Last year, Twitter permanently banned the feminist journalist Meghan Murphy for tweets disagreeing with transgender identity. She’s suing. Ironically, Twitter issued the final ban for a tweet referring to a man as a man, even though he presented as male on social media at the time. Murphy has slammed Twitter as “sexist,” and her lawyer agreed that the company seems to act like a “boys club.”
“We don’t know who’s making the decisions here, but with respect to her speech, it does seem to be a boys club,” Noah Peters, one of Murphy’s lawyers, told PJ Media on Wednesday. (Supporters can donate to the legal fund here.)
Last December, Murphy wrote an article about her suspension and Twitter’s alleged sexism. She recalled receiving “numerous, explicit violent threats,” which the company refused to take down. “I have been told to ‘shut up and die,’ to ‘choke,’ to ‘commit suicide,’ and so on and so forth,” she wrote. “All of these tweets, which seem to very clearly fit within the definition of ‘abusive tweets,’ were lobbed my way attached to the word ‘TERF,’ which, as most of you know, is a term used to smear and denigrate those who question transgender ideology.”
“Indeed, it is a term primarily aimed at women, only used in the pejorative, with the intentional purpose of bullying the target and damaging their reputation. That is to say, it inarguably fits the definition of a slur,” Murphy noted.
Yet it seems Twitter did more than just allow slurs and incitements of violence against Murphy. Jonathan Yaniv — who occasionally identifies himself as “Jennifer” — bragged about getting Murphy suspended, and called for her to be charged with hate crimes under Canadian law. Her crime? Opposing transgender identity on Twitter by saying, “Men are not women” and “Trans women are not women.”
This is the person who has been harassing #MeghanMurphy, admitting at a city council meeting to being responsible for her Twitter ban, and asking that she be prosecuted for hate crimes: pic.twitter.com/A9n7UG1UJw
— Benjamin🛤Boyce (@BenjaminABoyce) December 18, 2018
“Considering he appears to be a personal friend of Twitter co-founder, Biz Stone (or would like the public to believe he is), the fact that this one individual was able to have a woman permanently banned from the platform makes a little more sense,” Murphy wrote. “This reality presents a dark truth to women: Twitter is a boys club. A boys club that protects its friends above its users, even if those friends present a potential threat to women.”
Yaniv is a provocateur. In the past year, he filed 16 human rights complaints against waxing studios, claiming they discriminated against him based on his male genitalia. As Murphy’s lawsuit explains, “Murphy was disturbed by Yaniv’s attempts to use the legal system to coerce female estheticians, by threat of lawsuit, into doing something that makes them feel profoundly uncomfortable and violates their basic autonomy.” One single mother esthetician had to pay Yaniv $2,500 to have a complaint withdrawn.
According to Twitter, Meghan Murphy had “misgendered” Yaniv by calling him a man. Yet Yaniv’s review included a picture of him appearing entirely male. Yaniv went by the male name “Jonathan Yaniv” on several public social media profiles, including LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube.
The idea that Meghan Murphy, a feminist woman, would get banned from Twitter for refusing to call a biological man a woman, when said biological man did not even unambiguously identify as female, is absurd — and should be extremely offensive to feminists everywhere.
Yet Twitter’s boys club atmosphere goes beyond Murphy’s experience. In her article, she noted Amnesty International’s “Troll Patrol Project” documenting online abuse against women. The study found Twitter to be a “toxic” place for women, surveying tweets received by 778 UK and U.S. female journalists and politicians in 2017. A whopping 1.1 million “abusive or problematic tweets” — defined as messages that violate Twitter’s own rules — were sent to those women that year.
Murphy noted a peculiar oddity: “considering that women are so commonly the targets of ‘abusive tweets,’ the category of ‘sex’ is not included among Twitter’s protected categories.”
Murphy’s lawsuit notes that many Twitter users post criticisms of transgender identity such as “Men aren’t women,” but only she was blocked for this message.
“Other people are posting the same stuff,” Peters told PJ Media. “People seem to feel free about threatening her — almost always men. It seems like they don’t have anything to fear from the Twitter censors.”
“They made an example of her, and it seems like her being a feminist was a big part of that,” he added.
Many feminists on both sides of the Atlantic have woken up to the threat that the gender identity movement poses to women’s rights. Last year, lesbians protested against transgender identity in the London Pride parade. A radical feminist at the Heritage Foundation last month said that transgenderism is a “men’s rights movement.”
Since lesbians tend to be less effeminate than other women and since transgenderism relies on social constructions of gender, the lesbians attacked the transgender movement as an attempt at “conversion therapy.” Since transgender activists argue that lesbians should be open to sex with biological men who identify as women, lesbians have decried the transgender movement as a form of “rape culture.”
Miriam Ben-Shalom, the first lesbian to be reinstated to the U.S. Army after being kicked out for her sexuality, condemned Twitter’s suppression of free speech on transgender issues.
Yet these brave women face backlash off of social media as well. Lesbian feminist Julia Beck was kicked off of the Baltimore LGBTQ commission for her opposition to gender identity.
Ironically, the transgender issue unites these feminists — who tend to be very liberal — with conservatives. Mat Staver, founder and chairman of the Christian law firm Liberty Counsel, decried the “absurdity” of the transgender agenda, which “obliterates any distinction between the sexes and undermines everything that women have fought hard for over many decades to achieve equality.”
“If a man can identify as a woman and be treated as a woman and called a woman, that just completely obliterates the gains that women have made,” Staver told PJ Media. “It frankly is a mockery.”
Thanks to brave women like Meghan Murphy, however, “I think we’re starting to see the veneer of the transgender movement rub off and the reality of the impact sink in,” Staver said.
Using transgender identity, men can enter women’s spaces — restrooms and changing rooms, but also sports teams and even prisons. Most of the people who suffer from gender dysphoria (the persistent condition of identifying with the gender opposite one’s biological sex) are not perverts or cheaters, but it is very difficult for any policy to separate these genuine people from voyeurs or other pretenders.
These concerns are real, and feminists like Meghan Murphy, Miriam Ben-Shalom, and Julia Beck illustrate the bipartisan concerns about transgender identity. Twitter’s decision to target Murphy seems intended to silence criticism from the Left, making it seem as though only “those bigoted conservatives” oppose transgender identity. But Murphy’s voice will not be silenced, and her lawsuit aims to hold Twitter accountable for this disgusting censorship.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.