Robert Huth highlights the problem with transphobia on social media

The Stoke City footballer Robert Huth has been charged with misconduct for sending tweets to the Twitter account @CockOrNoCock. The account provides its followers with cropped pictures of exposed women, asking them to determine whether these females had penises or not (as you probably can tell by the witty name of the account). Huth joined in on the intimidating pastime on by tweeting answers on 12 separate occasions on 1 January.

Following his actions, the Football Association alleged that Huth’s actions were “indecent” and that they breached FA rules regarding aggravation against gender. Since the charge, Huth has deleted the tweets and followed with a new tweet stating: “Clearly no offence was meant or directed to anyone, but apologies if they offended anyone.”

Even if Huth says he didn’t mean to offend anyone specific, it is important to remember that this form of careless behaviour is rarely limited to affecting just one person, but an entire community. Rightly so, he has received a great deal of criticism for his actions. As for the the @CockOrNoCock account, it’s frustrating that Twitter allows for such discrimination to take place on their social media platform by cowards hiding behind the pathetic wall of internet anonymity, but as long as this is allowed, people will take advantage of it. Because people are bored, provocative, and safe when behind their screens.

Transphobia and gender discrimination are, sadly, extremely common issues in sport. As recently as 2009, the South African runner Caster Semenya was subject of gender testing following her victory in the Berlin world championships. Evidently, gender discrimination is still a problem in 2015. According to the official Sports Charter, we need to work together to eliminate homophobia and transphobia from sport, and this seems to have been ignored by a great deal of social media. Bullying on gender-based issues is not only an invasion of people’s privacy; it is extremely disrespectful. Since Huth is supposedly a role model for some in the sports community, it is important that such actions are brought to justice.

[Sarah Ågren – @sarahagren]

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