Laverne Cox's Wikipedia Page Gets Trolled By A Transphobic Person In Congress

Last month, Congress was banned from making edits on Wikipedia due to "disruptive changes" — like calling former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld an alien, for example. Now, they're in hot water once again with the online encyclopedia. Last week, someone in Congress made transphobic changes to Laverne Cox's Wikipedia entry, which talks about the transgender actress' role as character Sophia Burset on Orange Is the New Black. The worst part of the incident? The hateful change wasn't even the Congress IP address's first offense.

The original Wikipedia entry for Cox stated that website The Advocate "touted that Orange Is the New Black contains the first ever women-in-prison narrative to be played by a real transgender woman." But last week, someone using the Congressional IP address 143.231.249.138 changed the line to "Orange Is the New Black contains the first ever women-in-prison narrative to be played by a real man pretending to be a woman."

What makes the change so awful boils down to one particular word. Saying that Cox is a man pretending to be a woman undermines and insults anyone and everyone who identifies as a gender different than the one they were assigned at birth. Transgender women are women, not pretending to be.

This is far from the first time Cox has dealt with transphobia. Last October, Cox penned an op-ed for the New York Times, in which she writes:

At the heart of the fight for trans justice is a level of stigma so intense and pervasive that trans folks are often told we don’t exist — that we’re really just the gender we were assigned at birth. We’re told that if we embrace our authentic selves, we should risk violence and the loss of our jobs, housing, health care and dignity.

To call a transgender woman a man "pretending" to be a woman is to perpetuate the denigrating belief that transgender people don't exist. And if, for some reason, you need further proof of the transphobic intentions of the change, the person who made the edits even linked to an article from the conservative magazine National Review titled "Laverne Cox Is Not a Woman."

In response to the edit, 143.231.249.138 has been banned from making Wikipedia edits for one month. But something tells me it'll be back.

Since developer Ed Summers first created @Congressedits, a Twitter bot that monitors anonymous Wikipedia edits made within Congress' network and tweets them in real time, the person — or persons — behind Congressional IP address 143.231.249.138 has been caught making repeated transphobic changes on Wikipedia, which many users have called "hate speech."

Earlier this month, the IP address changed an entry on Camp Trans, an annual demonstration protesting the exclusion of trans women from a Michigan music festival. The person added a line about how the music festival was "intended for real women," indicating that trans women do not fit the bill.

When the same IP address tried to add a link to Gavin McInnes' hate-filled article to the entry on transphobia, the edit was reported as "hateful or abusive content" and removed. In response, the person behind the address complained, "This article is too pro-trans. When I attempted to add an alternative point of view regarding this topic (to achieve WP:BALANCE) it was reverted right away."According to A.V. Club, Wikipedia editor JohnValeron exclaimed on Wikipedia's user talk pages in response to 143.231.249.138's latest transphobic change to Cox's page:

Admins must stop pussyfooting around this willful, long-term abuse just because it emanates from the U.S. House of Representatives. That’s all the more reason to take immediate and, for once, "decisive" action.

Here's hoping that "decisive" action will prevent 143.231.249.138 from rearing its ugly, hateful head again. Image: Wikipedia Commons