A lawsuit against social media giant Twitter has shone a spotlight on a branch of feminism whose adherents believe transgender women are just male oppressors in lipstick and skirts.
Canadian radical feminist Meghan Murphy’s suit claims Twitter forced her to delete several tweets about transgender people, before permanently banning her from the platform. Her legal argument focuses on a tweet she posted about a person who has filed numerous complaints against female aestheticians because they wouldn’t provide a Brazilian wax job to a person with male genitals.
The legal action arises from a heated dispute among feminists and members of the LBGTQ community that sees women such as Murphy slammed as “trans exclusive radical feminists,” or “terfs.” Murphy, a writer, blogger and podcaster, has called the label a slur and an attack on feminist theory.
Her problems with Twitter started with an October tweet saying “Men aren’t women,” according to the suit, filed Monday in San Francisco County Superior Court. Twitter demanded she delete the tweet, along with another asking, “How are transwomen not men?” according to the suit. Murphy claims she had to comply with the demands in order to stay on Twitter.
“She would never have joined Twitter had the company let it be known that it would arbitrarily ban users who did not agree with the political and social views of its management,” the suit alleged.
A Twitter spokesperson called the lawsuit “meritless” and said the San Francisco company would defend itself vigorously.
After complying with Twitter’s deletion demands, Murphy addressed a tweet to the firm, according to the suit: “This is f**king bulls*** @twitter. I’m not allowed to say that men aren’t women or ask questions about the notion of transgenderism at all anymore? That a multi billion dollar company is censoring BASIC FACTS and silencing people who ask questions about this dogma is INSANE.”
Murphy claimed in the suit that her tweet went viral and received 20,000 “likes,” but four days later Twitter made her delete it after she tweeted, “Yeeeah it’s him” over a picture of a person who had filed 16 human rights complaints in Canada against aestheticians. That person claimed to be a woman in the complaints, and was allegedly denied Brazilian bikini waxes due to having male genitals, Murphy alleged in the suit.
Murphy made reference in the suit to Twitter executives’ claim that the company was “the free speech wing of the free speech party,” and alleged that changes to the firm’s “Hateful Conduct Policy” led it to stamp out her free speech. The changes banned users from “misgendering” transgender people — calling them by their birth sex — or “dead naming” them by referring to their original name.
“This new policy banned expression of a political belief and perspective held by a majority … of the American public,” Murphy claimed in the suit, citing results reported in 2017 from a Pew Research survey that found 54 percent of Americans believe that whether a person is a woman or man is determined by the sex they were assigned at birth.
Murphy is seeking a court order banning Twitter from enforcing its “misgendering” rule or any others that “discriminate on the basis of viewpoint.” She’s also seeking legal fees.