Gender transitioning is a deeply personal journey for every trans person. And two publications are in hot water with trans activists after reposting transgender people’s “before and after” transition photos without permission.
Earlier this week, viral media website Bored Panda published a piece featuring dozens of transgender men and women’s gender transitionings. Ripping photos from Instagram and the subreddit r/transtimelines, the article featured photos reposted without permission and watermarked with Bored Panda’s URL. Trans activists quickly condemned the gallery, arguing that the site was exploiting trans people’s bodies for pageviews.
Hey @boredpanda , have you considered asking people before using their images in your 70+ trans transitions??— Kate (@uhh_kate) August 15, 2017
After ongoing complaints from users, Bored Panda took down the article. But the original post has since taken on a life of its own. Daily Mail later reposted the photos, commenting on each person’s transitioning. The article, which still remains up, has faced backlash online as well.
https://t.co/SLoivVSyzG— Lone (@lonelytiefling) August 16, 2017
NOW THE FUCKING DAILY MAIL IS DOING IT TOO
For many trans people, sites like r/transtimelines offer hope for their own transitioning—they also let trans people share their stories at their own pace. After Bored Panda’s and Daily Mail’s exploitive articles, trans users are likely more wary of posting their transitioning, out of fear that their pre- and post-transition photos could be shared across the internet and treated like a sideshow of curiosities—not to mention put them in danger.
“Trans people’s transition timelines are very often highly sensitive and private, and while they were technically uploaded to the internet to be seen, the intention of this is most often just for friends and acquaintances to see,” Twitter user lonelytiefling, who was one of the first to point out the Daily Mail article, told the Daily Dot. “Lifting them to be shown to the internet at large makes a big breach of privacy.”
This is why I'm super hesitant to put progress photos up even though I would love to be the inspiration others were for me back in the day.— j o r d a n (@TheRavenousDyke) August 15, 2017
Jeepers. Puts one off posting pictures on Reddit. Many papers buy content off The Daily Mail so this will end up all over the place.— Anna Smith (@annaRoseShadow) August 16, 2017
“I don’t think for a second the Daily Mail really cares,” lonelytiefling said. “The point of the article is emotionally manipulative clickbait—they also directly stole the idea from Bored Panda to start with.”
H/T Shon Faye
Editor’s note: Lonelytiefling is a friend of reporter Ana Valens.