Cyberpunk 2077 Tweets Transphobic Joke, Studio Apologises 'To All Those Offended'

The official Cyberpunk 2077 Twitter account courted controversy yesterday after a tweet that some considered transphobic. This is not the first time that a CD Projekt Red-affiliated Twitter account has needed to apologise for a tweet.

Responding to a fan on Twitter yesterday, the official Cyberpunk 2077 Twitter account referenced an internet meme mocking transgender people.

“Did you just assume their gender,” the tweet said. The account was responding to a fan saying that they wanted more from the “guys” at Gamescom. CD Projekt Red is currently showing Cyberpunk 2077 at the event.

While the tweet is not explicitly transphobic, the meme being referenced is largely used to belittle or demean the concerns of transgender people. Much like saying how you’ve decided to identify as an attack helicopter is a way to mock transgender folks, this phrase is meant to mock the supposedly fragile egos of “tumblrinas” and social justice warriors.

It isn’t clear whether or not the employee responsible intended it as offensive. The tweet was later deleted and an apology issued.

“Sorry to all those offended by one of the responses sent out from our account earlier,” a tweet on the official Cyberpunk 2077 Twitter account said. “Harming anyone was never our intention.”

CD Projekt Red did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

By itself, this is just a PR faux-pas, but this is not the first time a CD Projekt Red-related Twitter account has posted questionable content.

Last July, the official Twitter account for GOG, the game storefront owned by CD Projekt, tweeted an animated GIF from Postal 2: Paradise Lost depicting the main character urinating on a tombstone marked Games Journalism. The date on the tombstone, 28 August 2014, was a reference to GamerGate. The tweet was later deleted.

At the time, I asked GOG’s Head of Global Communications Łukasz Kukawski about their vetting process for social media managers.

“There is no process per se,” Kukawski said via email. “We’re working closely in the team, and usually if there are any doubts regarding communication we simply talk about it. Unfortunately, sometimes things slip unnoticed, like in this case. Mistakes happen, we’ll just make sure they don’t repeat.”


Comments

    It's a light-hearted joke mocking a certain type of people, none the less it probably should not have been posted on an official account like that. Could be the person who runs it forgot to log out of the official account and log into their personal one.

      Agreed. I personally think the joke is light-hearted, but I would say it is a polarizing joke. So best to not use it in a professional setting.

      That's not even a "transphobic joke"... that's literally a meme, because on the internet you either assume someone's gender or you make the far worse call of basically calling someone an "it". If someone's offended by that, I think they might need a few classes in Internet and English Literacy at the 100 levels. I think the headline was fairly misleading. I was expecting something far worse than "Did you assume my gender?" and ended up with something that I rolled my eyes at.

      Why doesn't Kotaku report on Battle Chasers not delivering its Kickstarter rewards instead and misrepresenting what it was going to deliver as well as people waiting months for refunds? The public forums are flooded with complaints... It's much more interesting than a meme.

      Yeah, this is exactly right. Either what you said happened or the writer got a little too much into the persona and forgot they were an official account, can easily happen with a well run account.
      Well run social media accounts tend to have a persona whereas less well run are more boring and therefor more stable.

      So based on the recent discussions here, 'the person who runs it forgot to log out of the official account and log into their personal one, AND THEN THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN FIRED'

      right guys? because I saw you all arguing very passionately over the GW2 issue.

      you wouldn't want to be hypocritical or anything, would you?

      'oh but she was insulting a specific person INSTEAD OF TENS OF THOUSANDS BECAUSE THAT MAKES IT OK'

        Except they weren't really insulting trans people, were they? They were referring to a meme that mocks over the top hypersensitivity, which is applicable to more than trans issues in its incarnation as a meme. Using "OH BUT PEOPLE ARE OFFENDED BY THE MEME" is exactly the point that the meme makes, because a reasonable person knows that the meme isn't having a go at them or their gender, but the hypersensitivity of a certain and specific niche group of activists who usually aren't even trans. Ergo, your average person doesn't care if someone is offended by the meme... because the odds are that person is offended by everything anyway, which is how the meme came to be in the first place.

        In the GW2 matter, the female writer was an out and out sexist who was harassing a male customer for the sole reason that he was a male after he asked a simple question. She made a targeted attack on someone because of their sex and gender and thought she would get away with it. In this case, the person running the account made a joke and they weren't harassing someone for their gender and sex after they were asked a question. Apples and oranges with two entirely different set of circumstances.

          It's good to hear a trans person speak up!

          Because you ARE a trans person, right? Speaking on behalf of all trans people?

          Otherwise you're a pretty yucky kind of a person to be making those assertions.

          That's because plenty of trans people DO find that meme offensive because, despite neckbeards claiming 'the meaning has changed' for THEM, the meaning has not changed for many trans people.

          Not everyone is a 12 year old memelord. The 'joke' is STILL about trans people, no matter the 'extended meaning' it has.

          So using the hardship of trans people as a way to insult 'SJWs' really isn't any better than just insulting them outright.

          But hey, I'm pretty sure you don't care ;)

            And you are? Or are you one of the people I've mentioned who aren't even trans but are the ones the meme references in the first place? Some busybody activist speaking on behalf of others as if they aren't capable of having or expressing their own opinions? I think that's more insulting towards them than a meme. Why don't you direct trans people here to make their views known then?

            The point remains that the meme did exactly what the meme was about - offend hypersensitive people who are offended over everything to the point of censoring others. And those aren't people whose opinions I place a particularly great deal of weight on when they cry wolf over thin air.

            You don't speak for every trans person and nor do I. I don't claim to speak for every trans person, but here you are asserting that thousands of trans people are offended by a meme against hypersensitive activists who usually aren't even trans in the first place. I'll believe it when I see it, but I don't have to take your word for it when it's such blatantly unreasonable behaviour from people I assume to be reasonable by default. The meme was never about trans people. It was about people like you, which is why I can't see reasonable trans people being terribly upset by it when it was mocking their faux defenders and not them at all.

            But hey, I can see why you'd be upset by it. It's a meme that was always about you after all and exerting the self control to just ignore it and go about your life is probably just too much for you.

            ...Look i can see both sides of this, yes i'm sure some people will be offended by this, an yes trans people endure a lot of hardship.
            However that joke specifically mocks the part of "social justice" culture that infuriates people, the endless indignation and rage that some people think they have the right to spew just because they are trans, or any number of other gender-things (honestly i don't remember the list, I'm just going to hope people understand what i mean and don't do what i just mentioned).

            I mean the one thing about that kind of person that i never get is how a person can act so high and mighty while abusing some random person on the internet for making a mistake, not even a mistake just something that used to be fine and has now been deemed unacceptable by a certain group.
            But indignation is almost always is rife with hypocrisy so what does one expect. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

            Have a nice day :)

        So based on the recent discussions here, 'the person who runs it forgot to log out of the official account and log into their personal one, AND THEN THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN FIRED'

        right guys? because I saw you all arguing very passionately over the GW2 issue.

        No. Not at all. These incidents are not even remotely related other than occurring on twitter. One one hand you had a lunatic game dev who insulted and berated a customer for daring to reply to her whereas here you have a lighthearted joke some morons have had a hissy fit over. The fact you are comparing the two shows you are desperately grasping at straws. Jessica price was in the wrong. End of story.

        you wouldn't want to be hypocritical or anything, would you?

        There is no hypocrisy here, Only the one you are making up in your head.

        Seriously, You are why this meme exists. You go from 0-100 over a meme. If you are offended by a meme then dont look at it. Why should we have to self-sensor based on your beliefs?

          Seriously, You are why this meme exists. You go from 0-100 over a meme. If you are offended by a meme then dont look at it. Why should we have to self-sensor based on your beliefs?

          Why? Because you're being a scumbag. Assuming you're correct (and you're not) but assuming you are, even by your own standards, you're simply cheering on a meme that is simply create to bully, belittle and insult people.

          So no, you don't need to 'self-censor'. Feel free to desperately express your need to insult.

          But quit whining when people point out you're being a hypocritical scumbag.

      It's not a light hearted joke. It's a 'joke' specifically intended to ridicule and invalidate something that is, for many people, an extremely serious issue, and which was rapidly taken up by people who genuinely, truly despise trans people. And all this takes place in the context of a society that has sections which are becoming much more vocal about their dislike of people based on race, gender, sexuality, etc.

      Maybe it was intended to be light hearted, but anyone who is capable of understanding the notion of 'context' will know that it will always be something much more sinister.

    'Supposedly fragile egos...'

    I think you mean 'evidently'.

      I'm sure you think you speak for all trans people and can make a decision on their behalf on how to react, but I'm not so sure...

        And how many people complaining to Projekt Red did just that?

        If you read the quote in the article it is referring to the reaction of tumblrinas/sjw's not trans people.

    It sure triggered the hell out of me.

    :’(

      I'm trying to figure out why my comment was removed but yours is still here haha

      Isn't that mocking people with PTSD?

    FFS. I can't stand the internet sometimes. Everyone that read that tweet knew what meme it was in reference to.

    I always considered the "Did you just assume their gender?!" meme was not actually mocking transgender people... But mocking those, transgender or not, who legitimately ask that question of people in what is usually a hostile manner.

    I sort of wonder how much it pisses actual transgender people off when people jump in to 'defend' them with shit like that.

      I generally see it as mocking people who jump straight to frothing at the mouth because you called someone he/she in correctly or similar.

      I had someone go from 0-100 because I referred to a cosplayer as "she" even though she identifies as something else. I told the person to fuck off.

      I respect people's right to indentify as whatever they want to. It does not effect me so I have no right to tell them different. But I should not have to self censor or be magically psychic just to fit in with your identity.

      Seriously, if you are a trans person and you get pissed off at a person using the incorrect pronoun according to your definitions, you are creating a problem that does not need to exist. You just come off as being an arsehole to someone who is not psychic.

        Absolutely, if someone looks female an average person will assume they're female and use she/her. If that person is (or identifies) as male and they politely say "I'm male please use he/him" then fair enough. But if they have a rage attack because you're somehow expected to magically know they're *not* female they can go to hell. It's not transphobia, they're just an asshole.

        As for the tweet. I honestly think they should stand by it. It's a joke, it's not nasty, they're not being "evil". About that only problem I'd have with it is they don't actually address the issue of lack of female characters. So, make the joke, but temper it with actual discussion of how many female characters they do have in the game.

          The original tweeter was responding to a tweet from CDProjekt talking about gamescom starting with a picture of two developers. The tweeter was asking for more details/information at gamescom from the "guys" (develepors). Female representation in the game isnt' part of this story.

            Ah ok. That makes sense I guess. I read that article above and the tweet in isolation. To me I interpreted it as the person asking for more women in the game, not more information about the game.

            That makes the joke a bit more transphobic or rather homophobic (or both).

              That was due to a comma that was missing. hence the response.

              It's nothing but a joke, based on the typo

        I am reminded of Dave Chapelle saying something similar: after being chastised by a trans person for using the wrong pronoun - “to what extent am I obligated to participate in your self identity” (I don’t think those are the exact words, but it sums up the sentiment)

      This was my take too, though I sort of agree it isn't appropriate coming from such a public Twitter account. The meme is directed at people who immediately take offence to innocent misunderstanding - the kind of person who screams "HOW DARE YOU I'M OFFENDED SHITLORD" instead of "Hey please use female pronouns when referring to me" in the first instance. It's aimed at the kind of people with nothing to do except troll Twitter being offended by everything they see.

      The same goes for the 'attack helicopter' meme IMO which is a caricature of Tumblr blogs where people post ridiculous sexual identities that make absolutely no sense and aren't remotely legitimate. ("I identify as Amigender/Adamsgender but also Apagender, and Markiplier-kin.")

        So, basically what you're both saying is that the tweet triggered those exact people who get triggered and get made fun of.

        I'm not surprised lol.

      Exactly. The joke is making fun of the extreme do-gooders who perform language contortions in order to ensure universal inclusivity!

      You know where I first heard that "assume their gender" joke - my teenage kids!!! The super sensitive types who are currently running the zeitgeist might get a rude shock when the cultural pendulum snaps back!

    I understand that many trans people experience gender mis-identification or assumption, but this was clearly a dig at those people who are stridently militant in condemning what are (mostly) innocent remarks. Unless we have to start referring to everyone as 'they' (eugh) until we learn their gender identity, I don't see how to avoid innocent mistakes. Happens all the time when talking about babies.

      It annoys the hell out of me. I've said this plenty of times, but offence is in the intent, not the action. Yet people seem to feel they have the right to overinterpret whats said, just to make it offensive in some way. When, as you say, they're mostly innocent.

      There was clearly no intent to offend here, its jus a play on a meme and no more. People need to stop reading more into things like this than there is, its killing society.

        As they say, offense is taken, not given.

        Offense is in both the intent, and the impact. If you just use impact no-one can speak freely. If you just use intent everyone can be freely and deliberately offensive while avoiding any repercussions for their behaviour. Neither of those options are good.

          The problem is that basically everything can be construed as offensive by someone. I think it doesn't become an Offence (pun intended) unless there is intent. And it's pretty easy to gauge that because the person who said it genuinely apologises if someone complains.

          https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DJxFeQtXkAARxb-.jpg:large

          I'd much rather allow people to be offensive (free speech) and take them to task if something is offensive than block people from saying stuff (censorship is evil).

            The problem with saying that "anything can be construed as offensive by anybody" (which is technically true) is that it carries the implication that "therefore nothing is objectively offensive", which is an argument that every single intently offensive person to try to get away with it.

            Similarly, saying that "offence is taken, not given" places the burden of keeping the peace squarely on the victim's shoulders. Yes, it may discourage people from overreacting, but in cases where there's real offence, all it does is allow the perpetrator to remain unchallenged and keep attempting to harm people.

            Rather that using such blanket statements, it's better if each occurrence is analysed in a case-by-case manner.

            Lastly, "censorship is evil" is an absolutism that is not rooted in anything but feeling. While yes, in most cases censorship is used by those with power to stop people from calling out their misdeeds, there are cases where speech is so intent and capable of bringing harm that it needs to be silenced:

            Imagine a random person saying that you are subhuman, a blight for society and that humanity would be better if you ceased existing. Now imagine that he's a vigorous, loud and able speaker and manages to capture the attention of increasingly more and more people who slowly start agreeing with him. How long until one of the more unbalanced members of his audience decided to move from word to action? And then who'd be blamed and punished? Under an "absolute free speech" mentality, only the person who did you in will suffer consequences while the speaker is free to choose and harass a new victim.

              You missed the last line of my statement. I didn't say there shouldn't be consequences for saying something people don't like. I just don't think we should be trying to *stop* people from saying what they want.

              If you don't like the joke that they made in the article then boycott the game.

              And I absolutely believe censorship is evil. Doesn't matter what's being censored *. Even hate speech *should* be allowed. For a couple reasons. Rational thinking people will realise it's hate speech and act against the speaker. Which harks back to my previous statement about consequences. Secondly, it becomes difficult to discern the difference between legitimate comments and hateful (or just distasteful) ones. We already see stuff like websites on planned parency being blocked by over zealous filtering because they discuss abortion. Censorship is not the answer.

              In your example about a speaker inciting someone to violence that would actually be covered. There are already laws about regarding incitement to violence.

              * I'm referred to what *adults* can see/hear not children. I have no problems restricting kids access to content.

                If you don't like the joke that they made in the article then boycott the game.

                Sure, I can do that. However, see how you are squarely putting the burden on the people being offended? Why must be the offender be protected while demands are asked from the victims? I understand that this particular case is in enough of a gray zone not to think that the poor taste joke was made with full ill intention, but what about when they are? Should an intentional offender be let alone, free to keep spewing harmful things while we demand the victims to turn and walk away to preserve the peace?

                Moreover, even when a person not truly intentionally makes a poor taste joke about people who are already a common target for true abuse, they are unwittingly collaborating to create a social landscape where those people being the butt of jokes and abuse is socially acceptable. So even if you were really "just joking" you need to be called out on it, and if you have any compassion and decency in you, you'll understand and apologise. That is NOT censorship.

                In your example about a speaker inciting someone to violence that would actually be covered. There are already laws about regarding incitement to violence.

                Indeed. There are already extremes which are properly regulated by the law. Note that this fact alone means that an /absolute/ observance of non-censorship is not feasible. There is speech which is definitely harmful and needs NOT to be free.

                Now, following my past example, let's try a slightly less obvious scenario: let's say that the abuser in question doesn't go as far as plainly stating that you need to disappear or suffer violence. Still, he constantly feeds his growing audience with the beliefs that you are a cancer to society. That many of the issues experienced by other people are directly or partially caused by you. he may even end this rants saying "I don't condone violence, but man, I almost feel like making an exception". Do you think that such propaganda would not eventually end with the same result as an outright incitement to violence? Note that these scenarios presuppose that there are people /who already hate you/ (i.e. racists, homophobic, etc in our metaphor) and really, all they need is to be told that their hate is warranted in order to consider taking action.

                Tell me: how does it benefit not only you in this example, but society in general to allow that speaker to remain unchallenged? Why does a principled stance on censorship override common sense in cases where real consequences to real people are at the stake?

                  I'll never believe that a person should be 100% responsible for censoring their own words all the time as you seem to advocate. It makes communication impossible. There should be a burden on the listener not just the speaker when it comes to offense.

                  When it comes to 1 on 1 speech you can't expect a person to intuit every single possible word, phrase or subject that might cause offense so it's up to the person listening to raise issue if/when it does. I don't think it's unfair for a person to censor themselves if a person they're talking to raises an issue. But only when speaking to them not other people.

                  When it comes to speaking to a group I think it's more difficult, but you can take a similar approach. Just that it needs to be a consensus about what is offensive. If 1 in 10 people find something offensive why should the speaker censor themselves? The majority of the group is happy.

                  Lets flip your scenario, what about all the leftist social rights people who are advocating death to Trump or similar? You do realise that if you censor comments you censor both sides of the argument. Or at least you should. No speaker should remain unchallenged, but they should be allowed to speak. If that was not allowed you wouldn't actually have progressive social change in the first place, there'd have been no womens rights movement, no gay rights, no black rights and so on.

            (Responding back to this one because your latest comment tree went down as far as it could)

            I could agree with a shared burden between speaker and listener. Note that I specifically said that cases must be judged on their own merits. In the same way that I criticize an absolute "non-censorship" stance, I wouldn't support an absolute stance on listener's entitlement.

            That's why I used words such as decency and compassion: when you are in a 1-to-1 conversation things that the other person may say and offend you personally may be said unwittingly, or can be a case of ignorance or simply a difference of experiences between the two. Compassion and decency then should make the offended party calmly and patiently communicate that what was said was offensive and why and subsequently should make the offender acknowledge it and strive to omit such references while talking to the other person. Then the conversation can follow course.

            Regarding this, I also want to encourage you to reflect for yourself that many things that you feel are overreactions of oversensitive people may actually be genuine: your point of view on the world is not shared and definitely is not the "right" one (there is not a single one that is). The experiences that shaped the other person, which overwhelmingly are societal issues that also shape other people like them--but not you, made certain things that are normal to you legitimately harmful for them. I know that you may be thinking that surely they could just "get over it" as you have gotten over whatever inconveniences in your life, but in truth, you may be speaking from a point of privilege where you haven't actually experienced systemic discrimination to that level. Hell, some white men are experiencing for the very first time ever what is to be discriminated--just a little--and boy, do they overreact.

            No speaker should remain unchallenged, but they should be allowed to speak. If that was not allowed you wouldn't actually have progressive social change in the first place, there'd have been no womens rights movement, no gay rights, no black rights and so on.

            Again, that's why I said that things must be judged case by case. I don't swallow the idea that in order to allow the discriminated to have a voice, we also need to allow clearly bad people (including those discriminating others) have a voice too. That presupposes that both sides are equal, only different. It shouldn't really be so hard to figure who deserves to be heard between a group that wants the erasure of some people's rights and a group that wants to protect or restore such rights

              The problem with your statement is that you're imposing your values (whether they conform to societies current values or not is irrelevant) on the decision. I firmly believe there is no absolute moral law, we live in an amoral universe and we're imposing our own decisions on what is "good" and "bad". As such those values change over time within society as a whole and within different communities.

              I don't think it's fair to say something is "clearly bad" since community values can change in either direction. Look at age of consent, it's changed drastically over time. Was someone who had sex with a 14 year old in the 1600s a monster? By todays standards they were, but not then since the age of consent was 12 for girls and 14 for boys. Look at prohibition, people were happy with alcohol, then they wanted alcohol banned, then they didn't again.

              These things can't change without people talking about them. And at the time society (or large portions of it) wouldn't have been happy with people even talking about the change. So I don't think it's fair to apply our moral standards to block people's free speech. Otherwise we'd never get positive societal change.

              The trade off with that is yes we have to hear people spouting horrible ideas too. It's up to the individual to decide whether the ideas have merit.

                I disagree. The universe may be inherently amoral but society is not. And definitely it is true that society's values are continuously changing... but there's an identifiable trend in this change: Through the centuries, society has become more inclusive, more compassionate, more respectful of the individual and less observant of arbitrary values of "normalcy". It has moved from God-given "one size fits all" commandments to laws that understand that basic rights are owed to all humans regardless of their differences. The results to society have been undeniable good. That's what a society's "morals" are.

                The trade off with that is yes we have to hear people spouting horrible ideas too. It's up to the individual to decide whether the ideas have merit.

                I have already touched upon this but here it is again: If you leave it up to the individual to go "DrakeNope.jpg" to objectively malignant speech, the perpetrators are left alone to perpetuate it. Sure, by clogging my ears and chanting "lalala", I preserve my peace of mind; however, in the meantime, those people are gathering followers, strengthening their position and attempting to earn legitimacy. Ask the Wiemar Republic how their apathetic tolerance of early National Socialists' hateful rhetoric worked out.

          Almost misread what you posted :) Yeah, impact plays as much a part, but it needs both intent and impact. Not one or the other. My gripe is that too many people think its just impact. Which you cant control.

          You can discriminate or offend someone without using any trigger words, which to me is worse. You're going out of your way to insult someone.

          I was on the wrong side of it as a kid. My grandmother was a German Jew during WW2 (she got through, most of her extended family didn't), which gave plenty of ammunition. This isn't something I debate without personal experience in.

          The worst insults I still remember today had no trigger words, but it was clear what the intent was. There was intent and impact. That was offensive, not someone calling me a kraut at the pub.

    It took me a while to figure this out because I read "I want more guys" followed by "#gamescom starts as #E3 ended - checking Twitter" with a picture of two guys next to it and thought that was the joke gone wrong. (ie. Being facetious about wanting a larger male presence in times where diversity is a hot topic)

    I never realised that "Did you assume their gender" was actually an attempt to belittle the concerns of non-binary gendered (terminology?) people. I always take it to be a reminder to be aware that not everyone appreciates being labelled with binary gender labels. (eg. Like we use "She's the cat's mother" to chide people for using impersonal terminology)

    Its amazing to watch how quickly Kotaku commenters will dive in to defend or explain away transphobic remarks.

      Your reply is why this type of mocking exists. It's not mocking trans people. It's mocking the miltant types who jump straight to volcano eruption levels of anger over the innocent mistake or referring to someone as he or she. Seriously, if you think using the words he or she are offensive because we aren't psychic and don't know what you or others identify as you need to get over yourselves.

      I strongly support trans rights. I am strongly against subcultures in trans attempting to police speech.

        Yep, that's pretty much it.

        If someone politely asks me to stop using 'he' or 'she', I'll just as politely tell them to frack off.

          If someone politely asks you to use a different term, and you tell them to frack off, you're an arsehole. That's not what djbear was saying at all.

            Looks like it was ZJ...

            Its policing speech to shut down generic terms in this way. I don't think that's acceptable, and will react to it. It doesn't make the issue go away, and only makes it worse as you build resentment in others. I don't go out of my way to cause a situation like this, I think everyone has the right to live how they want, but don't for a second try to force those decisions onto me.

            Little story for you. I am German. I was wearing a shirt with the German flag colors on it during the World Cup. Less said about Germanys efforts the better... But I had an indigenous Australian yell at me for wearing it, because wearing the red/black/yellow colors was appropriating their heritage. She chased me up the street to yell at me, how do you think that works?

            Were they right? Was the fact the Aboriginal flag had only been around since the 70's enough to trump the German use starting 200 years earlier? Should I accept that condemnation and not wearing the colors of MY heritage any more, because someone has appropriated them for their own use?

            Of course not. So what should I do? Ignoring her didn't work, she chased me for 5 minutes. Clearly theres no offence intended, its the colors of a national flag. And the way she carried on was only ever going to piss me off. Luckily a mate that worked security moved her on, but it wasn't fun to deal with in the middle of a CBD.

              It's not policing speech for someone to ask you to refer to them in a particular way. If Katherine wants you to call her Kat because she hates her full name, then you call her Kat. If a trans person wants you to refer to them as 'she' instead of 'he', then you refer to them as 'she'. It's just basic courtesy and if you purposely choose to use a term knowing they've politely asked you not to, then you're intentionally bothering them and that does make you the arsehole.

                That's not what I was referring to. There have been several reports in recent weeks asking workplaces to stop using the terms 'he' and 'she' at all. Not in reference to an individual, but in the workplace as a standard.

                One of those reports was some defence force, so it wasn't just Kat from accounting preferring a shortened version of her name.

                dj below points out someone asking them directly to not refer to HIMSELF as male, and as derrick points out, its becoming problematic.

                Whats next? We stop calling ourselves humans, because the word has man in it?

                  If I misinterpreted your post, I apologise. I read it as if someone politely asked you to refer to them as 'he' or 'she' that you would politely refuse.

                  @ZJ - maybe take a little more time to review what was said instead of jumping on the offense straight away.

                  Pretty sure CDPRs 'Assume their gender post' was targeted at people reacting not dissimilar to how you just reacted.
                  Kudos for backing up with an apology none the less

                  @mucktard I did read what he said, I didn't jump to anything, nor was I offended. His post as written can be interpreted either way.

                  @zombiejesus all good. Its something easily misinterpreted, can see how you'd read it that way. I know I'm pretty opinionated on this, and never really get my point across properly anyway, so its not surprising :)

                  Its a topic that needs debating IMO anyway, but as you've shown, easily to misinterpret. So needs to be done carefully.

                  Thanks for the apology.

                  To be fair, the use of "or" instead of "and" in the original post does make it read more like what ZJ thought than what you describe here.

                A name is very different to sex-based pronouns. A man is a man, and a woman is a woman.

                The transgender movement has it so backward. If gender is interpreted and expressed by the individual, then it shouldn't matter what people call you.

                If they really want to implement the change to social consciousness that they desire, they need to take a different approach. Instead of changing their pronouns to the opposite sex, change society's idea of what it MEANS to be a man and a woman and crack that wide open.

                Why can't a man wear a dress and make-up and still be accurately referred to as a man? Why can't a woman wear her hair short and dress in a more masculine way and still be referred to as a woman.

                The movement needs to step away from trying to literally switch between genders, and toward opening up freedom of gender expression within the bounds of biological sex.

                  At its heart, they're both about referring to someone the way they want to be referred to. It's their choice, it's basic courtesy to respect that choice, and it's being an arsehole to know how they want to be called and still use language that bothers them instead.

                  Gendered behaviour/preferences and gender identification are different things with an established psychological understanding. Stripping behaviour of gendered preconceptions is of course a great thing, but it doesn't really have much bearing on what gender someone identifies as internally. Gender dysphoria, which affects many (but not all) trans people, goes far beyond 'I like girly things even though I was born a boy'. GD is a good starting point to researching the issues that trans people face, if you're interested in understanding the broad transgender picture.

                  They can! Men in dresses are Scotsmen!

                  (waits for outrage from people because of the joke).

                  I find it interesting that woman can and do dress more masculinely and no one bats an eye (for the most part) but a guy in a dress... people's brains explode.

                  My thoughts exactly, they have defined there gender based on a combination of what societal norms expect from the genders and there own interpretation.

                  There is no right or wrong way to be a man or woman, different society's will have different norms to others in one they may fit the male norms another bitter or the female norms.

                I think your comparison is a bit off. There's a major difference between someone calling somebody a preffered nickname as opposed to somebody correcting you on their pro-noun or gender.

                For example, I've got a few heavily religious friends who feel uncomfortable calling a man a woman, and vice versa. should they be forced to change? Because that's effectively policing their speech. Or even the scientific community, some might refuse simply on the basis that you don't get to choose what you identify as, only what you're given at birth.

                  To answer your question, yes they should, and no I maintain it wouldn't be policing speech. To be clear, discrimination isn't actually a feature of most any major religion today, in many it's expressly opposed (including Christianity). I respect people's rights to choose their own religion and I don't consider religious people bigots in general, but bigots can be religious as they can anything else and religion isn't a shield that bigots should be able to hide behind. The idea that all people should be treated with an even baseline courtesy and respect regardless of their ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or anything else really shouldn't be foreign to the majority of reasonable people, religious or otherwise.

                  I've never heard anyone in the scientific community (with relevant expertise) object to calling someone by their preferred pronoun because there's broad scientific consensus that gender is goes beyond primary sex characteristics and that mental gender can differ from genetic gender not just from environmental factors but biological ones as well. For example, multiple studies have identified that the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis in the brain, an area where sexual dimorphism is quite prominent, show that male-to-female trans people have subdivisions much closer to cis women than to cis men. There are other studies that show similar results, as well as statistical data (eg. that in twins, it's far more likely that both twins will be transgender than that one will be trans and the other not).

              Two things, did you tell her it was the German flag and she ignored that?

              And she's in the wrong for assuming your race too. I assume you look white, but that doesn't mean you have no aboriginal ancestry.

              Pity this sort of racism only works one way.

                Yeah, pointed it out, she just ranted. What made it funny (if it could be) was an Aboriginal mate of mine was sitting 20 feet away having lunch and watching the whole thing.

                Didn't realise he was there til a couple of days later when I had a beer with him. It was really only after sitting down and talking to him that I realised how much it had pissed me off actually.

                He's very proudly Aboriginal and as a lawyer does plenty of work for Aboriginal rights around here, and even he was surprised at the reaction. And yet not surprised, if you know what I mean.

          I once had someone say I'm not allowed to call myself male and said I am only allowed to call myself cis. I also politely told them frack off.

            Yeah I find the cis terminology extremely problematic hey. Like, if someone self-identifies as that, sure go right ahead. But if everyone has the right to choose their own gender and there's no set options and you can be whatever you want etc etc, then surely for that to have any meaning whatsoever it has to apply to everyone. Insisting that someone is cis when they identify as straight or haven't specifically labelled their own identity seems inconsistent.

              Cisgender just means that your biological and identified gender are the same, it's the opposite of transgender. If you're biologically male and you identify as male, then you're a cis man. If you're biologically male and you identify as female, then you're a trans woman.

                Considering historical precedent if you're "Cis male" then you should just be able to call yourself male. We've been using the term male (or man or he or him) to refer to that for god knows how long. We shouldn't be expected to use a new term (cis male) for something that's already long established.

                I'm with djbear on this one. If someone tells me I have to call myself cis male not just male they can go to hell.

                  I've never heard anyone insist that someone use 'cis' instead of 'male', personally. I agree it would be strange.

                  This is a reply to @zombiejesus.

                  Its happened to me several times. And most times in fan groups. Its happened to me several times where they have introduce yourself threads and i have introduced my self and used "Male" to describe my gender only to be told i am not allowed to use such a term and insisted i use "Cis gender" because by calling myself male i am somehow insulting and bullying transgender people.

                  I wont name the fan groups this has occurred in because a majority of the people in it are good people. Its just a few who use either them being trans or protective of trans as a weapon to wield against others who don't conform with their rules.

            I'm just going to reply to you here so I don't bug skrybe too much but it's a reply to your comment below about getting the cis/male thing a lot in certain communities. I'm sorry you've had that experience, obviously, so don't take it the wrong way when I ask - are you sure they were being serious when they said that and weren't tongue-in-cheek or making what they thought was a light joke?

            I know there are of course well-meaning people that take things too far, and bitter people who look for any reason to jump on someone, but I have genuinely never seen anyone say something along those lines that wasn't either someone trying (poorly) to make a joke, or a troll deliberately playing an exaggerated role to try to cast 'the other side' in the worst light possible (false flag, basically).

              (Responding to this comment further up “To answer your question, yes they should, and no I maintain it wouldn't be policing speech…”)

              Courtesy shown towards individuals isn't a human right, however the ability to hold and live by religious conviction, or any personal convictions for that matter, is a right.

              Religious 'bigotry' isn't a minority viewpoint either. The opposite is true: For the majority of religious practice throughout the world there are only two recognised genders and the only acceptable form of sexual relationship is within heterosexual marriage. This is true of the vast majority of Sikhs, Muslims, traditional Catholics, Evangelicals etc. etc.

              Forcing people to refer to individuals in a way that contradicts their religious beliefs, particularly in a non-professional situation, overrides their freedom of thought, conscience and religion - defined as a human right according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 18 and 19, you might want to look that up).

              You are essentially arguing that the feelings of transgendered people should override the human rights of others.

              Last edited 29/08/18 10:43 am

                Those aren't actual religious doctrines, they either don't appear at all in relevant sacred texts or were specifically contradicted by later teachings (such as in the case of the bible). And bigotry is not a protected right regardless of religious freedom. No religion is entitled to break the law, nor should they be, and that includes harassment.

                Welcome to Kotaku.

        I think you'd be hard pressed to find anyone actually reacting that way to an innocent misidentification. The phrase didn't originate from actual use, its original appearance was to mock. Or in other words, it's not actually reflective of what the actual community supporting trans rights thinks, but it is intended to mock that community.

        It may not seem like it, but stuff like this and the 'attack helicopter' one isn't just mocking militants in isolation, it harms the general discourse on trans rights, because it starts to be used to joke away/dismiss normal trans rights conversations as well, and not just the militant edge.

        One of the communities I help moderate has several trans members, and we've semi-regularly had to shut down idiots who start spouting the 'assume' and 'attack helicopter' shit just because someone said "I'm a 'she' actually, I'm trans and identify as a woman". They're not being rude about it, they're not jumping down anyone's throat, they of course understand that nobody knows what their preferred pronouns are before they're told. They just politely communicate what their preference is, and that's the kind of shitty response they get.

        I know it may seem light-hearted, and it may seem like it's mocking only a narrow and seemingly 'deserving' type of behaviour, but please at least consider the knock-on effect it has. I really don't think this is something worth defending here. And even if you don't agree on that, I'm sure we can at least agree that it's just plain common sense to leave that kind of thing off an official Twitter account.

          I think the attack helicopter meme is more a response to the types who identify as non human beings or mythical beings and not trans people. Because there are some types out there who legitimately identify as wolves and dragons and expect people to respect that decision. Those are the types being mocked with the attack helicopter meme.

            I don't doubt that they both originated in response to the more extreme edge of the spectrum, but in practice they're used dismissively across a much wider range. That's why I personally hold the view I do on them, because I've seen my trans friends try to have polite conversations or even talk a little about their rights, and be effectively shut down by these memes being used dismissively. Obviously all our experiences are different, but watching that happen in real-time really bothered me and changed my mind on whether they really are harmless or narrowly targeted.

              Strange, because my trans friends also use these memes to parody the extreme end you mentioned above... Different strokes.

                Of course some people may be okay with it individually, everyone's different. I will note though that self-deprecating humour is a reasonably well known defence mechanism, the same way people of minority ethnicities make fun of their own ethnicity as a way of trying to fit in and seem less 'other' so they're targeted less.

                  It's also been shown to be the most effective humour to make people like you. So it's a win-win.

                  @Tem It's not the most effective means, just one of many. But yes, you restated what I said, that people use self-deprecating humour to try to appeal to others and fit in. But it definitely is not win-win, since it reinforces prejudices in the majority of cases and leads to either impostor syndrome (the sense that they've defrauded their way to where they are) or self-loathing through internalised prejudice.

                  @zombiejesus On the contrary, it separates them from the stereotype, reinforcing individualism over identitarianism and reducing credibility of the stereotype (due to there being an actual example of someone subverting the stereotype).

                  I think what you are talking about is someone who is lying about who they are, whereas I am talking about someone who is confident in who they are. At which point, self deprecating humour isn't the issue, but rather where it comes from.

                  @Tem Sorry, but you're mistaken. What is the scientific basis for your assertion? It's established that self-deprecation in minorities leads to reinforcement of stereotypes and internalised prejudice. See Unpacking internalised racism (R Kohli, 2014), Cross-cultural studies of depressive orders (A Jablensky et al, 1985), Beyond internalised racism and the burden of 'acting white' (SR Harper, 2007), Internalised homophobia and internalising mental health problems (ME Newcomb et al, 2010), Internalised homophobia in lesbians (DM Szymanski et al, 2002), The relationship between internalisation and self-esteem among black adults (T Brown et al, 2012). There's a solid body of research in support of this, I can provide more papers if you'd like.

                  The articles you have linked do not refer to self deprecating humour, but rather the effect of stereotype on human behaviour. If anything self-deprecating humour seems to subvert the stereotype. The appropriate body of research for this is Expectancy violations theory.
                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expectancy_violations_theory

                  The articles I referenced cover self-deprecation (including humour) specifically in the context of minority-directed prejudice where the results are almost uniformly negative. Which paper do you think doesn't cover the topic as described? I'm familiar with EVT, which in the context of minority prejudice is generally assessed as carrying a negative valence, and an accompanying increase in uncertainty.

                  Aside from those questions, I think this line of conversation is exhausted, I'm confident your assessment is incorrect based on what I know personally as well as the input of working psychologists that I've asked for input. I don't see value in back-and-forth at this stage, although if you have any papers specifically claiming positive valence on self-deprecating humour in minority interactions with the majority, feel free to link it, as well as have any final say you'd like. I'm not going to be replying further though, this is more than a week old now.

                  I get where you are coming from with this getting old... I am a guest, so I have had this tab open all along because I can't get notifications. Anyway, I hope this elucidates my issues here:
                  Unpacking internalized racism - deals with people who feel they match the stereotype, offers no link to self deprecating humour and it's affect on the source.
                  Cross-cultural studies of depressive orders - Deals with people who are undergoing depression and the ways it manifests. Couldn't find humour mentioned anywhere there, but it would hardly be surprising if people with depression self-deprecated and seemed to note there was notably fewer depressed African-Americans than other cultural groups within the country.
                  Beyond internalised racism and the burden of 'acting white' - Deals with self-deprecation rather than self-deprecating humour. Where self deprecating is linked with self hatred and low self esteem, self deprecating humour is actually linked with better psychological wellbeing and sociability. [Is the use of humour associated with anger management? The assessment of individual differences in humour styles in Spain (Torres-Marín, Jorge, 2017)]
                  Internalised homophobia in lesbians - Again, deals only with self deprecation, does not deal with self-deprecating humour.
                  The relationship between internalisation and self-esteem among black adults - Again only deals with self deprecation, not with humour style.

                  The main issue is that people who are self-deprecated are separate from people confident in themselves enough to use self deprecation as a humour style.
                  If I was to offer a study linking the humour style to it's effects I would go with:
                  Is the use of humour associated with anger management? The assessment of individual differences in humour styles in Spain? (Torres-Marín, Jorge, 2017). Sadly not cross cultural, but due to the way humour works, people who use self deprecating humour would be part of the minority they refer to in the joke.

              The problem is you're talking about assholes being assholes. If someone uses those memes against someone who makes a polite request they're being assholes (or trying and failing to make a joke). I don't think you can dismiss a phrase or a meme just because someone abuses it. That's a slippery slope that leads to everyone being terrified to say anything for fear it's going to offend someone.

                There's no purpose to these memes other than to insult someone, it's only a question of who gets insulted. To me there's no value in that and no reason to defend it, it'd be better if it was just dropped altogether.

                  There are a lot of comedians who've said it better than me. But the aim of being offensive in humour is to point out when people are being ridiculous about something. In this case it's the people who overreact about gender pronouns. If we're allowed to make jokes about white people or straight men or any other "normal/majority" group then we should be able to make jokes about other groups.

                  After all, jokes about the Irish drinking or eating potatoes don't mean people hate the Irish. Or Kiwis banging sheep, or Aussies shagging kangaroos.

          There's a big difference between specifically responding to somebody after they identify with trans with those sorts of comments, and posting a meme in response to something without that context (i.e. context matters). The former is a clear case of trans-phobic trolling and should be punished.

          I agree that this kind of thing should be left off an official Twitter page and that comments like this have been used by people who are legitimately trans-phobic, but I think the context in which it's said matters. The meme is predominately used to mock people who legitimately fly off the handle at any comment that they can read offence into (whether intended or not). These people exist - and they're very vocal - and it's comical.

          I mean if people are allowed to have 'satirical responses' like "#cancelwhitepeople" or "male tears" without permitting offence (because it's not all guys it's just those guys) then I don't see why AH-kin and 'assumed gender' can't also be used to lampoon the extreme elements of a community.

          I wish this post has as many upvotes as some of the other posts in this comment section dismissing the issue outright..

        When did I say anything about banning pronouns? I didn't even comment on the tweet. (The fact that it has been removed is a good step. If it doesn't become a pattern, I'd say they learnt their lesson). All I did was point out how defensive so many in the comments are when an article is written about trans rights.

        The term is used mainly against LGBTIQ people to belittle their arguments whenever they use pronouns (the pronouns you are accusing me of trying to get rid of), as a way of making them look like less on an ally.

      Snoweee, people like you who take things out of context and misinterpret them are the problem. Not to mention the pathetic oversensitivity - folks on your side of these arguments seem to literally believe that words and contrary opinions are a mortal danger, as if someone being even a little "transphobic" is an existential crisis. Jesus... how about being just a little bit grateful that we're in a fairly tolerant society, which has BECOME INCREASINGLY TOLERANT OVER TIME, rather than a totalitarian regime with gas chambers and concentration camps?

        All in all snoweee, I think people like you are just ungrateful and impossible to please. Nothing is ever good enough. Society is never tolerant enough for you. You seem to have no sense of how good we actually have it, to be alive in this time rather than the dark ages, which really weren't that long ago. It's absurd.

          So what you're saying is that we should put people like Snoweee in gas chambers and concentration camps? Got it.

            Are you purposely misinterpreting everything to bother people? It's really childish.

            ^Godwins law in full effect.

            No burnside, They aren't saying that an all. And the fact you are comparing this to those horrific event makes you a gutless coward. You have the debating ability of a 2 year old child. Get off the internet.

              You're really not very good at understanding 'satire' are you? I'd use crayons but it's the internet :(

                Oh the old "It was satire guys, its all okay!"

                You are a joke of a human being. Keep living your life being outraged on behalf of others lol.

        So two things. One, there's an old Chinese torture practice called lingchi, or death by a thousand cuts. The idea is that while each single cut may seem insignificant, repetition and persistence eventually causes fatal harm. The human psyche is similar, and constant seemingly small attacks and belittlements and insults may seem individually insignificant, but build up over time to cause genuine psychological harm. Both are torture, in different forms.

        The other is that just because society is better than it used to be has no bearing on whether we should strive to make it better still. We should always strive to improve - society, our personal selves, everything. The moment you sit back on your haunches and say 'it's good enough' is the moment you give up, and that's when things stagnate or decay. The implication that just because things are better now than they used to be so we shouldn't bother trying to make it better is frankly worrying.

          I think you make a good point. However I feel that trans people have larger and more pressing issues to deal with than a badly phrased internet joke. Like the bigeted and violent people who seek to do them harm. I am not trans nor am I queer or part of any marginalized group, so my experience in this areana is verry limited. I would be verry interested for you to have one of your trans friends tell us their take on this subject. As I have not yet seen a comment in this thread from someone who actually says they are trans, just people saying my trans friend said this...
          But you are right no matter how good things are there is always room for improvement.
          (I apoligise for my poor spelling and grammar, because although I have a good vocabulary I can't spell for shit)

      No need to... The author did it for us.
      the tweet is not explicitly transphobic
      this phrase is meant to mock the supposedly fragile egos of “tumblrinas” and social justice warriors.

      MODS: I am quoting the article, not insulting people...

    Man people are such whiney babies these days.

      'Man people are such whiney babies these days' WHINES THE BABY.

    FYI, for those that have had posts deleted (don't think I have yet, but have noticed a few replies gone), just realise how charged this sort of story is. Editors are going to police it pretty strongly so it doesn't deflate into chaos. As they should.

    I must be the only person who had to google the meme because I looked at the tweet and was immediately stumped at what meme it was referencing

      Same. I didn't even realise it was a meme until it was pointed out in an article elsewhere.

    Much like saying how you’ve decided to identify as an attack helicopter is a way to mock transgender folks

    I had no idea the meme was about transgender people, i thought it was about the people that ask to be identified as non human like a dragon, a "my little pony" or whatever. First time I saw it, i thought it was playing into that whole idea and having fun with it.

    I really liked it, sucks that it offends people. :(

      That's how I interpreted it too. I suspect that like a lot of memes it grows and evolves in meaning over time. Just like a lot of concepts do.

      everything offends people these days.
      Better kick off that hate machine if you're going to roll over and dislike something because others don't.

    Jeeeeesus. People/Organisations should not be apologising for this stuff.

    i walk up and punch you in the gut. you get upset.

    "i'm sorry if you were upset by what i did earlier. making you upset wasn't my intention"

    vs

    "i'm sorry for punching you in the gut earlier. i realize now that it was a shitty thing to do and i promise i won't do it again in the future."

    which would you prefer?

    Never apologise. You only open yourself up to more harassment as it has been demonstrated countless times. It will never be good enough for the "offended". Best to just ignore and move onto the next conversation.

    It being transphobic aside, it's also just not a very good joke?

    Like, i've never once seen this joke ever be funny, every time it's usually some neckbeardy type yelling it whenever someone refers to someones gender.

    I honestly don't think i've ever seen an actual Trans (or trans-allied) person use this phrase like people claim, only shitheads who are looking to "trigger SJW's" or bully trans people.

    to the people in the thread going "it's not making fun of trans people" i get you, the joke is on the strawman hyper-feminists that barely exist, but it doesn't change that idiots use this phrase to attack actual trans people. it's the same as that god awful attack helicopter meme, it started off as a riff on otherkin stuff, but is now mostly used to bully anyone with some sort of non-binary views on gender.

    All in all, a company shouldn't be using a phrase that is also attributed to harassment, same as why you don't see many companies using pepe anymore. You guys shouldn't be getting angry at "SJW's" or "sensitive" people over this, you should be getting angry at the turds who use this stuff to make people's lives worse, they ruined this joke for you, not trans people.

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