In which we profile feminists and their allies who have been removed from Twitter for wrongthink.
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Meghan Murphy! I’m the founder and editor of Feminist Current -- Canada’s leading feminist website. We’ve been around since 2012, and have become internationally known, thanks to our (apparently radical) critiques of the sex industry, violence against women, objectification, and, now, gender identity ideology and legislation.
I’m also a freelance writer, and have published work in all sorts of places: The Spectator, The Globe and Mail, CBC News, Quillette, UnHerd, Ms Magazine, Vice, Al Jazeera, New Statesman, and so on and so forth.
I do a lot of talks about gender identity ideology and legislation these days, which has made me a target… I always say that if those who claim I say ‘hateful’ or ‘bigoted’ things would just show up at these talks/events, they’d probably find themselves agreeing with me…. Or at least unable to make such ridiculous accusations against me.
Is Twitter important to you?
An an independent writer, editor, and journalist, Twitter is -- for better or for worse -- absolutely necessary to me as a tool to communicate with my audience, to reach new audiences, to connect with other writers, editors, and journalists, and to share my work.
My job is to communicate with the world around me. And Twitter has become the primary space online within which to do that. To ban an independent feminist journalist from the platform is a rather extreme punishment -- first, because my voice and the things I say are already marginalized and silenced in the mainstream/by mainstream media, but also because it prevents me from actually making a living… It’s not like the job I’ve chosen is particularly lucrative; so it’s a struggle already to make a living doing what I do. And the reality of the world we live in today is that in order to make it as an independent, you need to be in the public eye, to a certain extent. If I were backed by a company or large organization, it would be a different story, but I’m not…
Beyond that, my banning sends a message that what I was saying was somehow dangerous or harmful, and it’s not. Not by any stretch of the imagination. I never said anything hateful, threatening, or harmful on Twitter. I simply stated basic facts. And now basic facts are being positioned as ‘hate’. It’s insane.
What was the tweet that got you banned from Twitter?
After GenderTrender published a post revealing the name (then under a publication ban) of the man behind a number of human rights complaints against estheticians who had declined to give him a brazilian bikini wax (and revealing his some of his predatory behaviour towards girls), I tweeted, asking for confirmation that he was, in fact, Jonathan Yaniv. I quickly came across (or was sent? I can’t remember exactly…) a screenshot of a public online review left by Yaniv, under his own male face and own male name, confirming his identity. I shared the screen shot, saying, “Yeah, it’s him.”
That night, I received an email from Twitter, referencing only this last tweet, saying that, due to the “Yeah, it’s him” tweet, I was permanently banned from the platform. I was given no specific reason for the banning and still have not been told what ‘rule’ I broke. I appealed the ban, and received a form response, saying my account
“was found to be violating Twitter's Terms of Service, specifically the Twitter Rules against hateful conduct.”
The email goes on to state:
“It is against our rules to promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease.”
That’s it. No further detail.
Was there a lead up to you getting banned. Can you describe it?
Beginning last year, I was suddenly made to remove a number tweets about local self-described “transsexual dominatrix” Lisa Kreut. None of the tweets were hateful, they simply relayed facts about his targeting of local feminist organizations and activists, including Feminist Current. (He publicly bragged about having our advertising pulled…) I mean, the tweets weren’t ‘nice’. I was legitimately angry about the power this man seemed to have over the local left and the way he was going after and silencing feminists. But the tweets were not threatening, harassing, or discriminatory.
Then, famously, I tweeted, “Men are not women” and “How are transwomen not men? What is the difference between men and transwomen?” Twitter locked down my account and forced me to delete those in order to get my account back… I was angry and shocked, and complained about the lock down when my account was reinstated. Twitter then locked my account again, and forced me to remove the tweet asking why I was no longer allowed to report facts on the platform. Honestly I felt kind of harassed at that point. It seemed clear to me that someone at Twitter was after me -- picking on me specifically and trying to get me permanently suspended. I never dreamed that would actually happen… I legitimately believed (and still believe) I wasn’t saying anything particularly offensive or breaking any of Twitter’s rules.
I was clearly targeted as one of the loudest voices challenging trans activism and gender identity ideology, with a large platform.
People are often confused by the gender debate. Can you explain it and explain your part in it?
My work has long been rooted in a radical feminist analysis of sex and gender, which means that I understand males and females to be socialized in different ways under patriarchy. Girls are taught to be passive, polite, accommodating, and to look pretty, for example, and boys are encouraged to be aggressive, dominant, to take initiative, to lead, and to be more active than girls. Women’s rights exist today on the basis that there is a historical context for sexist discrimination against those of us born female. Whether we like it or not, in our culture women and girls are at risk for violence and sexual assault, which mostly comes at the hands of men, meaning that certain spaces where women and girls might be particularly vulnerable -- shelters, change rooms, prisons, etc -- are women-only.
This has become the crux of the debate: whether or not men who identify as “transwomen” should be allowed access to women’s spaces. Trans activists have done a very good job of confusing the public into believing that sex and gender are the same thing, and that because, they argue, gender is a “social construct,” sex is as well. This is ridiculous, of course. It is not possible to change your biological sex, though it is possible to reject gender stereotypes and roles.
Essentially, I began speaking up about what I saw as the potential harms of gender identity ideology because countries began to pass legislation I believed would nullify women’s rights and put women and girls in danger. And because I saw other women speaking up and being threatened and vilified for doing so… I felt I had no choice but to stand up and support these women, but also to fight back against legislation that threatened to undo all women had worked to achieve over the past century.
I’ve been punished a great deal for speaking up, of course. Friends have turned their backs on me due to social pressure or perhaps ignorance. I’ve been threatened. I am protested every time I give a talk or participate in a panel. I’ve been slandered so many times I could not possibly count. There are certain places I no longer go, knowing I could be in danger. I lost my book deal. I was banned from Twitter. It’s been hard on my friends and intimate partners, as people try to trash me or pressure them to stop associating with me. Canadian media and Canadian politicians have participated in all this, misrepresenting me and in some cases outright libelling me.
Nonetheless I am certain we will prevail. Things may get worse before they get better, but we are undoubtedly right and on the right side of history. More and more people are becoming fed up with this attack on women and material reality.
How do you plan to go on fighting?
I’m currently suing Twitter in an attempt to hold them accountable for silencing users who criticize gender identity ideology and trans activism. It terrifies me that these huge social media companies have the power to control speech, discourse, and politics in this way. We should all be fighting back, before it’s too late. (Please support this lawsuit, if you can!)
If you finally get a chance to corner Jack Dorsey in a courtroom, what would you say to him?
Do you really want to be known as the man who silenced and slandered masses of women in order to protect misogynists and predatory men?
THE DISAPPEARED (so far)