In which we profile feminists and their allies who have been banned from Twitter for being uppity.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Claire Graham. I work in special educational needs and disability education, but I think most people on Twitter knew me for being an intersex advocate. I have MRKH, which is one of the 40 or so conditions encompassed by the intersex umbrella.
Is Twitter important to you? Why?
It was really important to me. When I started my account, I didn't have any followers and didn't even know if anyone would be interested in what I had to say. My account grew quite quickly and I managed to attract followers from all walks of life. It became a hub for lots of people for intersex information. This included people not affected but who wanted to find out more and people with other intersex conditions/DSDs and their families. I never dreamed of the outreach I would have on there. It was invaluable to me to be able to hear and share intersex perspectives that aren't often heard.
What was the tweet that got you banned from Twitter?
I don't actually have a tweet I was banned for. At first Twitter claimed they had banned me for managing multiple accounts for abuse purposes. I wasn't, so I appealed that. They eventually responded to this, after I complained through the Better Business Bureau (I'd recommend this to anyone who's banned. The appeal process is frustrating as it's managed by algorithms too. The BBB gives you more chance of speaking to a human). They have now changed to say that the ban is for multiple violations of their terms of service. I've appealed this too, as my account had only ever received one sanction, when Twitter had tried to ban me before but had later admitted they had made a mistake. It definitely feels really targeted at the moment. I know people have been reported just for tweeting in support of me since my ban too.
Was there a lead up to your ban? Can you describe it?
Erm...that's a bit tricky, as my account often came under targeted attacks from trans activists. I know there had been a couple of accounts who had been telling people to mass report me. I'd also been receiving emails from twitter, saying my account had been reported but they'd investigated and couldn't find a violation. This had maybe intensified a bit in the lead up to the ban but, as I say, it wasn't really unusual.
People are often confused by the gender debate. Can you explain it and explain your part in it?
I joined in as I didn't like women born with medical conditions like mine being weaponised. I'd see trans activists telling women they couldn't talk about reproductive issues because it was offensive to women without wombs. I was born without a womb and I fundamentally disagree. When I started telling my story, other people with intersex conditions/DSDs got in touch to say they felt the same and I started to research about them. As I learned, I shared what I learned. My main role, I'd say, was that. Just countering some of the harmful and misleading information about what intersex is or isn't that comes from trans activists. Because I work in education, I've been interested in what's happening with children, so I've done a few talks about the quality of the guidance going into schools and helping people to understand what the laws surrounding schools and safeguarding are. I also have a law degree and I'm amazed at how rules and regulations have been broken and bent in some areas.
I'm not sure how easy it is to sum up the entire gender debate succinctly but really it boils down to whether you think biological sex is a real, observable thing, or not. Trans activists claim we're men or women based on our feelings. The gender critical side believe they are biological classes with significant meaning.
How do you plan to go on fighting?
I have a blog where I can continue to share information with people if they need it. Some of the things I've done have been more behind the scenes anyway, in terms of intersex advocacy. I can carry on with that without Twitter, of course. I also do public speaking occasionally, to help to share information about intersex. I've been really lucky with people who've been generous with their own time and platforms in getting information out there. I'd like to do more of that and work with other intersex people/DSDs to support them with telling their stories too. I think it's really important.
If you had Jack Dorsey's yoga mat and refused to give it back until he answered one question, what would that question be?
Who does he think died and made him god? And he's not getting that yoga mat back until I see some real introspection.