Stories of Twitter banning people for controversial or even nonsensical reasons are common enough now to barely rate a second glance. But the one thing they almost always have in common is that the targets of the ban hammer are generally conservative accounts. This week brings a “refreshing” (please note sarcasm) change because a target from the opposite end of the ideological field was taken down. Feminist author Meghan Murphy tells her story of learning that she had been suspended from the social media platform for the sin of saying that men aren’t women.
On November 15, I woke up to find my Twitter account locked, on account of what the company described as “hateful conduct.” In order to regain access, I was made to delete two tweets from October. Fair enough, you might think. Concern about the tone of discourse on social media has been widespread for years. Certainly, many have argued that Twitter officials should be doing more to discourage the vitriol and violent threats that have become commonplace on their platform.
In this case, however, it baffled me how anyone could construe my commentary as “hateful.” One tweet read, simply, “Men aren’t women,” and the other asked “How are transwomen not men? What is the difference between a man and a transwoman?” That last question is one I’ve asked countless times, including in public speeches, and I have yet to get a persuasive answer.
The backlash against Murphy and others saying such “controversial” things was fast and furious. One editor from Esquire magazine issued a vulgar, two-word declaration of war against such threatening speech.
— Tyler Coates (@tylercoates) August 23, 2018
The term “TERF” apparently means, “Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist.” Wait… is that even a thing?
This has all grown far too tiresome for me at this point. I recently mentioned on my own Twitter account that I was seriously considering just abandoning it and only keeping it around to auto-tweet links to my columns here at Hot Air. And I made that statement even before Jesse Kelly was permanently banned (and later un-permanently unbanned) without ever being given a reason. It did take place, however, suspiciously close to a time when he was also making comments about the transgender activist movement.
Perhaps I need to move up the schedule for my move to another platform. Since I write (and tweet) about the subject myself frequently, it’s likely that I will eventually meet the same fate. I suspect the only reason that they haven’t come for me yet is that I don’t have the same social media reach as some others. (Kelly has a good 60K more followers than I do.) But I too have asked the same questions that Meghan Murphy put forward and have seen the same lack of defensible answers in response.
Twitter has apparently determined that even asking questions about the non-scientific idea that men can be women (and vice versa) based on nothing more than their feelings is hate speech. Even if we leave aside the problematic issue of defining anyone’s opinions as hate speech and suppressing them, this really speaks to the hollowness of arguments in support of transgender activism. The entire purpose of science is to ask questions, conduct research, generate conclusions and have those conclusions challenged by one’s peers.
When you have no answers to the challenges and instead respond by shutting down the ability of others to ask questions, that’s basically the opposite of science. And the activists in question are not satisfied with simply getting Twitter to enforce their new “rules.” They want the government to do so as well. So if you don’t see me on Twitter much in the near future, you can probably look for me on Gab or some other platform.