The December 2018 adult content ban instituted by the social media and microblogging site Tumblr had far-reaching effects. The ban cost the platform its user base, and its economic value plummeted. Purchased by the media conglomerate Verizon as part of a $4.8 billion acquisition of Yahoo's internet business in 2017, Tumblr was sold in August 2019 for less than $3 million. This article reviews the factors that led to the adult content ban, including Verizon's plan to eliminate pornography to attract more advertisers to Tumblr, heightened concern about sexual harassment lawsuits in the wake of #MeToo and Time's Up, and the passage of two new federal laws, SESTA and FOSTA, aimed at combatting sex trafficking online. It analyzes the critical role that Tumblr played in connecting and supporting marginalized sexual communities, especially trans communities, and others whose livelihood depends on freedom of sexual speech, such as sex workers, and discusses the centrality of online communication to processes of sexual self-discovery and self-actualization. Corporate control of sexual speech, and pornography bans, which are increasing as platforms like Facebook institute ever-tighter community standards, pose a direct threat to queer individuals and limit the possibility for authentic, positive representation of trans bodies and trans sexuality.

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