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Congressional Staffers Blocked From Making Changes On Wikipedia After Anti-Trans Edits Surface

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Someone using an IP address linked to Capitol Hill has been making anti-trans edits on Wikipedia pages - and it's been happening all month long. Twitterbot @congressedits has tracked the activity which is coming from somewhere within Congress and the program has created a record of those edits on the several of the site's pages, such as one on transphobia.

Business Insider reports:

LavIt's impossible to know whether the edits are coming from one or multiple users, but the changes come from an IP address, 143.231.249.138, that has repeatedly been linked to House of Representatives computers. In the "talk" discussion section of one article, an individual making the changes has also claimed to be a staffer on Capitol Hill.

The anonymous user has demonstrated a relatively specific focus on transgender topics. For example, a Wednesday edit to the "Tranny" article changed the phrase "assigned sex" to "biological sex" — a term that has been criticized as transphobic. Articles on "body integrity identity disorder" and "gender identity disorder" were also edited. Even the Wikipedia article on transphobia was edited on Tuesday to include an external link — since been removed for its reported "hateful or abusive content" — defending transphobia.

"This article is too pro-trans," the user complained after his or her edit was removed. "When I attempted to add an alternative point of view regarding this topic ... it was reverted right away."

A Wikipedia editor blocked the IP address due to numerous offensive adjustments several times this month already but on Wednesday, the website decided to put a stop to any further hate speech by barring all Congress staff members from making edits on the site.

According to The Hill, transphobic new edits that surfaced on Wednesday afternoon related to actress Laverne Cox led to the wide ban:

The final straw came on Wednesday afternoon, when someone from the House edited the page for the Netflix hit show “Orange is the New Black” to change the characterization of an actor from “a real transgender woman” to “a real man pretending to be a woman.”

GLAAD responded later that afternoon:

"It's chilling to think that this dangerous misinformation about transgender Americans could be coming from our nation's Capitol," said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. "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."​​


Wiki Loves Pride Edit-A-Thons Improve LGBT Content On Wikipedia

Wikimedia lgbt

Last month, Wikipedia launched a series of Wiki Loves Pride edit-a-thons to improve LGBT-related content on various Wikimedia projects.

The edit-a-thons aim to increase “the number of people and perspectives contributing to LGBT information on the site, as well as encouraging institutions to add their authority information, research and images to the public domain.”

Edit-a-thons have already taken place in Philadelphia, New York City, Washington, D.C., and Portland, Oregon.  Future edit-a-thons are planned for Atlanta and Houston and for Bangalore and Delhi, India.


Actor Ron Livingston Sues Over 'Malicious' Gay Rumors on Wikipedia

LlivingstonActor Ron Livingston has filed a lawsuit because, he says, he's being subject to ongoing harassment on Wikipedia by an unknown editor of his page there to make it look as though he's in a gay relationship.

TMZ reports: "Ron -- who married a woman earlier this year -- claims some mystery Internet bandit began relentlessly changing his Wiki page to say he's in a relationship with a man named Lee Dennison ... a claim Livingston says is completely false and 'malicious.' According to the lawsuit, filed yesterday in L.A. County Superior Court, the Wiki-hacking began back in May -- and every time Ron's reps remove the false info from his Wiki page ... the bandit 'changes them back almost immediately.' And it gets better: Ron believes the perp also created fake Facebook profiles for himself and Lee, and both pages claim the two are 'In a relationship' with each other. Livingston is suing for libel, invasion of privacy and for using his name and likeness without his permission. Damages haven't been specified."


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