Trans actor Miles McKenna deadnamed at panel by The Trevor Project

Selfie of Miles McKenna

Trans YouTuber and actor Miles McKenna has been deadnamed at an LGBTI panel organized by a prominent charity.

The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention organization for LGBTI young people, organized a series of panels in collaboration with VidCon.

VidCon is the largest celebration of digital video and online creators. Now in its tenth year, it took place in Anaheim from 10-13 July.

McKenna attended a panel about LGBTI Activism & Awareness alongside Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina non-binary actor Lachlan Watson among others. The panel focused on creators who use their platforms to educate about and fight for LGBTI issues.

Panel moderator deadnamed Miles McKenna

Miles McKenna explained the situation over four different tweets on his page.

The moderator of the panel used McKenna’s deadname to talk about his life prior to transition.

When corrected by McKenna, she simply replied that she ‘didn’t know’ she couldn’t use a trans person’s deadname when discussing their pre-transition life.

‘Yesterday I was called she/her and deadnamed on a panel by the moderator who after I corrected that you don’t call trans ppl by their old name said “I didn’t know”’ McKenna wrote on his Twitter page.

‘Who allowed someone that doesn’t know how to address trans people moderate an LGBT panel @VidCon?’

In a second tweet, McKenna explained he hadn’t received an apology from VidCon organizers yet. The Trevor Project, on the other hand, messaged as well as talked to the young actor in person while on site.

‘No formal apologies have been sent to me except for @TrevorProject who immediately messaged me, came to talk to me in person and followed up later in the day with how in shock they were that it happened. I’m very confused.’

‘The panel I was on was titled “LGBT Activism and Awareness” so here’s me doing my part in activism and awareness. Hire people that know LGBT to head an LGBT panel. I’ve worked in this space for years and this has never happened to me,’ he added in a further tweet.

The Trevor Project and VidCon apologized to McKenna

Following McKenna’s tweets, the Trevor Project also issued a formal apology published as a three-part Twitter thread.

‘We are so sorry, and apologize that this happened in a safe space,’ they wrote.

‘This is hurtful and invalidating, especially for transgender and non-binary folks, and does not reflect our values, mission, or the youth we serve.’

VidCon co-creator Hank Greene and the panel’s moderator Stevie Wynne Levine also expressed their regret over the incident. However, some saw these as questionable attempts to come up with an apology.

‘I had a long, good conversation with the moderator of this panel. The two of them knew each other before Miles transitioned and referred to Miles’ dead name in that context. It’s clear no harm was intended, but it’s also clear harm was done,’ Greene replied to one of McKenna’s tweets.

‘Please understand that my mistake was in that context: not realizing that, even when permissibly discussing your pre-transition life, I should have not used your deadname,’ the moderator wrote in a lengthy apology.

Leading a panel about trans issues

Despite the apology, the question as to whether the moderator was fit to lead a panel that also focuses on trans issues still stands.

‘My issue is less with someone’s ignorance and more with how was that person allowed to head a panel that partly focuses on trans topics. Who allowed me to be on the same stage, as well as allow me to invite my young trans audience saying it’s a safe space,’ McKenna said in another tweet.

Miles McKenna makes crucial point about deadnaming

In his Instagram stories, McKenna also made a crucial point about deadnaming a trans person.

‘If you go from point A to point B, you don’t refer to point A,’ he said.

‘If there’s a woman who has the same last name as her husband and she changes cause she gets a divorce, you don’t say her old last name again, you know?’ he said.

GSN has reached out to McKenna and The Trevor Project for further comment.

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