Washington’s health department censors criticism of ‘transmasculine people’ cervical cancer campaign

The Washington State Health Department has censored dozens of tweets criticizing a cervical cancer awareness ad campaign that warned ‘transmasculine people with a cervix’ about the disease instead of women.

“Transmasculine people with a cervix should talk to their doctor about screening for #CervicalCancer and #HPVvax,” the Washington Department of Health released on January 13, while encouraging its 61,000 subscribers to “Find an LGBTQ-friendly supplier”.

The post, which came four days after a tweet that generically urged readers to “vaccinate against HPV” to combat the disease, was widely ridiculed by respondents on Twitter.

“It’s a mental illness,” public relations expert Jeremy Knauff replied to the post.

Other commenters wrote things like “You mean women?” and “Why are you misogynists trying to nullify women?”

The department then hid more than 40 of the responses criticizing the ad campaign, but “revealed” them after “The Jason Rentz Show” on Seattle’s KTTH inquired about the cover-up, according to the conservative radio show.

Department spokeswoman Nikki Ostergaard told the Post that it is DOH policy to remove comments deemed “discriminatory” or “offensive.”

“Comments with offensive content were hidden by staff over the weekend. Upon a second review and assessment, several comments that were originally hidden came to light, while comments that violated our policy remained hidden,” she said.

Transmasculine is a term that refers to people “whose gender identity is partially or entirely male and differs from the sex the person had or was identified as having at birth”, according to Merriam’s definition of the adjective- Webster.

“Raising awareness of the importance of cervical screenings is important. But an awareness campaign that they know will result in illicit mockery doesn’t help the cause,” Rentz said.

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