What you need to know about the Office of Personnel Management’s new rule banning “homophobic, biphobic, or transphobic” comments on social media
A new rule that bans “homophobia, biblicism, transphobia, and Islamophobia” comments online has come under fire from LGBT activists.
The new rule, announced Monday by the Office for Civil Rights, prohibits anyone from posting anything “based on the existence of discrimination or harassment based on race, color, national origin, age, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, gender expression, or disability, or that is harmful or offensive to any person.”
The policy has been met with a backlash from LGBT advocacy groups and civil rights organizations.
LGBT activists have said the rule, if adopted, would effectively eliminate the right to freedom of speech and free speech on social platforms.
The rules were first introduced by the Obama administration in 2015.
“Homophobic, trans-phobic, and Biphobic comments are already illegal on social networks, so this is a blatant attempt to suppress dissent by making it impossible for people to express their opinions online,” said Matthew Rader, policy counsel for the LGBT advocacy group Equality Now.
The rules also include language banning “inappropriate, offensive, and threatening” language on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, as well as “advocating hatred and intolerance.”
The new rule would prohibit “disruptive, abusive, threatening, harassing, or intimidating” speech.
It’s unclear if the new policy will be enforced.
It’s unclear how many users are affected by the new rule and who could be punished.
However, according to a recent survey of 3,000 LGBT individuals conducted by the LGBT rights organization Stonewall, 70 percent reported having received a warning, with another 29 percent reporting receiving a suspension, and one in five reporting being banned from their social media accounts.
According to the survey, nearly two-thirds of LGBT people reported experiencing harassment or discrimination online and one-third reported being blocked from social media entirely or suspended from their accounts altogether.
The Office for the Civil Rights is currently reviewing the rule to ensure it does not discriminate against the LGBT community, according the AP.