Google says ‘user error’ caused outing of transgender Google+/Android user

don't be evil google transTHE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT — A confused understanding of Google app following it’s integration with the Android operating system resulted in a trans woman unwillingly being outed at work, or so says Google.

In this case, during the usage of a chat feature, the woman’s male name got disclosed to a co-worker.

While the unnamed trans woman is still trying to work things out with her employer, Google is facing increased complaints that they are dismissive of privacy errors triggered by upgrades and other changes.

Transgender issues with Google began the day Google+ was launched. They did not allow users to use anything but their “real” names. If enough people in your user circle questioned your profile to Google, your account was suspended and you were asked to provide documentation to match the username. Reports say that Google has since backed off from that policy and now allows “established identities”. [Note: I have do not know if this is true. The last time I checked, it was not.] As a result, Google+ was primarily trans-unfriendly and for many trans people, it was mostly stealth mode on Google+.

What seems apparent now is that Google is aiming for one username for most (all?) Google/Android platforms that a person uses.  Indeed, Google’s VP Bradley Horowitz said back in 2012: “It’s important to remember that when you change your name in Google+, you’re changing it across all services that require a Google profile.”

“Google profile”? What does this mean? Does this includes one’s Google home page, Google wireless phone, Gmail, Google+, Google store/play, mobile wireless account — many users have different names. If one upgrades an app or make a profile change, will they get outed? I don’t know, neither do many savvy net and app users. The answers must be made plainly clear to users. The last thing we need to worry about is Google unwillingly outing us.

Google, remember your motto: Don’t Be Evil.

Tip of the hat to: Erin Renae Burdick

Android and Google+ confusion outs trans woman | Technology |

don't be evil google trans


Here’s a trans feature film that you’d be thrilled to watch: “Lexie Cannes”   Or via PayPal:

THE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT is associated with Wipe Out Transphobia:

Read Lexie Cannes in The Huffington Post:

Categories: Transgender, Transsexual, Trans

Tags: , ,

6 replies

  1. I’ve had a similar problem with G+ myself ( fortunately a friend warned me ) and I now avoid using any social apps for Google: it is a pernicious tangle of inter-connects and it is almost impossible to set levels for privacy. It makes Facebook look cosy

  2. All these social media sites are going to far in their attempt to make everything easier for people. They go get things in the computer that most of us have tied up blind files to protect our alter ego’s. But in order to make it easier on the user the apt or social media will open and check all files combining our hidden files into other photos and can easily out you without you knowing it is doing so .

  3. Shouldn’t that read “User Terror?”

  4. Looks like it is back to writing letters with ink and sending them with a stamp! 🙂

  5. Yup. It’s not the same magnitude of problem at all, but integration with Google forced me to abandon a Youtube account that I had used regularly for years, because it happened before I moved from my old email which contains my dead name to a new email, so when I tried to change the email associated with the Youtube account it wouldn’t let me because the new email is a gmail one and therefore was already associated with a different Google account.


  1. 'Google outed me' - ZDNet (blog) |

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