Meghan Murphy, who runs FeministCurrent, Canada’s leading feminist website, has been banned from Twitter for “misgendering” Jonathan Y****. And it’s erupted into a wider discussion about the left censoring… well… the left.
Jonathan Y**** filed lawsuits against 16 working class women in Canada. Each of these women is being sued for refusing to wax Y****’s genitals. The women were not comfortable handling a penis, nor did they have the training required to wax a scrotum (done using a specific technique and type of wax, due to sensitive skin area).
It’s known that one of the women is Muslim, with a specific set of beliefs and religious rules regarding contact with the opposite sex. Y**** has human rights complaints pending against women and salons from Vancouver to Abbotsford. Y****’s identity is protected by the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal (therefore only known as JY in Canada)… Yet the women’s full names and places of employment were made public. One of the women is a single mother who works from home.
LGBTQ and human rights organizations legally protect Jonathan Y****, on the basis of self-identification (self-ID laws), as a protected marginalized class. Lawyers were afraid to take on the women’s cases. Fortunately, a couple of the women were ultimately able to find representation.
Screenshot, Y**** Social Media Camp 2018
The story was censored by left media. In some coverage, vague language was used to portray Y**** as the victim, and the women as bigots. When the full story finally came out in an article, feminists spoke up, including Murphy, who commented, “Yeeeah it’s him.”
The article showed images where Jonathan had asked questions (on forums) such as: “If I notice a 10-year-old girl that’s nude from below…Is it weird to just approach her? Just to bond?” as well as other questions, like wondering if he can approach young girls to help them insert tampons and talk about “period stuff” in restrooms.
Comedy writer and director, Graham Lineham, commented on the dark irony of protecting people like Jonathan, while silencing women who are no longer ‘allowed’ to say anything about it. This is not just happening on Twitter, it’s becoming law and is already the law in some countries.
And the one article calling out Y****, was ultimately censored by WordPress (a site that hosts many mainstream platforms). WordPress not only censored the article, but they also shut down the publication that put out the story. This sparked a separate, but related debate about the aggressive censorship of voices on the left (by the left).
Complaints that the left media has either been silent or managed to spin these stories are pouring in. These stories have been utilized, in some cases, as propaganda to promote censorship, by using vague wording to explain what has occurred. Although stories like this have been piling up, vocal extremists make so many threats that many writers and publications are scared to even write on the topic. When an article like this does go up, it’s typically yanked down just as fast.
According to some sources, Twitter added “misgendering” and “deadnaming” to their terms of service after they banned Murphy. Others claim the policy was already in place. To be clear, Y**** himself goes by “he” and by the name Jonathan Y**** online.
It becomes impossible to demonstrate the full picture, when you’re not ‘allowed’ to paint the picture, or use the words that go along with it. Feminists like Murphy believe they should be allowed to paint that picture. That enforcing these rules makes it impossible to ‘name the problem’ in a realistic manner.
screenshot, Y****, Twitter 2018
In an article from November 20, Murphy writes that she complied and deleted the tweets in question, in order to regain access to her Twitter account. But when she angrily tweeted @twitter, questioning why they were censoring facts and silencing people who don’t share their beliefs, the tweet went viral. It gained more than 20,000 likes before Twitter locked her account, yet again.
Murphy was locked out of Twitter for the first time back in August. Murphy was told she “‘violated [Twitter’s] rules against hateful conduct'” and had to delete four tweets in order to regain access to her account. The comments in question all revolved around similar situations—where Murphy points out how new laws have caused harm to women, or organizations that have been set up to help women.
Meghan Murphy doesn’t abide by compulsory language. However, Murphy did comply with Twitter’s demands, removing several such comments, including a much publicized tweet that said, “men are not women.” Murphy also said “[Twitter] offered no explanation at all—not even a vague accusation of ‘hateful conduct.’” Part of Meghan Murphy’s shtick is that she doesn’t think women should be obligated to play ‘nice.’ She also notes that people aren’t always nice to her, nor is that ever demanded of them. She said, “I have reported countless violent threats, the vast majority of which have gone unaddressed [by Twitter].” Murphy, who specializes in debates around gender, sex and women’s studies, has a master’s degree in this field.
Amnesty International has even stated, “Twitter’s inconsistency and inaction on its own rules not only creates a level of mistrust… it also sends the message that Twitter does not take violence and abuse against women seriously – a failure which is likely to deter women from reporting in the future.”
While I may not agree with everything Murphy writes—I rarely agree with anyone 100%… not even my own wife—I do agree Murphy has a right to her own beliefs. Forcing a belief system upon others is not a human right. Forcing a woman to wax a scrotum, is not a human right. It is not a human right to force a woman to handle a penis against her will. These shouldn’t be considered controversial statements. But in 2018, they are.
Just before Twitter banned Murphy, they removed her blue (verification) check mark as punishment. Murphy made a comment on her Twitter page regarding the check mark being removed, and shortly thereafter (about an hour and some change), Twitter suspended Murphy’s account altogether.
Twitter has been discriminating against lesbians for their beliefs as well. Accounts have been penalized, blue check marks withheld or removed. If and when lesbians talk about their own long-held beliefs in regard to gender and/or same-sex attraction—and it being something you can’t change, ‘fix’ or somehow ‘think’ your way out of—they often face discrimination.
To lesbians ‘gender’ is like Santa Claus—You believe in him as a kid… but then you grow up (and realize gender is no more than a man-made box of stereotypes, roles & expectations, assigned based on sex). Lesbians go by sex. Historically we’ve always given the big FU to gender.
A shocking number of people don’t even realize that ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ are two different words, with two different definitions in the dictionary. Many think the two words mean the same thing, and use the two words interchangeably, as though they’re synonymous.
Feminists, such as Murphy, believe that a conflation of terms has a negative impact. Feminists believe these terms have been kept vague to leverage the passing of self-ID laws (more popularly known as “bathroom bill”)… A list of legal changes that dismantle sex-based protections, in favor of creating a gender-based system. In layman’s terms, it removes all protocols/waiting periods previously required to access spaces marked for females (sex)—such as women’s rape crisis centers, homeless shelters, and prisons—in favor of reserving those spaces based on identity (gender), using an honor system.
Historically, lesbians have been fighting, forever, against the conflation of sex and gender. For the right to define, and take pride in, same-sex attraction. To proudly acknowledge our innate sexual boundaries without judgement. We’ve been fighting against the dangerous misconception (popularized by mainstream) that lesbians, who don’t ‘conform’ to ‘gender norms,’ are “incorrectly female,” as Hannah Gadsby recently put it.
Lesbians famously have little regard for ‘gender norms.’ The epitome of female beauty is often wrapped in a suit and tie. Equating “femininity” with “womanhood” is as sexist as it gets (and extremely damaging to young lesbians). Lesbians are known for challenging the man-made box that is ‘gender,’ and exposing it for what it is… man-made.
Lesbians have a long history of holding our own unique belief system where sex and gender are concerned. And a big part of that has always been our right to acknowledge that we’re raised to believe in “gender” like we’re raised to believe in Jesus… or the Koran… etc. Lesbians are a protected class under the Civil Rights Act of 1964… However, when lesbians are called actual slurs on Twitter, such as “vagina fetishists”—or when people use Twitter to incite a homophobia parade that specifically and exclusively targets lesbians—Twitter sits back with a bucket of popcorn.
Women are subjugated, often horrifically, worldwide—we barely have a say. This is multiplied if you’re a lesbian, compounded if you’re “incorrectly female,” and compounded further still, if you’re a woman of color. The laws about our lives and bodies are overwhelmingly created and maintained by men. Laws should provide safety and equality to all people. Those laws need to protect a wide range of beliefs, and the rights of people (especially marginalized groups) to hold and maintain their own set of beliefs.
Enforcing your own belief system is not a human right. Forcing women to bow down to dick-tatorship, is not a human right. Forcing a woman to handle a penis against her will is not a human right. Setting up a system that legally silences women so they can’t even name what has happened is not a human right.
جوليا ديانا — JD Robertson, is an award-winning author, and a contributor for Huffington Post and AfterEllen—A first generation Arab-American, who grew up between worlds, and currently resides somewhere in the middle with a bird’s eye view.