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Cyber trolls force trans woman into hiding

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(CNN) – Transphobic trolls have forced a trans woman into hiding as they post personal details about her and her family online.

Clara Sorrenti said she fled to northern Ireland as a result, but the trolls tracked her all the way there.

The trans activist and Twitch streamer said the online trolls called in a fake emergency, sending armed police to her home in Canada. The tactic is known as “swatting.”

“I went into the hallway, they told me to put my hands up,” she said. “And honestly, in that moment, I thought I was going to die. I screamed as soon as I saw the gun.”

Over the past month, she’s been targeted, harassed and stalked around the globe.

“I’m so exhausted of having to constantly run,” she said.

Earlier this year, when Sorrenti began using the Twitch platform, popular among video gamers, to talk about trans rights, she caught the attention of Kiwi Farms, a notorious online forum that has been used to organize transphobic harassment campaigns.

“The first thing that they did was find the obituary for my dead father and use it to find his memorialized Facebook page,” Sorrenti said. “They were able to find a picture of my dad on the front porch of my childhood home and, from that, use Google Maps and figure out where that was located.”

After Sorrenti’s home in Ontario was swatted, she moved to a nearby hotel. However, her harassers tracked her down there, remarkably using a photo of her cat on her hotel bed.

“They were able to cross reference what they saw on the bedsheets with every other hotel in the city until they found out that the specific bedsheets only had a pattern in this one hotel that I was staying at,” Sorrenti said.

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Eventually, she said her Uber account was hacked, allowing the online bullies to track her location. It was then when she decided to leave Canada, coming here to Belfast in northern Ireland to stay with her friend.

“I thought that if I got far away and went to a different continent, they wouldn’t be able to do the same thing,” she said. “And then it turned out I was wrong.”

Her harassers somehow were able to track her down in Belfast. One of them even came to the apartment building she’s staying at, took a photo and posted it online.

Ellen Murray, another Twitch streamer, said the trolls harassed Sorrenti while they were streaming together.

“In the middle of it, we find out that, on the website 4chan, somebody had posted a picture taken from right (outside),” she said.

Sorrenti decided to take the trolls on, launching a campaign to get Kiwi Farms taken off the internet.

“I know that there’s always a threat against me as long as I’m standing up for this, but the alternative would’ve been the site keeps going and, not only me, but the countless other victims of this site who get harassed relentlessly every single day would have to continue through that nightmare,” she said.

Sorrenti called for Cloudflare, a major U.S. internet company, to stop providing cyber security services to Kiwi Farms that allows the site to stay online.

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Cloudflare initially said no, but then reversed track over the weekend, citing “imminent threats to human life.”

Sorrenti knows getting Kiwi Farms taken offline won’t make all her trolls and harassers go away.

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“They got roped into a hate group, and once you get deep enough inside one of these things, it’s really hard to get out,” she said. “I want to show them more compassion than they’ve ever shown me.”

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