Last week, Twitter locked the account of The Daily Citizen, Focus on the Family’s news outlet. What heinous crime did The Daily Citizen commit that justified this ban? It reported on President Joe Biden’s decision to nominate transgender Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine (born Richard Levine) for assistant secretary of health at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The outlet went on to describe Levine as “a man who believes he is a woman.”
“On Tuesday, President-elect Joe Biden announced that he had chosen Dr. Rachal Levine to serve as Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of HHS. Dr. Levine is a transgender woman, that is, a man who believes he is a woman,” the tweet read.
Twitter flagged the message, claiming it violated the platform’s standards against “hateful conduct.” The Daily Citizen has been locked out of its account until the outlet deletes the offending tweet.
The Daily Citizen appealed the case, but Twitter denied the appeal.
Focus on the Family President Jim Daily defended the tweet, warning supporters that Twitter will likely silence others for expressing the truth about biological sex.
“Our comments in The Daily Citizen were not hateful or politically motivated in any way. They simply reflected an understanding of gender that has been recognized and embraced for millennia. This view is not only supported by Scripture, but by centuries of biological science and a commonsense consensus of what it means to be male or female,” Daily insisted.
A large coalition of pro-family groups spoke up on Focus on the Family’s behalf. The Family Policy Alliance started a petition that reads:
You recently banned Focus on the Family’s The Daily Citizen from your platform for stating a biological fact: A biological male is a male.
I stand with Focus on the Family. So, if you are going to ban them, are you going to ban millions of others like me who believe that biology is reality—and that freedom of speech matters in America?
If your censorship continues, Twitter will become a stagnant echo chamber.
The American College of Pediatricians, the American Principles Project, and Family Policy Councils from more than two-dozen states also signed a letter urging Twitter to reconsider.
Unfortunately, Twitter’s rules are clear on this issue. In October 2018, the platform redefined “hateful conduct” to include “targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals.”
“Misgendering” involves referring to a biological man who identifies as a woman as male, or referring to a biological woman who identifies as a man as female. “Deadnaming” involves referring to a transgender person who changed his or her name by their original name, contrary to their wishes.
Twitter’s rules amount to an effective endorsement of transgenderism and a ban on any disagreement with transgender identity as “hateful.” Even though males who identify as transgender are still male — down to their DNA — and vice versa, Twitter has officially taken the position that the expression of that biological truth constitutes “hate.”
In 2018, Miriam Ben-Shalom, the first lesbian to be reinstated to the U.S. Army after getting kicked out for her sexuality (not usually an ally of conservative Christians), denounced Twitter’s policy as reminiscent of the anti-free speech dystopia of George Orwell’s 1984.
“Twitter, like so many other places, has drunk the Kool-Aid and actively engages in suppression of thought and civil discourse, allowing only the words of those who are delusional, at best,” Ben-Shalom told PJ Media at the time. “Weep for the demise of freedom of speech and free discourse. Welcome ‘Back to the Future’ of 1984.”
Twitter has applied this restriction on the expression of biological reality to a broad swath of speakers. In May 2019, the platform blocked a Ph.D. psychologist who helped write the official psychological position on transgender identity because he expressed his opinion informed by clinical experience. That same month, Twitter blocked the Heritage Foundation’s director of media, Greg Scott, for “misgendering” a biological male who identifies as a woman and competes in women’s powerlifting.
In perhaps the most egregious example, Twitter blocked Kaeley Triller Harms, a co-founder of the Hands Across the Aisle Women’s Coalition, for warning about the biological man “Stephanie” Hayden. Harms claimed that Hayden had been stalking Roman Catholic writer Caroline Farrow. Farrow’s opposition to transgender activism met with a torrent of harassment that extended to her children, her husband, and even her ex-husband whom she divorced 13 years ago.
“I’ve just got a team of people, they seem to attach so much importance and so much weight to what I say and they’re just determined to shut down my point of view,” Farrow told PJ Media last month. “They feel that they can be as abusive as they like: they can target my family, target my children, and I deserve it because I’m full of ‘hate’ because I believe that men can’t become women.”
She has received online harassment involving pictures of “enormous disgusting sex toys” and misogynistic slurs, and one website even discusses whether or not to disfigure her face — and the faces of her children — with acid.
Yes, Twitter stood up for a biological male reportedly involved in that harassment.
Twitter’s rules on this issue are disgusting and terrifying, but as a private company, Twitter has the right to set its own rules. The company has decided to leverage its position to silence opposition to transgender identity, even though that opposition is based on biological reality.
Tragically, there is a growing movement to demonize conservative Christians as “hateful” because they disagree with LGBT activism. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) brands conservative Christian organizations “anti-LGBT hate groups” because they support the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman and because they support biological sex over transgender identity. Biden himself has demonized those who disagree with LGBT activism.
Even Americans who support transgender identity should be horrified by Twitter’s restriction on speech and the broader movement to demonize those who dissent from the Left’s agenda.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.