used to keep you at arm’s-length, and out of the sekrit klub. The reality is, Verification has always been about connections.
And I’m beginning to think those ‘connections’ do not exactly like trans people.
Trans-Friendly Places to Get Verified
When applying for Facebook, Instagram, and twitter, I always had this inkling that they weren’t verifying me because my legal name did not match my chosen name as a trans person. Given that I can now confirm that’s the case at Twitter— one person was verified after they changed a byline of theirs to their legal name— for me, this proves one thing.
I’m not getting Verified because my legal name does not match my chosen name as a trans person.
So Twitter just plain isn’t Verifying me because I’m trans.
And the legal name mismatch has nothing to do with it. For starters, people with stage names and pseudonyms get verified all the time. But, also, there are places just as big, if not bigger, who have had absolutely no problem verifying me, knowing fully-well that I was trans.
YouTube has no problem with me using my chosen name. They know my legal name and keep it private; and, they’ve already successfully paid me through their Partner program. I’m also Verified on YouTube.
Spotify also has no problem with me using my chosen name, and I’m Verified there. Neither does Tidal; nor Apple; nor Amazon.
Amazon has no problem with me using my chosen name, and I’m Verified there; about three or four times, depending on how you count. I run my own Amazon-branded shoppe on there, and I’m Verified on that one; I’m Verified as an author, and I have my own page, there; and, I’m Verified through their program to verify musical artists. I’m also Verified on the main website, so a checkmark appears next to my name, on all my public reviews. Amazon has absolutely no problem with this.
So why does Twitter?
In the article, Niko Stratis says that big tech [has] le[ft] trans people behind. And I agree. It leaves us behind every single day it allows TERFs to harass us. And then, when we are bombarded by transphobic hate comments, it doesn’t even give us the common courtesy of giving us the tools to protect ourselves from the barrage.
So just change your name!
One might say that, as if it’s that easy. Given that I live in a country that isn’t exactly friendly to trans people, and I live in one of the places where it’s the hardest place to get a legal name change, I’ll pass, thanks.
Besides: bigger places don’t care.
So why does Twitter?
A final thought.
After about 29 attempts to get Verified on Twitter, I’m pretty sure either somebody hates me; or, they hate trans people. I’m not sure which; and, given how poorly the system performs, who’s to say, really?
But I’m starting to suspect that Twitter just doesn’t like trans people. It does nothing about hate being spewed at us; it does nothing when people threaten to kill us, or tell us to kill ourselves. And it has no respect for us, whatsoever. It wants us to use our deadnames. I know Facebook, and probably Meta itself, is transphobic; but I kind of expected better from Twitter.
I was gonna start a hashtag, called #VerifyTransPeople, but. . . I don’t know.
I don’t know, mate.