Womyn Born Womyn House Staffer Edits Trans Identity Wikipedia Pages

By |2014-08-28T09:00:00-04:00August 28th, 2014|National, News|

BTL Staff

WASHINGTON D.C. – One week ago on Aug. 20 a U.S. House staffer was caught changing descriptions of trans identities including Laverne Cox on Internet hotspot Wikipedia. The IP address made a series of anti-trans edits on the pages of Netflix’s series Orange is the New Black and Wiki pages discussing transphobia and the term “tranny.”

Wiki administrators were forced to step in when the user went on an editing spree changing “real transgender woman” to “real man pretending to be a woman.”

“An obvious transphobe is using this IP to edit the article on transphobia,” The Hill quoted one Wikipedia user as saying. “I have no problem with Congressional staffers editing Wikipedia. I have a problem only with YOU vandalizing Wikipedia.”

Without revealing their identity the IP address responded that the changes were in fact “official business” and endorsed by a member of the house. They said the changes were intended to bring fairness to the discussion, Rawstory reports.

The user has since been blocked and can open an account in their name if they wish to be able to edit content again, Wikipedia administrator Fran Rogers said.

“If you’d like to make good-faith edits, please create an account,” Rogers said.

The U.S. House staffer who made the edits identifies as a womyn born womyn, according to nationaljournal.com and works in the Rayburn House office building.

In a note posted to Wikipedia the user argues that she is being targeted by the “trans-lobby.”

“I don’t see how disagreeing with the concept that transphobia is a negative thing is considered ‘hate speech’. The whole concept of ‘transphobia’ is being promoted to trivialize the experiences of real women (or ‘womyn-born-womyn’ as some people call us),” the staffer wrote.

This marks the third time that Wikipedia administrators have had to block anonymous editors using House computers on grounds of “disruptive editing.” Twitter account @CongressEdits, a group that tracks alterations made to Wiki pages by users of computers operating in the U.S. House domain, brought the changes to the attention of Wiki administration.

While Wiki does welcome edits made by legislators and policy-makers to explain legislation and policies the admin team prefers users not make anonymous additions to articles.

Wiki admin could not pin point which computer made the edits since the IP address used covers a number of House offices. Wikipedia has responded by banning the entire IP address from editing, as they have done in the past. The ban will last for an entire month.

“At a time when transgender people still face horrific rates of violence, trailblazers like Laverne Cox are helping millions understand that ignorance like this can have life-threatening consequences,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “It’s chilling to think that this dangerous misinformation about transgender Americans could be coming from our nation’s Capitol.”

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.