Mercury Stardust’s annual fundraiser for trans health care hit with troll attack and TikTok ban

by | Mar 30, 2024 | 0 comments

At a time when the rights of trans people are under historic levels of attack across the U.S., an event like Trans Day of Visibility can feel like a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s more important than ever that trans people feel seen and supported. On the other hand, becoming more visible in society too often means having a target placed on your back by people in power.

That’s part of why Mercury Stardust, the Madison-based social media influencer, home repair superstar, and author of “Safe and Sound: A Renter-Friendly Guide to Home Repair” known as the Trans Handy Ma’am, and Jory (aka Alluring Skull), a trans artist and activist, set out to do their annual TikTok fundraising campaign on behalf of Point of Pride, which is a trans-led non-profit that provides funding to trans and non-binary people in need of gender-affirming surgery and other care. 

DCHS Wildlife Center

Last year, the dynamic duo set out to raise a whopping $1 million to support Point of Pride’s efforts. Over the course of three days of live-streams, Mercury and Jory’s online community rallied together to not just hit, but shatter that goal, raising a total of $2,250,000.

This year, with the help of an all-star lineup of support from trans and non-binary creatives like Dylan Mulvaney, Ve’ondre Mitchell, and Zaya Perysian, Mercury and Jory set their sights even higher, with a goal of $4 million.

That dream faces a serious barrier, though, after trolls reported and got TikTok to ban Mercury and Jory’s accounts nine times in the first 10 hours of the livestream event. As of Saturday afternoon, March 30, Mercury and her team have been able to get their accounts restored, but have also begun streaming on a backup account and on YouTube, “in case we get interrupted again,” Mercury reported.

The setback wasn’t enough to shake their resolve, however. Instead, the team decided to extend the livestream event through the end of Trans Day of Visibility on March 31, and go continuously (instead of in 10 hour stretches, as previously planned), to help make up for the lost time.

The fundraiser is live now at Point of Pride’s donation site.

“Jory and I are not gonna give up,” Mercury said. “We are a group of trans people…we believe very strongly that gender-affirming care saves lives. No matter what people say to us, we know what this is about and what this [fundraiser] can do for people.”

DCHS Wildlife Center

The incident is just one of many examples of tech platforms failing to adequately protect LGBTQ+ content and content creators. In some cases, LGBTQ+ creators have found their content effectively “shadowbanned,” falling victim to algorithms programmed to auto-detect and suppress any content deemed “offensive” or “sexually explicit.” What qualifies often depends on subjective, biased, and/or outright bigoted standards imposed by the programmers or by the politics of their home countries, as is the case in places like Russia, China, and Saudi Arabia.

Further, according to GLAAD’s annual Social Media Safety Index, as of 2023 all five major social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and Twitter/X) continue to fail to keep LGBTQ+ users safe. 

“The SMSI found that the platforms continue to fail at enforcing the safeguarding of LGBTQ users from online hate speech, fail at providing transparency in the use of LGBTQ-specific user data and fail in expressing commitments to protecting LGBTQ users, specifically, policies and commitments to protect transgender, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming users from being targeted.”

One way that failure manifests is when attacks are launched by anti-LGBTQ trolls who submit false reports that target LGBTQ creators’ accounts, often leading to bans like the one that impacted Mercury Stardust.

While much important work remains to be done when it comes to corporate and political policies to make online spaces safer and more affirming for LGBTQ+ people, grassroots efforts like Mercury and Jory’s fundraiser continue to make a real difference in people’s lives.

According to Point of Pride, the $4 million goal will support access to gender-affirming care for nearly 30,000 people. That includes, 28,575 people who will receive gender-affirming garments (chest binders and shapewear), 400 people who will receive permanent hair removal services, 290 people who will receive one year of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) with all lab work, transportation, and telehealth subscription fees covered, and 80 people who will receive life-saving gender-affirming surgical procedures. 

To date, Point of Pride has awarded $1,049,000 in financial aid and provided gender-affirming support to 19,500 people in all 50 states and around the world.



Article Tags

Advert 77
MGHA tournament

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Advert 77
MGHA tournament

Latest News

Catching up with Kathy Griffin

Catching up with Kathy Griffin

Steve Noll chats with the legendary comedian about why she’s done performing in clubs, life on the PTSD-List, her upcoming show at Overture Center on April 21, and yes… the infamous photo.

Cash & Olive’s Pub

Cash & Olive’s Pub

Jen O’Branovich and Courtney Sargent of Millie’s Coffee & Eatery in Cambridge have traded in the sunny space they formerly occupied in Galleria 214 to expand into a more Sconnie-style environment outside the main drag.

Pain Is In the Brain

Pain Is In the Brain

Nyle Biondi, MS LMFT, was one of the first out trans therapists in the state of Wisconsin and has devoted the past few years to helping others heal from chronic pain and health conditions.

Be Every Day

Be Every Day

A journey of self-discovery, acceptance, and love decades in the making. Follow along and be inspired at how Martha Marvel discovered her truth.

Queer Joy Book Club

Queer Joy Book Club

A Q&A with the Social Media Administrator, Jamie Butler, about a monthly meetup at the Goodman South Madison Public Library. The Queer Joy Book Club strives to be inclusive by considering books available in the Madison library system that have an e-reader option, an audiobook option, or even a graphic novel.

Latest News

VIEW ALL LATEST NEWS

DCHS Wildlife Center

Events

SUBMIT AN EVENT

VIEW ALL EVENTS

Jobs

SUBMIT A JOB POSTING

VIEW ALL JOBS

Popular Tags

Pin It on Pinterest