Meghan Murphy is one of Canada’s pre-eminent feminist journalists and the editor and publisher of “Feminist Current”. Feminist Current’s reach is international.
For a decade Murphy has dedicated herself to articulating feminist arguments and analysis and has provided a digital platform for amplifying the voices of the movement for the liberation of women.
As such she and the women who write for Feminist Current often address issues that provoke considerable dissent and heated response. In many cases this has led to harassment, venomous, hateful comments and threats on social media. These sites, including Twitter, rarely come to the defence of women who experience hateful responses on their platforms. Women complain frequently about threats of violence and depictions of violence against women and are repeatedly ignored.
Over the course of a few weeks, Meghan Murphy was repeatedly locked out of her Twitter account for statements and valid questions such as these: “Men aren’t women. How are transwomen not men? What is the difference between men and transwomen?”
Ultimately, Murphy’s Twitter account was permanently suspended on the evening of Friday November 23rd because of her reference to claims made by a trans identified male, “JY”, who made 16 human rights complaints against women who refused to give him a “Brazilian wax” of his genitals, a service they offered to women. (https://breaking-news.ca/cant-take-no-for-an-answer-jonathan-yaniv-files-16-human-rights-complaints-against-women-who-dont-want-to-wax-his-balls/
JY dropped the case against the aestheticians when comments online were discovered which alleged that he was a pedophile and sexual predator. Because the tweet referred to JY using a male pronoun instead of a female pronoun, Twitter claimed this violated their new policy against ‘misgendering’, a policy that, it should be noted, WAS NOT IN PLACE when Murphy posted the tweet about him. In response to a tweet made by a Twitter user who IDENTIFIES HIMSELF as Jonathan Yaniv, Murphy simply retweeted him with the comment: “Yeah that’s him”. For this she has been banned.
Whatever one thinks about these issues or about JY, he has made them and himself matters for public discussion. Responses should be encouraged, not suppressed.
Murphy’s statements, discussions and questions form part of the public conversation about the conflict between the rights of women and claims by trans activists and deserve attention and debate in public spaces. The conflict will not be given its due if members of an oppressed and exploited group – women – are banned from the discussion. We must be able to speak freely and publicly about issues that have an impact on our struggle for liberation. Thoughtful and provocative argument must not be censored on the grounds that some people disagree with the arguments on the basis of their opposition alone. Debate ends when the views of people we simply disagree with are so easily characterized as ‘hatred’ and ‘bigotry’ and banned. This is an anti-democratic response and must not be allowed to stand.
We assume that Twitter aspires to be a free speech zone, while taking care to ensure that violence and hatred is not condoned. Meghan Murphy and gender critical feminists are not espousing hatred or bigotry (though we are certainly targets for hatred and bigotry). We call on Twitter to re-evaluate their policy for determining when hatred and bigotry is present and to educate itself on the issues rather than silencing the voices involved in credible debate.
Twitter: Re-instate Meghan Murphy.