The Coriolis Effect

At the precipice of the largest attempt to erase and restrict queer and trans content from the Internet, how can a queer writer get their message out?

The Coriolis Effect
A long exposure of an Atlas V rocket's launch trajectory over the horizon and into low orbit during a 2021 launch by the United States Space Force (United Launch Alliance)
At the precipice of the largest attempt to erase and restrict queer and trans content from the Internet, how can a queer writer get their message out?

The Blackwall

ON MAY 2ND, 2023, KOSA, the Kids Online Safety Act, was reintroduced to the United States Senate by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). For what looks on the surface to be a bipartisan bill, the premise was simple: protect kids from harm on the internet.

Of course, if you know anything about how the appeal to parental instincts to safeguard their children has been weaponized by reactionaries in the past several decades to crack down on and censor a variety of groups they would consider "dissident" or "immoral" - well then I'm sure your eye just twitched a little there.

As that prelude might imply - the bill's actual downstream effects are far more complex and wide-reaching than any of its current sponsors, including 22 Democratic senators, would prefer the general public be aware of. I won't bore you with the technical details of the legislation, but in layman's terms, it sets out to do to LGBTQ+ content on the internet what SESTA/FOSTA did to sex workers and adult content creators. In other words: make web hosts' fear of retribution from state entities for content hosted on their sites so pervasive that hosts will effectively over-regulate their own content and creators into nonexistence. Thus, all of the intended effects of outright censorship, without having to file a single motion.

By leaving the precise definition of "harms" up to broad interpretation, and thus under the purview of state attorneys general, the "apolitical" goal of protecting kids becomes quite the opposite - not that the pretense ever stood up to scrutiny, anyways. If you've read any headline regarding state AG's pertaining to trans youth, the potential for overreach of this bill becomes starkly apparent. It has the potential to give carte blanche - or damned well close to it - to government officials who have a proven track record for making life hell for transgender and, more broadly, queer youth in the past several years.

KOSA would it look as though these legislators were throwing punches the entire time - bathroom bills would appear almost a mercy by comparison. A single person given the ability to enforce their sensibilities of what is "safe" for minors on an entire state. Because most social media sites do not cater exclusively to one age demographic, anything under KOSA's purview - which, again, is so comically broad so as to range from trans education and abortion access resources, all the way to the conservative boogeyman of "critical race theory," - essentially, any critique of America's racist past, becomes a valid target for suppression or takedown.

So let's suppose you were a trans woman, looking to get your start in writing about trans issues, your coming out experience, or domestic politics as they apply to your right to live openly and peaceably - on the edge of this bill's likely passing.

How in the hell do you make sure your voice is heard beyond what will be America's Great Firewall?

Over the Horizon

THE CORIOLIS EFFECT is an observable force in physics that, when applied to objects such as the shells fired over the horizon by extreme long-range artillery batteries, affects their trajectory and accuracy over distance due to the rotation of the Earth. Without taking this into account, a shot which, were the Earth to be both a perfectly flat surface and at a standstill would hit its target, could instead miss it by enough to render the weapon ineffective - more so if you downscale the calculations to a single high-caliber bullet fired by a sniper, where mere millimeters are the difference between a clean kill or a failed operation. In a popular example, a shot fired northward to hit a target at a thousand yards at the latitude of Sacramento, CA would skew 2.8 inches to the right - small, but enough to miss a target entirely.

Essentially - the calculation comes into play when an impossibly distant target has to be hit, often beyond typical visual range, where the normal rules of the battlefield no longer apply, and where failure is not an option. It's the kind of math you only break out when you can't engage on your own terms, most likely in a situation where you are outnumbered, out-manned, or outgunned - but you have a mission to accomplish, nonetheless.

These are the new rules of engagement.

One of the great double-edged swords of the modern Internet was the consolidation of everyone's social circles to more or less the same 5 or 6 websites, all sharing screenshots and links back and forth between those same websites, like an information Ouroboros. On the one hand, all of your social net was easily interlinked - a couple of clicks on a Linktree here or there, and your subscribers could follow you across every platform - it's just as likely that they'd have their own accounts there, after all. Something like this works wonders if you, for instance, write about non-objectionable topics like why trans people deserve less rights, instead of the brave stance that maybe, just maybe - we deserve more.

This is also likely to be the main failure point for trans creators under KOSA - the social media giants will likely be the first to cave and start the crackdown on content, and any stragglers will be much more visible targets for scrutiny on those major platforms. So how do we keep our heads above water in the days to come?

Simple: we hit our targets beyond visual range - from over the horizon, as it were. If there is one truism across all government jobs that will play to our advantage, it is that government employees, even state AG's are, by and large, lazy. Most of their efforts will likely be concentrated on de-platforming trans voices on the major platforms for the same reason we all left our Geocities and MySpace pages in the dust - it's easier to focus our presence on where people are vs. where they are not. It's easy to send a takedown order to Google and have someone's content pulled down across their suite of socials, but it takes time, determination, and effort to track down a microblog like this, let alone dozens - and take them down. This doesn't even factor in what that attempt would look like if, for instance, a writer owned their own domain and operated from that rather than even a hosting service like Ghost, which I'm using.

Essentially - we need to adjust for a new zero on our scopes, account for changes in the wind, factor in that Coriolis force - and fire away whatever we can, hoping we hit our targets and make our message heard. And if we get compromised - we need to be able to relocate quickly - or to already be gone by the time return fire comes our way. Time to dust off those custom domains, revitalize those microblogs, and relearn what it is to be a net native - have contingencies for your major platform presence, as the greater visibility you now benefit from will be turned on its head when - not if - this bill passes. While hope may be called for, and the fight to kill KOSA before it passes is a valiant one, and one worth fighting, if only to show where our representatives' true alliances lie - it's been my experience that this country will lurch towards restricting 1st Amendment rights whenever it's able to do so under the guise of "protection."

I find it's best to have a backup plan and not need it than to need a fallback option and not have it. We need to find each other, build our own networks of support, utilize our own publishing platforms - because the world wide web is about to get a whole lot more narrow for us all. We are on the precipice of a very dark time for our visibility as trans and queer creators online.

It's time we learn how to fight from the shadows.


DESPITE the somber tone this piece ended on - I do want to provide some resources that might help any aspiring trans and queer writers in the days to come. Check these out, network with like-minded creators, and get your platforms set. If we are to be able to maintain a voice online, it will be because of - not in spite of - our community.

Lambda Literary: More oriented towards physical publishing, they nevertheless have a useful Resources page for aspiring LGBTQ+ authors at

Trans Writes: Independent publishing site for trans writers exclusively - get paid for your work or donate to keep the site running at