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Amazon reclassifies anti-Trans book by anti-LGBTQ+ Daily Wire pundit

‘Johnny the Walrus’ compares the gender identities of trans youth to a young boy who imagines he is a walrus

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Matt Walsh (Los Angeles Blade file YouTube screenshot)

SEATTLE – The global internet marketplace Amazon has pulled far-right conservative Daily Wire podcast host Matt Walsh’s children’s picture book, comparing being transgender to pretending to be a walrus from its catalog listings of LGBTQ+ books.

Showing up as a bestselling “LGBTQ+ Book” on Amazon, ‘Johnny the Walrus‘ compares the gender identities of trans youth to a young boy who imagines he is a walrus. Amazon mislabeled the book into its LGBTQ+ Books section.

On Friday, The Hill’s Changing America reported that the internet retailer recategorized the book. “We have recategorized this title from LGBTQ+ to Political and Social Commentary, to better reflect the content,” an Amazon spokesperson told Changing America on Friday. “While we understand that many may find this book objectionable, it does not violate our guidelines and remains available for sale.”

News of the Amazon decision was angrily denounced by Walsh,  who earlier this year said doctors who perform gender-affirming surgeries for trans youths are “plastic surgeons basically acting like Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”

On Twitter Walsh accused Amazon of “homophobia and gay erasure,” tweeting that the decision was “an unconscionable attack on gay rights.”

Media Matters for America has detailed much of Walsh’s transphobic and homophobic attacks on the LGBTQ+ community. Walsh himself has a long record of espousing extreme anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, including falsely comparing best practice medical care for trans youth to “molestation and rape” and calling doctors who serve trans youth “pedophiles” — and now he has used Amazon’s mislabeling to claim he is an “LGBT author” and “one of the leading LGBT voices in the country.”

Media Matters also reported that Amazon has faced backlash for selling anti-trans books in the past. The company continues to sell the book Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters by anti-trans author Abigail Shrier, even though Amazon employees filed an internal complaint in April claiming that the book violates the company’s policy against selling books “that frame LGBTQ+ identity as a mental illness.” 

Minnesota big-box chain retailer Target also the book from its online bookshop altogether. It’s currently unclear whether the book is still available in physical stores Changing America reported.

“The canceling begins. Target has removed Johnny the Walrus from their website. No explanation has been given,” Walsh tweeted.

Target did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Twitter shareholders ok Elon Musk deal, GLAAD expresses alarm

“Our community is at disproportionate risk for harassment online, which itself has damaging impacts and can also lead to offline harms”

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SAN FRANCISCO – Twitter shareholders voted Tuesday to approve Elon Musk’s $44 billion bid to buy the company and take it private, CNBC reported. The vote comes as the billionaire entrepreneur seeks to scrap the deal, casting doubt on Twitter’s self-reported percentage of fake accounts and alleging the company was not as forthcoming as it should have been with its explanation of the calculation.

The vote comes as Musk seeks to scrap the deal, casting doubt on Twitter’s self-reported percentage of fake accounts and alleging the company was not as forthcoming as it should have been with its explanation of the calculation. Twitter has stood by its figure of less than 5% of monetizable daily active users being spam or fake and has said it’s provided Musk plenty of information meeting the requirements of the deal.

In New York, GLAAD released a statement reacting to the shareholder’s vote expressing alarm in part due to Musk has a record of posting anti-LGBTQ content as well as content targeting other marginalized communities.

In a statement the LGBTQ+ advocacy group noted: “While the outcome of the deal remains uncertain amidst ongoing litigation, GLAAD reiterates that Elon Musk’s previously stated plans for Twitter threaten the safety and best interests of users, society, and democracies around the world.”

“Today, Twitter shareholders voted for profits over people. We are deeply concerned with the safety of LGBTQ people on Twitter and join the voices of other organizations representing marginalized communities to express opposition to Elon Musk’s potential acquisition of the platform,” said GLAAD President and CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis.

“Our community is at disproportionate risk for harassment online, which itself has damaging impacts and can also lead to offline harms. It is critical that Twitter as a company, regardless of ownership, prioritizes policies and content moderation that creates spaces where truth is elevated over dangerous mis- and disinformation and hate,” Ellis added.

GLAAD is one of the founding members of the “Stop the Deal” coalition, a campaign launched in June 2022 by Accountable Tech, Media Matters, UltraViolet and others to warn of the potential dangers of the possible acquisition of Twitter by Elon Musk.

More information is available at StopTheDeal.com.

GLAAD released its inaugural Social Media Safety Index in July, evaluating LGBTQ user safety experience across the social media landscape, showing the entire sector is effectively unsafe for LGBTQ users, with high prevalence and intensity of hate speech and harassment.

The Index provided recommendations for the industry at large and reports on LGBTQ user safety across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok.

Read the full report here. 

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‘Ring the Alarm’ podcast on murders of LGBTQ people in Jamaica

Insightful and engaging conversations with LGBTQ men and women, including exclusive interviews from inside a network of secret safe houses

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LOS ANGELES – The fifth episode, in award-winning journalist Jasmyne Cannick’s podcast series ‘Ring the Alarm’ about the murders of LGBTQ people in Jamaica, was released this past week.

18-year-old Keneil grew up in Jamaica, where he was sexually abused at home starting at the age of 8 years old.  Because of the isolation and denial he faced from his mother, and narrowly escaping a murder attempt, Keneil tried to commit suicide several times. After being disowned by his mother, Keneil lived in abandoned buildings with no food.  He recently found housing at the Unity Fellowship Church Jamaica safe house, where he is receiving support and is now awaiting relocation assistance to another country that is more accepting of LGBTQ people.  Through it all, the teenager has managed to smile, remain hopeful, and look forward to living a life where he can be free, even if it means being away from his family and the country he is from.

‘Ring the Alarm’ is a special podcast series of frank conversations with lesbian, gay, and trans men and women in Jamaica about living in one of the most homophobic countries in the world.  Award-winning journalist Jasmyne Cannick shares their challenges, dreams, and aspirations to live a life where they don’t have to fear being murdered for being queer.

Produced in Jamaica, through insightful and engaging conversations with LGBTQ men and women, including exclusive interviews from inside a network of secret safe houses that helps to hide queer Jamaicans until they can be relocated to another country, Jasmyne continues to provide much-needed context while calling attention to the plight of Black queer people in American’s top Caribbean vacation destination.

You can listen to ‘Ring the Alarm’ wherever you get your podcasts. 

To support Unity Fellowship Church Jamaica safe house, donate through Cash App to $UFJamaica or UFJamaica.com.

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About Jasmyne Cannick

Jasmyne Cannick is an award-winning nationally known journalist and on-air contributor who writes and speaks about collisions at the intersection of politics, race, and society. 

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Transphobic hate & doxxing site Kiwifarms blocked by Cloudflare

The company CEO cautioned that Cloudflare’s decision to drop Kiwifarms has the potential to lead to worse scenarios

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SAN FRANCISCO – In a tweet Saturday afternoon, Matthew Prince, the CEO and co-founder of internet content delivery and security services company Cloudflare announced that his firm had blocked Kiwifarms.

Kiwifarms is an American Internet forum dedicated to the inflammatory and often homophobic, racist, or transphobic discussion of online figures and communities it deems “Lolcows,” a portmanteau of the acronym LOL and cow, a derogatory slang term used to describe an individual who is deemed highly exploitable.

The decision to block Kiwifarms stemmed from an ongoing vicious doxxing and hate campaign directed at transgender people, in particular an online gamer and trans creator Clara Sorrenti, best known on Twitch, YouTube and Twitter as Keffals.  The abuse and threats forced Sorrenti to flee her native Ontario, Canada and head to Europe.

Sorrenti calls KiwiFarms a “transphobic hate forum” that she says has doxxed trans and nonbinary people, stalked them and driven some to suicide. Sorrenti herself has been targeted, and swatted—in which a caller makes a false report of extreme violence happening at someone’s address, a harassment tactic that has also been used against Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene

Sorrenti flagged tweets to be masked for “violence” and “sensitive content.” 

One messenger deadnames her, and it only gets worse from there, promising to “beat to death” Sorrenti, “record your dying screams and moans and masturbate to them.”

In his post, Prince noted: “Kiwifarms has frequently been host to revolting content. Revolting content alone does not create an emergency situation that necessitates the action we are taking today. Beginning approximately two weeks ago, a pressure campaign started with the goal to deplatform Kiwifarms. That pressure campaign targeted Cloudflare as well as other providers utilized by the site.”

The campaign Prince referenced was being led by Sorrenti who was organizing a protest for October 18 in San Francisco, where the firm is holding a conference that will be attended by company executives. She’s using a subreddit to organize and the hashtag #DropKiwifarms to spread her message and fight back against hate. 

Cloudflare’s Prince argued in his post that the #dropKiwifarms campaign did not play a prominent role in the decision writing:

“Cloudflare provides security services to Kiwifarms, protecting them from DDoS and other cyberattacks. We have never been their hosting provider. As we outlined last Wednesday, we do not believe that terminating security services is appropriate, even to revolting content. In a law-respecting world, the answer to even illegal content is not to use other illegal means like DDoS attacks to silence it.

We are also not taking this action directly because of the pressure campaign. While we have empathy for its organizers, we are committed as a security provider to protecting our customers even when they run deeply afoul of popular opinion or even our own morals. The policy we articulated last Wednesday remains our policy. We continue to believe that the best way to relegate cyberattacks to the dustbin of history is to give everyone the tools to prevent them.

However, as the pressure campaign escalated, so did the rhetoric on the Kiwifarms site. Feeling attacked, users of the site became even more aggressive. Over the last two weeks, we have proactively reached out to law enforcement in multiple jurisdictions highlighting what we believe are potential criminal acts and imminent threats to human life that were posted to the site.

Prince ended cautioning that Cloudflare’s decision to drop Kiwifarms has the potential to lead to worse scenarios.

Finally, we are aware and concerned that our action may only fan the flames of this emergency. Kiwifarms itself will most likely find other infrastructure that allows them to come back online, as the Daily Stormer and 8chan did themselves after we terminated them. And, even if they don’t, the individuals that used the site to increasingly terrorize will feel even more isolated and attacked and may lash out further. There is real risk that by taking this action today we may have further heightened the emergency.”

The founder of Kiwifarms said that the decision was made by Cloudflare without any discussion with him, according to a Telegram post from Moon, shared by Buzzfeed reporter Ellie Hall on Twitter.

The conflict and controversy over Kiwifarms was part of a larger online war being launched by far-right extremists and hate groups.

This week, The Trevor Project has been besieged by callers flooding their 24/7 hotline. But the calls are not from LGBTQ+ youth in crisis, but allegedly users of 4chan, as the Los Angeles Blade has reported, in a campaign to disrupt their lifesaving work.  

Also this week, LibsofTikTok, aka Chaya Raichik, emerged from a 7-day Twitter suspension, vowing to redouble her attacks on hospitals providing gender-affirming care. Raichik calls that “mutilating the body.” Among her targets: Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C. and Boston Children’s Hospital, which was the subject of a bomb threat Tuesday night. 

Additional reporting by Dawn Ennis

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