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This Trans Woman Is Using Topless Photos To Challenge Facebook's Nipple Policy

#DoIHaveBoobsNow, Facebook?

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Courtney Demone wants to know at what point Facebook and Instagram will deem her breasts worthy of censorship, so she's documenting their growth to find out.

Becca Carroll, Rivkah Photography

Demone, 24, is posting topless photos to social media as she undergoes hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which will make her breasts grow larger. The designer and trans woman from Victoria, British Columbia, is wondering when those photos will be flagged for breaking the rules.

Facebook and Instagram both have policies banning images of female nipples, with exceptions made for breastfeeding or post-mastectomy images.

"At some point my breasts are going to be big enough that these social media networks will have deemed them worthy of censorship," she told BuzzFeed Canada.

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The project brings into question both Facebook and Instagram's policies about nipples but also how they see gender.

"Their polices are to censor topless women’s bodies and they’re not doing it to me, what assumptions are they making about me?"

Becca Carroll, Rivkah Photography

Although the photos are documenting a change in her body, Demone doesn't want this to be about the medical side of this part of her transition.

"One of the things that I’ve been trying really hard to do is making this aspect of my transition not about the medical side of things, not about the personal side of things, but about the loss of privilege," she said.

On that note, she also recognizes that she's someone who fits within and benefits from a "certain white beauty standard." The project has started a conversation about her chest tattoo, which she found out is a culturally appropriated symbol.

Although the "Free The Nipple" movement has been popular, Demone said she wants to make sure we're talking about women who've been left out of the conversation, such as trans women.

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In a piece for Mashable, Demone and co-author Cynthia Williams wrote:

#FreeTheNipple has failed to show the diverse ways in which people with differing bodies are sexualized, fetishized, exoticized and shamed. It has also failed to recognize that baring her nipples doesn't mean freedom for every woman.

She hasn't been censored yet, but Demone suspects, based on other women who have done similar projects, that it could start to happen around day 200 of HRT.

Becca Carroll, Rivkah Photography

In the mean time, she said the response has been mostly positive and supportive. Though she doesn't think she alone can get social media platforms to change their rules, she's hoping they'll take notice.

"If I get the opportunity to talk to somebody from Facebook or Instagram, that would be my dream."

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