Twitter account demands transgender pronoun compliance
by Evan Wilt
Posted 6/03/15, 02:15 pm
Amid the Twitter frenzy about Bruce Jenner’s gender switch, people have begun receiving messages from a Twitter bot called @she_not_he.
The account sends an automatic reply to Twitter users who write about Jenner using a “he” pronoun. As of Wednesday morning, the account sent 2,500 tweets to users who refer to Jenner as “he” instead of “she.” The July cover of Vanity Fair, featuring Jenner with the headline “Call me Caitlyn,” went viral Monday, and Jenner’s Twitter account reached 1 million followers in four hours.
.@LaurenDuck15 Click, whirrrrrr. It's she, not he.
— She not he (@she_not_he) June 3, 2015
Washington Post writer Caitlin Dewey along with National Journal graphics director Andrew McGill dreamed up @she_not_he. Dewey runs a digital blog for the Post called The Intersect, writing about digital and internet culture. She explained on her blog Tuesday why she started the Twitter account: “In the minutes after Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover went public yesterday, The Associated Press made a big whoopsie: They tweeted—and then deleted—a message in which they referred to Jenner as a ‘he.’ … I knew that with Jenner, it would happen again.”
McGill coded the Twitter account to reply automatically to tweets containing the words “Jenner” and “he.” The message reads, “It’s she, not he” no matter the context.
In a post about the account, Dewey said her goal is to make “reformees,” people who receive the “she not he” response and correct their language. “I don’t want to overstate the importance of what was basically a Twitter stunt, of course. @She_not_he will shortly fade from internet memory, soon to be overtaken by another misgendering scandal … but there’s the seed of a suggestion here … that maybe compromise and dialog are possible on the internet.”
Neither Dewey nor McGill responded to multiple requests for comment. It is unclear if the Twitter account received approval from Washington Post editors or was exclusively under the direction of Dewey.
Evan is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Washington, D.C.