The Trevor Project, a national suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth, announced it is leaving X, formerly known as Twitter, because of “increasing hate & vitriol on the platform targeting the LGBTQ community.” The decision comes just over a year after billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk finalized his $44 billion purchase of the company.
“LGBTQ young people are regularly victimized at the expense of their mental health, and X’s removal of certain moderation functions makes it more difficult for us to create a welcoming space for them on this platform,” the organization wrote in a tweet Thursday.
The Trevor Project, which has nearly 350,000 followers on X, said the decision to leave was made with “input from dozens of internal and external perspectives.” In particular, the group wrote, “we questioned whether leaving the platform would allow harmful narratives and rhetoric to prevail with one less voice to challenge them.” But in the end, the group decided that leaving was “the right thing to do.”
At the end of its message, the organization directed LGBTQ young people to TrevorSpace.org, its own social networking space for queer teens and young adults. The Trevor Project also noted that it will continue to maintain its presence on Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn and Facebook.
X’s press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on The Trevor Project’s departure or its characterization of “hate & vitriol” on the platform.
As NBC News reported last month on the one-year anniversary of Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, many LGBTQ people say the once-hospitable home for community building has turned toxic.
This, they say, is due in part to a number of policy changes and business decisions at the company, including the layoff of employees who worked on reducing misinformation and harassment on the platform, and the removal of the site’s previous ban on intentionally using the incorrect pronouns or names for transgender people, practices known as misgendering and deadnaming.
GLAAD, an LGBTQ media advocacy group, releases an annual Social Media Safety Index and Platform Scorecard that evaluates social media platforms’ policies for ensuring the safety of LGBTQ users. In its most recent scorecard, published in June, X ranked in last place among the major social media platforms.
Since Musk took over the platform, LGBTQ people running some of the most-followed X accounts have abandoned it. Elton John, who has over a million followers, announced he was leaving in December, and Ellen DeGeneres, who has 75 million followers, hasn’t tweeted since April.
And The Trevor Project is not the only LGBTQ nonprofit to leave. The San Francisco LGBT Center, LGBTQ Youth Scotland and the U.K.-based Mermaids, a transgender charity, have also left the platform, just to name a few.
Brooke Sopelsa is the editorial director of NBC Out, NBC News’ LGBTQ digital destination.
Jo Yurcaba is a reporter for NBC Out.