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Trans guy banned from Facebook after uploading post-op chest pic

Trans guy banned from Facebook after uploading post-op chest pic

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UPDATE: Facebook reinstates account and encourages Scaia to reupload the censored pics
UPDATE - Jan 15, 9:45pm: Facebook has re-evaluated its decision to censor a Calgary trans man's post-op chest pics. A spokesperson told Xtra late Friday that Dominic Scaia is free to reupload the pictures, citing the importance of raising awareness about trans issues. Read the full update here.


UPDATE - Jan 14, 3:08pm:
Dominic Scaia just tweeted to say that Facebook has reactivated his account. "They've reinstated my account, but they maintain that the photos were against the TOS [terms of service]." Scaia adds that Facebook "won't let me re-upload the photos, or I'll get in trouble again." 

Scaia sent Xtra the email he received from Facebook. Here it is:

"Photo content that you uploaded has been removed for violating Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. Photos containing nudity or other graphic or sexually suggestive content are not allowed. Unfortunately, for technical reasons, we are unable to provide further information about the removed content.
 
However, after reviewing your situation, we have reactivated your account, and you should now be able to log in. In order to prevent this from happening in the future, please refrain from posting photos of this kind and remove any that still exist on the site. For more information on conduct prohibited by Facebook, please read our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, which can be accessed by clicking on the "Terms" link at the bottom of any Facebook page."

Shortly after Scaia's account was reinstated, Xtra also received this response from a Facebook spokesperson:

"Photos containing nudity violate the policies listed in our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, and we remove these photos – and may disable the account of the person posting them – when they’re reported to us by our users. Our policies are designed to ensure Facebook remains a safe, secure and trusted environment for all users, including the many children (over the age of 13) who use the site. Users can always write to our appeals queue (using the contact form in the “Warnings” section of our Help Center) if they feel they’ve been treated unjustly. Our team will then investigate and reinstate the account if appropriate."

It's a partial victory for Scaia — but Facebook's strict content policies remain unchanged.
 
***
 
A female-to-male (FTM) transsexual was banned from Facebook Dec 20 after posting photos of his chest post-operation to his profile.
ACCOUNT DISABLED. When Dominic Scaia tries to log in to Facebook, a message appears: "Your account has been disabled." (courtesy of Dominic Scaia)
On Nov 25, Calgarian Dominic Scaia had surgery to remove his breasts as part of his transition process from female to male.

"I was so proud of my new chest, and I wanted to show it off," he says. "Plus, a lot of people had encouraged me to do so."

As an activist, Scaia uses sites like Facebook and YouTube to create awareness about transgender issues and to help others who are transitioning from female to male.

After his surgery, Scaia documented his recovery by posting photos of his front torso to Facebook (most of the photos included his face). He selected one of the photos as his profile picture.

On Dec 20, just hours after having changed his profile picture, Scaia tried to log onto his Facebook account, but it was disabled.

"I was pretty upset," he says.

Scaia immediately sent Facebook an email asking why his account had been disabled, but no one responded. On Dec 29, Scaia sent Facebook another unanswered message. It's been more than three weeks since Scaia's account was disabled without warning or explanation.

Facebook did not respond to Xtra's request for an interview by time of publication. Scaia says he can think of no other reason why he could have been banned.

On Jan 13, someone came forward to Vue Weekly reporter Tam Gorzalka, claiming to have reported Scaia's post-op chest pic to Facebook moderators.

"Report This Photo" appears beside every photo on Facebook, and users are encouraged to monitor their friends. According to Facebook's Help Centre, the company reviews all items reported by its users.

Section 3.7 of Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities reads, "You will not post content that is hateful, threatening, pornographic, or that contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence."

In many cases, Facebook will remove photos deemed in violation of its terms of use and issue a warning. But in Scaia's case, his account was disabled without notification.

Scaia, who's been using Facebook for three years, says he's been careful to adhere closely to the social-networking site's terms of use.

"Since it's a male chest, I didn't see a problem with it," says Scaia, noting that biological males are allowed to post photos of their bare chests on Facebook. Scaia identified as male on his Facebook profile.

"I'm a man, and I posted my chest online, and that should be allowed — period. There are thousands of transgendered people on Facebook, and I think the message this sends to them is your photos aren't safe, and that's not fair," he says.

On Jan 6, Scaia's friends created a Facebook group, "Stop Transphobia on Facebook - Un-Ban Dominic Scaia." In just over a week, more than 5,000 people have joined the group, which is calling for Scaia's account to be reactivated. The group is also calling for a public and private apology to Scaia, and a more trans-friendly Facebook policy. Some members of the group have threatened to boycott Facebook if Scaia's account isn't reactivated, and many supporters have sent messages to Facebook, demanding to know why Scaia's account has been disabled.

"This isn't just about a Facebook account," says Scaia. "This is a discrimination issue, and it doesn't just affect me; it affects all trans men, because if this happened to me, it can happen to them too. All it takes is someone reporting a photo."

Scaia says he is grateful for the support he's received and hopes it sends a strong message to Facebook administrators, forcing them to reactivate his account.

In May 2009, Facebook was forced to lift a ban on photos of a breast-cancer victim's chest after she'd had a mastectomy. UK resident Sharon Adams had posted the photos of her mastectomy scars to raise awareness about breast cancer, but Facebook removed them, saying they were "sexual and abusive." After nearly 900 people joined a group calling on Facebook to reverse its decision, Facebook admitted it had made a mistake and apologized.

Inspired by this case, Scaia recently got in touch with Adams to ask for advice. Adams has since joined Scaia's Facebook group and is helping draw attention to this issue.

"To be honest, I didn't think it would go this far," says Scaia. "I am overwhelmed and amazed by the huge response to this, but it's great that I have so many people on my side. This is helping raise awareness, and hopefully will cause Facebook to be more sensitive to trans issues and think twice next time before deleting post-op top surgery photos, or banning people for posting them. And I'm hoping it will also cause them to be a little more careful about how they go about banning someone."

In the meantime, Scaia says he is lost without his Facebook account.

"I never logged out," he says, adding that it was his primary mode of communication with family and friends.

If Scaia is banned forever, he will lose access to three years worth of photos, notes, messages and more than 300 contacts, many of whom he can't get in touch with outside of Facebook.

"You don't really realize until your Facebook is gone just how important it is," says Scaia.

Join the Facebook group Stop Transphobia on Facebook - Un-Ban Dominic Scaia

Watch Scaia talk about the Facebook censorship:


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Comments

HI DOMINIC!
I'm friends with Dominic, he showed me his post-op chest pretty much right after the surgery, and my fiancee Adam added him recently to his facebook, I remember that profile pic, but haven't seen Dominic at the club in a while. I can see why, WTF!!!
Facebook really is evil!
They censor all sorts of things where they have no place to. They censored me in much the same fashion this week in fact. They sent me an email about cybercriminals hijacking my account, filled with lies about them contacting everyone on my contact list (which they didn't because neither my fiancee nor my secondary facebook account that was previously on my friend's list got that notification). I responded back immediately and got no response back. I had a picture of my bare ass that got censored many months ago, which got a response back within 48 hours. Well it has been 4 or 5 days now, two emails later, still nothing.

I believe facebook dislikes my political commentary and links to Alex Jones Prisonplanet.com website. I believe my account was disabled for this reason and not the one which they state. I reviewed my email account and found no weird notifications of anything that would indicate suspicious activity.

I have now given up with facebook, and have submitted my complaint to Alex Jones. I'll mention it to Jason Bermas too on myspace, since he is on my myspace page. And Dominic, I could use your thoughts on this subject given your recent dealings with facebook. If I were you I would file a complaint with the human rights tribunal anyways and take these bastards on. Who cares if they re-instated your account, this company cares not for the democracy that you live in; obviously!
RE: bio men bare chest pics
Hey Cole - check out our update on this story. Facebook says pics of shirtless trans men are allowed:
http://www.xtra.ca/public/National/Facebook_reevaluates_decision_to_censor_trans_mans_postop_chest_pics-8127.aspx
bio men bare chest pics
why is it "FB approved" for bio men to post bare chested phtos but a trans man can't!? if the violation is really about nudity then FB should inactivate all accounts wherein a bio man is shirtless.
seriously now
Can we cut the crap about "all bodies being beautiful" once and for all?

I doubt that any of you would want to make out with someone who's face was freshly mutilated with a lawn mower. so, let's cut the PC crap.

If Dominic didn't have gender dysphoria before, s/he certainly has it now. How else can s/he look at her chest and not see mutilated, female breasts?
seriously now
The pics were post-op take into consiteration the amount of swelling that comes from surgery when you try to account for it still looking like a female chest. Hands down its an issue of discrimnation. the photos were not crude or inappropriate by anymeans. Its nice to see that facebook has actually steped up too the plate and not only reinstated his account but has also told him he can post the photos again without issue to raise awareness. We are part of a new generation one that is willing to treat everyone as equal may they be straight gay bisexual transgendered etc.

In responce to Micheal from quebec.. really inappropriate remark about only enjoying nice "titties" the body is a beautiful thing and should be expressed as such in an appropriate mannor.
my man boobs are bigger
I'm not happy with them but I got to admit my man boobs are bigger than his though I have some chest hair so I likely wouldn't have had the same problem. It may have been a misunderstanding by the person who reported it not realizing it was a man they were looking at but I also don't see what's offensive about chests that "aren't 100% healed" but to each their own, however Facebook would have known that it was male chest and therefore should not have banned either Dominic or the photos and chests that "aren't 100% healed" are hardly gross or disturbing beyond the policy of Facebook, sure scars aren't pretty but that doesn't make them in any way offensive. Just because someone doesn't like the look of something is no reason for Facebook to ban them or any photo. This surely smells of anti-trans discrimination to me despite Dominic being reinstated since the photos are still not allowed. A male chest is still a male chest whether by nature or design scars or no scars, there's simply no good excuse for Facebook's actions in this case
IM THE ONE WHO REPORTED DOMINIC
I am writting this to inform everyone of the true nature of this situation. I came accross Dominic's page one day. His privacy features were activated and It did not show a gender. His display pic however was visable. His chest while he may be male, was still post surgury, he had swelling, redness, his scars were raised, his nipples had been peeling from surgury. Im very trans friendly, and I aggree that Dominic can now call himself male and post pictures of his chest if he wishes as this is not illegal. HOWEVER I do not aggree with posting pictures of chest's that are not 100% healed. Dominic if you are reading this it was not my intention to have your account banned. I should have messaged you specifically and asked you to remove the photo as I and a number of people I know found it offensive. I respect and admire your dedication to this issue and im sorry that you had to deal with facebook in such a manner. When I reported your photo I had asked for them to please warn you or remove the photo. I did not ever ask them to ban your account. If you would like to speak to me feel free to email me at
nottransphobic@live.ca

Again, I do appoligize.
If anyone plans to email me hate mail for reporting the photo feel free however, as im sure none of you would entertain that idea, I also will not be reading anything that is not from Dominic himself.
Queer networking site
There is a social networking site for all manner of queer people, if anyone's interested.

http://queeries.ning.com
In response
@ Lauren : Yes. By the way, I don't really think it's a woman's place to comment on what it means to be a man, just as men shouldn't comment on feminist issues.
@ Manboob comments - I agree. Photos of gross looking tits, on men, or women, or in between, should all be treated equally by Facebook. I'm all for having photos of NICE looking titties on Facebook. hahaha.
It's there site, There rules.
What's with all this self entitlement on the part of the queer community? Facebook makes it very clear. Once you uplaod ANY PHOTO onto their site it becomes FACEBOOKS PROPERTY. since it's their property and their site they can do what they want. If this guy doesn't like it well then he's SOL. Facebook is NOT a public service, hell it's not even Canadian. If he doesn't want to lose his profile, well then he should obey their rules. Nobodies forcing him to have his profile up there anyway.

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