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On Wednesday, August 20, transphobic edits began to appear on the Wikipedia page of Orange Is The New Black's Laverne Cox. Around 10 p.m. that evening, The A.V. Club reports someone edited her page to say that she was "a real man pretending to be a woman" as opposed to saying she was a “real transgender woman." They then added a link to a May 2014 article published by the National Review arguing that Cox was not a real woman.
Not only are these edits harmful, they belittle a transgender individual's right to self-identify his or her gender, and dismiss the idea that gender is defined by more than the traditional binary. What's worse is that these edits appear to have been made from a Congressional computer. The Twitter bot account @congressedits traced the edit's IP address to Capitol Hill.
As a democratic forum, Wikipedia represents a collective knowledge of the people. If you can think it, you can probably find it on the site. And, since anyone with access to the Internet can edit its pages, it's being updated constantly. So, when news breaks that articles pertaining to the transgender community have been edited to reflect a transphobic attitude, the edits are removed. But, when the transphobic edits are coming from inside the offices of Congress, a red flag is raised and questions over why and who demand to be answered. For now, we know that someone with access to a Congressional computer is promoting a prejudiced agenda that denies the rights American citizens have been fighting for for years.
Unfortunately, this isn't the first time transphobic edits have been made from Congressional IP addresses. The Hill reports that there have been three instances this summer where Congressional computers were blocked from editing Wikipedia entries. Derogatory terms like "tranny" were edited, as well as the page for the annual festival Camp Trans. The previous bans spanned from 24 hours to 10 days. Cox's edit has barred the IP user from making anonymous edits for a month. (Business Insider)