An anonymous user with an IP address coming from the U.S. House of Representatives has repeatedly made edits to Wikipedia articles on topics related to the transgender community.
These edits generally appear critical of transgender individuals, and other users have called the changes “hate speech.”
Since Monday, the user has made over a half dozen such edits, according to the tracking tool @congressedits. For example, a Tuesday edit to an article on Camp Trans, an annual event that protests the exclusion of transgender women from a music festival, made sure to note the festival event was hosted by “real women.” This change was promptly reversed.
It’s impossible to know whether the edits are coming from one or multiple users, but the changes come from an IP address, 18.104.22.168, 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 criticised as transphobic. Articles on “body integrity identity disorder” and “gender identity disorder” were also edited. Even the Wikipedia article on transphobia article was edited on Tuesday to include a link to an article — 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.”
These changes have led to calls for Wikipedia to ban edits from Congress’ IP addresses again. The popular online encyclopedia previously instituted a 10-day ban in July after the @congressedits account, which which monitors Wikipedia changes coming from IP addresses associated with Congress, flagged a number of absurd changes to Wikipedia articles.
“An obvious transphobe is using this IP to edit the article on transphobia, justifying it with rhetoric commonly used by transphobes,” wrote another user, Davidjcobb. “They claim to be acting with the explicit permission of a U.S. Representative, which is either an outright lie (and therefore more reason to block the IP) or true (and therefore more reason to block the IP).”
The anoymous House user has defended the edits by making specific claims about transgender policies on the federal level.
“What is your obsession with the users from this shared IP address?” the person wrote in response. “When you have other Representatives trying to push for laws such as ENDA, or when you have the EU using neocolonialist methods to impose transgenderism on the nation of Georgia through a visa agreement, it’s all the more important.”
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