'Ideological Enforcement:' Twitter Blocks Heritage Foundation Director Over Trans Sports Tweet
On Wednesday, Twitter suspended the account of Greg Scott, director of media at The Heritage Foundation. Scott tweeted out an article about a male who identifies as a woman and who was booted from competing in women's weightlifting. The NBC News headline said this man was "stuck on the sidelines."
"He is not 'stuck on the sidelines.' He is free to compete against other men," Scott tweeted. "The whole 'I was astonished' act is tired and dishonest. If any competitive sport highlights the differences [between] men & women that EVERYONE KNOWS ARE REAL, it is powerlifting."
Twitter locked Scott out of his account for violating the rules against "hateful conduct."
Scott appealed his block and remains locked out of his account. "This is the only thing I can see when I try to log in (with the 'option' of cancelling the appeal in order to confess my sins, repent, and pledge to be a better Twittizen from now on.)," he told PJ Media.
"If a relatively benign and common sense point – that women shouldn’t be forced to compete against male powerlifters – can now get someone banned from the platform, Twitter is signaling an increasingly aggressive ideological enforcement regime," Scott told PJ Media.
He condemned the platform's false advertising. "Twitter puts itself forward as a forum in which people from a wide spectrum of belief can come together for a lively public debate, but that is false. The issue is not whether Twitter should be compelled to host certain viewpoints, it’s that Twitter has failed to be the marketplace of ideas it pretends to be," the Heritage media director said.
Yet Twitter does not pretend to be neutral on the issue of transgender identity. In October 2018, the social media company changed its hateful conduct policy to ban "misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals." "Misgendering" involves referring to a person by a pronoun other than the one he or she has chosen. "Deadnaming" involves referring to a transgender individual by his or her given name, rather than a name chosen later that reflects their gender identity.
After this policy, Twitter permanently suspended the account of feminist journalist Meghan Murphy for complaining about a male provocateur who claims to be transgender trying to force waxing studios to wax his genitals. When they refuse, the man sues them for discrimination. To make matters worse, many of the man's social media profiles present him as a man. He claims to have a close relationship with Twitter, and bragged about getting Murphy kicked off the platform.
For these reasons, Murphy has condemned Twitter as a "boys club," excluding women based on the whims of men.
Just this month, Twitter suspended another feminist, Kaeley Triller Harms, for complaining about how transgender stalkers are harassing Catholic mother Caroline Farrow. Days after that, the platform blocked the expert opinion of Ph.D. psychologist Ray Blanchard. Blanchard helped write the medical community's standards on gender dysphoria (the persistent, distressing condition of identifying with the gender opposite your biological sex), and he tweeted a nuanced acceptance of transgender identity. Even so, the platform temporarily blocked him for hate speech.
Greg Scott, the Heritage Foundation director, noted Twitter's inconsistent application of its "hate speech" principles.
"As troubling as it is for Twitter to ban someone for referring to a man as a man, its wildly inconsistent treatment of people and viewpoints raises even more questions. Chew on this: Louis Farrakhan and Hamas have active Twitter pages. Meghan Murphy and I don’t," he said.
"Even though Twitter is a private company, its quick-trigger ban-finger when it comes to even the most mainstream viewpoints is a window into the soul of the Left when it comes to the free exchange of ideas," Scott argued. "What happened to me demonstrates why bills like the so-called Equality Act are so dangerous. Twitter can only banish me from its website. The Orwellian Equality Act will equip a radical movement with the sword of federal law to enforce ideological conformity across the country in every area of life."
Indeed, a broad coalition of feminists (most of them Democrats), pro-life groups, religious liberty organizations, Christians, and more have united to oppose the Equality Act. One lesbian feminist has called the act a "human rights violation" because it would strip women of the right to sex-segregated spaces. If the act passes, men who identify as women could spy on women in locker rooms and restrooms across the country.
On the issue of transgenderism in sports, Scott is correct: biological males have an inherent athletic advantage over biological females thanks to smaller hips, broader shoulders, and testosterone. Even when a biological male takes estrogen to "affirm" a transgender identity as a woman, the effects of testosterone and male genetics from the womb onward make a concrete difference in his biochemistry.
Duke Law School Professor Doriane Lambelet Coleman testified that biological males have an inherent athletic advantage over biological females due to the chemical makeup of their bodies. Segregating sports on the basis of biological sex provides "extraordinary value" by inspiring young girls that they can measure up to the records set by their fellow biological women.
Yet many women's sports competitions have allowed biological men to compete with women. In 2017, a male freshman in high school defeated senior girls in track. Last month, a biological male took the Master's world records in women's squat, women's bench press, and women's deadlift.
In response, British former Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies decried the "unfair playing field."
"This is a trans woman a male body with male physiology setting a world record & winning a woman's event in America in powerlifting. A woman with female biology cannot compete," she tweeted. "It's a pointless unfair playing field."
The Twitter block of Greg Scott demonstrates two things. It shows that even scientifically correct criticism of transgender "inclusion" in women's sports is considered beyond-the-pale "hate speech." Second, it shows that Twitter is no longer restraining itself from applying its pro-transgender rules to influential figures.
While Meghan Murphy had a decent following and Kaeley Triller Harms founded the Hands Across the Aisle coalition, both of them could be dismissed by the Left as inconsequential. Even Blanchard, despite his influence, has been attacked by many in the pro-trans medical establishment. It seemed Twitter was focused on silencing the feminists and liberals who disagree with radical transgender activism, avoiding an attack on mainstream conservatives.
Suspending Greg Scott is a shot against the bow. Twitter is going after the Heritage Foundation, one of the most influential conservative groups in America.
Follow Tyler O'Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.