Self-Described Feminist Loses Lawsuit Against Twitter For Banning Her Account

from the 'your-opinion-isn't-welcome-here'-said-the-private-company dept

A California court has tossed a self-described feminist’s lawsuit against Twitter for being kicked off the platform. [h/t Adam Steinbaugh]

Meghan Murphy was banned from Twitter for violating the terms of use with tweets stating “men aren’t women tho” and “how are transwomen not men?” She also posted tweets referring to certain transgender women as “men,” which contained personal information about their previous male identities. Twitter gave several warnings to Murphy that these tweets violated its Hateful Conduct Policy before banning her completely.

Murphy then sued, filing a putative class action lawsuit against the social media service that alleged a variety of contractual violations. She alleged the updated Hateful Conduct Policy hadn’t been enacted at the point she was accused of violating it — specifically the additions that made targeting or “deadnaming” transgender people a violation of the rules.

Murphy hoped to have the court find in her favor and bind Twitter to a large number of stipulations. From the decision [PDF]:

[M]urphy seeks a broad range of injunctive relief, including orders prohibiting Twitter from enforcing its “misgendering” rule, directing it to restore access to any accounts it has suspended or banned for violation of that rule, prohibiting it from promulgating or enforcing any other rules or policies that discriminate based on viewpoint, ordering it not to make material changes to its user agreement without providing 30 days’ advance of the changes, prohibiting it from attempting to enforce any changes in its User Agreement retroactively, requiring it to remove the purportedly unconscionable provisions in its Terms of Service governing suspending or banning accounts, and requiring Twitter to “issue a full and frank public correction of its false and misleading advertising and representations to the general public that it does not censor user content…”

Not included in this recitation of redresses is the fact that Twitter reserves the right to remove accounts for “any or no reason,” which may be bullshit, but it’s bullshit Murphy agreed to when she created her now-banned account.

Twitter responded with an anti-SLAPP motion and a recitation of Section 230. The court finds the anti-SLAPP law does not apply because Murphy’s complaint is fashioned as a class-action lawsuit seeking relief for her and others like her, rather than seeking to prevent Twitter from engaging in public interest speech of its own.

But Section 230 bars everything else. Contrary to popular belief, Section 230 immunity isn’t nullified by moderation activity. In fact, Section 230 encourages good faith moderation efforts and specifically notes this does not remove the immunity given to service providers. Trying to use moderation efforts against platforms in lawsuits like these is a non-starter.

That this case involves Twitter’s decision to take down content rather than post it is immaterial: “No logical distinction can be drawn between a defendant who actively selects information for publication and one who screens submitted material, removing offensive content. ‘The scope of immunity cannot turn on whether the publisher approaches the selection process as one of inclusion or removal, as the difference is one of method or degree, not substance.'”

Furthermore, attempting to dodge Section 230 immunity with allegations of breached contracts, etc. isn’t going to work either. What Murphy claims is a contractual violation is nothing more than the moderation efforts Section 230 encourages.

[A]ll of her claims challenge Twitter’s interpretation and application of its Terms of Service and Hateful Conduct Policy to require Murphy to remove certain content she had posted in her Twitter account, to suspend that account, and ultimately ban her from posting from Twitter due to her repeated violations of the Terms of Service and Policy. All of those actions reflect paradigmatic editorial decisions not to publish particular content, and therefore are barred by Section 230.

Murphy’s lawsuit is dead, at least in this court. Twitter’s motion to demurrer is granted “without leave to amend,” which indicates this complaint isn’t fixable. This doesn’t prevent Murphy from trying again at the federal level, but the outcome won’t be any different.

Yes, being deplatformed sucks, especially when it seems — at least subjectively — the platform isn’t consistent in its moderation efforts. But let’s be clear about what platforms actually owe users: nothing. The terms of service quoted in this lawsuit make it clear Twitter has zero obligations to its users, whose accounts it can remove without cause. The guidelines may give some warning about what behavior won’t be tolerated, but ultimately, users are at the mercy of the service provider.

Let’s also be clear about this: Section 230 immunity does not make this situation worse. It actually allows more people to use these services, rather than fewer. Without this immunity, we wouldn’t be seeing a trickle of stupid lawsuits trying to drag the government into platform moderation. We would see a steady stream of litigation that would only encourage swifter removals for less cause and a stifling of speech of all varieties across all platforms.

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Comments on “Self-Described Feminist Loses Lawsuit Against Twitter For Banning Her Account”

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183 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Defending corporate EULA? Really?

The deadnaming and misgendering concerns are legit, so I’m not sure why you have to bring up the "any or no reason" section of the EULA.

I thought we’d moved past this defense, but let me offer an alternative viewpoint: Twitter is a de facto public forum, even if it’s legally a for-profit corporation with no obligation to uphold constitutional rights the same way as a public forum.

However, given its size and influence and scope, we should be very wary of allowing Twitter to abuse its power by cancelling accounts willy nilly.

As you’ve written previously, it’s a big problem that so much of our culture is locked up in these copyrighted but quasi-public spaces. Let’s not confound the issues by defending their impossibly dense EULA.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Defending corporate EULA? Really?

However, given its size and influence and scope, we should be very wary of allowing Twitter to abuse its power by cancelling accounts willy nilly.

We should be even more wary of demands by people to have their speech forced on others, as that will drive reasonable people off of the social media platforms.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Defending corporate EULA? Really?

We should be even more wary of demands by people to have their speech forced on others, as that will drive reasonable people off of the social media platforms.

If you’re saying we should be wary of something, you really should follow that with a negative example to make your point, not a positive one.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

Bless your heart, but you did. You referred to the driving away of “reasonable people” from social interaction networks as a “positive” consequence of “demands by people to have their speech forced on others”. Seems to me that you don’t care if the only people left on SINs are unreasonable assholes, given that you see such an outcome as a “positive”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

That solution won’t suit everyone. I can’t stop using it. I can’t stop paying attention. Well, not without first starting.

It’s not a problem, it ain’t never gon’ be a problem, I cannot care less who is or is not still on it. Let anyone use it who can life with the EULA and the other users…. and let anyone who can’t stand the EULA or the community go elsewhere. It can’t be a big deal.

Except, of course, Mike is right. If the communist-fascist-unpopular front manages to compel that platform to shut down, next they’ll come after some platform that I might actually use. Simple integrity compels us all to defend, on principle, even the platforms we don’t happen to use.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

Twitter is a de facto public forum, even if it’s legally a for-profit corporation with no obligation to uphold constitutional rights the same way as a public forum.

You’re free to offer that argument.

And I’m free to point out, again, that Twitter is a privately-owned platform that is open to the public. Saying “it’s a public forum” doesn’t make it one.

it’s a big problem that so much of our culture is locked up in these copyrighted but quasi-public spaces

Forcing Twitter to host speech it doesn’t want to host won’t fix that problem.

Revered Crocodile of Island Nation says:

Re: Re: "Stone" admits wishes to be RULED by corporations!

1) Corporations are legal fictions that do not exist at all before persons agree to abide by terms that The Public sets.

2) Corporations do not exist in any physical sense; as a legal matter, they "own" property and so on, but you cannot show me any "corporation" other than at most a piece of paper on which is authorization for a number of persons to call themselves by the collective fiction, and signed by "natural" persons agreeing as above to a conditional existence on good behavior.

3) Corporations are not "persons" as defined in the Constitution. Corporations therefore do not have "Constitutional Rights". At most, lawyers agreed the word is handy for referring to person-like privileges that corporations have been granted.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: "Stone" admits wishes to be RULED by corporations!

1) Corporations are legal fictions that do not exist at all before persons agree to abide by terms that The Public sets.

Right. And The Public, through their elected representatives, have appointed judges who have ruled that corporations and the people who own and run them have the same free speech rights that you do.

Gary (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: BLUE admits that he wants "Gary" censored

Hey remember when you said I should be censored, while condemning anyone that would moderate you?

Your numbered arguments aren’t supported by actual facts. And they don’t actually lead to a conclusion.

Last I checked you were the one claiming that Corporations had the right to restrict speech – and were fine with it.

allengarvin (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: "Stone" admits wishes to be RULED by corporations!

Corporations are not "persons" as defined in the Constitution

This supposition is broadly wrong. Corporations are legal persons under the law, both at the time of the adoption of the constitution, and now. See Blackstone’s final chapter, that uses that literal term in the first paragraph.

And more broadly, under US federal law, the Dictionary Act states:
the words “person” and “whoever” include corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals

And, see the 1819 Supreme Court case, Dartmouth College v. Woodward, which established that corporations enjoy some of the rights of persons under the constitution (in particular property and contract rights). Where it makes sense, corporations have always been people in the US.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 "Stone" admits wishes to be RULED by corporati

"Corporations are legal persons under the law"

Are they required to:
register for the draft?
pay taxes? (yeah – but do they?)
Has Texas executed one yet?

"corporations enjoy some of the rights of persons "
This is not the same as saying corporations are people.

Revered Crocodile of Island Nation says:

Re: Re: Defending corporate EULA? Really?

Maybe Copyright is the real problem, and ownership culture that keeps our culture locked up.

No, copyright is NOT the problem, "Gary" and definitely not HERE where a person was kicked off a mega-platform for stating simple truth.

Why don’t you READ before commenting?

Why don’t you quit spamming every thread with that silly assertion?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Defending corporate EULA? Really?

eula/tos or policies (amended or not): none of these matter. they can refuse to serve you for any reason, as long as that reason isn’t illegal. does not matter if it says so in the tos or sign on the door.

under no circumstances do you have to warn people in advance not to shit in the lobby in order to kick them out when they persist in doing so.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Defending corporate EULA? Really?

Twitter is a de facto public forum?

And under what authority can this statement become true? Didn’t SCOTUS just state in a recent ruling that social media sites are not public forums? Where was that… oh Here is is

Are trying to tell us that SCOTUS is wrong and you are right? And from where you get the authority to overrule SCOTUS? Cabbage law?

btr1701 (profile) says:

So years ago we had one arm of the government claiming that internet Terms of Service were contracts that were so binding that they could form the basis for CRIMINAL charges against someone for violating them, now we have a different arm of the government saying it that it doesn’t mater what’s in the ToS, a customer has no recourse based on the business’s breach of its own terms.

Revered Crocodile of Island Nation says:

Techdirt again supports arbitrary and absolute corporate power.

Meghan Murphy was banned from Twitter for violating the terms of use with tweets stating "men aren’t women tho" and "how are transwomen not men?"

So now PLAIN TRUTH is banned.

As I wrote yesterday, these mega-corporations ENFORCE The Establisment’s "politically correct" left-liberal-corporatist views.

You have not read "1984" if don’t understand that the goal of power is to deny everyone the ability to say 2+2=4. You must instead say whatever the current Party line is, and not at all remember any specific of yesterday.

Do me the favor of simply extrapolating this to ten years down the line.

Then remember that Twitter is just a legal fiction that has no existence before persons got permission from the gov’t to call their group by that name.

And you want to be ruled by fictions and arbitrary EULA which remove ALL your rights? Okay. Enjoy.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Techdirt again supports arbitrary and absolute corporate pow

It is kind of ridiculous that they’re censoring basic science and biology in service to a PC agenda.

This feminist author isn’t the only person who has run afoul of this. Credentialed scientists and biologists have received sanction from Twitter and Facebook for discussing basic biological reality and scientific fact because it angers the LGBTQ++!* activists.

It truly is becoming very Orwellian in many respects with these social media companies, as they require people to use made-up nonsense words to reinforce someone else’s delusions and deny the reality of the world around them, but they have the right to be huge throbbing censorial asshats if that’s how they want to run their business.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Trans people should be able to use Twitter just the same as cis people.

No one’s saying they can’t. What they shouldn’t be able to do is force me to deny objective scientific reality, basic biological fact, and/or to use made-up nonsense words (like ‘zhe’ and ‘zheir’) just because that’s how they want to be known.

If I declared that I identify as royalty and want to be known and referred to as ‘Your Royal Highness’ or ‘Your Majesty’, should I be able to get someone kicked off Twitter for refusing to humor my delusions?

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

No, but you should be able to get kicked off Twitter for conflating someone being trans with someone being delusional.

They are. They have gender dysmorphic disorder. It’s a recognized medical and mental condition in the DSM. It’s a form of mental delusion. It’s not their fault, and if pretending to be the opposite of their biological gender helps them live a happier and more productive life, more power to them. But it is a mental illness and pretending it’s not is denying reality. Which again, they are free to do. What they’re not free to do is demand that I have to play along with their delusion to the extent of forcing me to use words that don’t even exist in the English language and/or deny basic science and biology.

You can get sanctioned on Twitter now merely for stating that biological gender exists. That’s absurd and, yes, Orwellian.

And it’s not just Twitter. New York City has codified this into law, making ‘misgendering’ someone or refusing to play along with whatever they say they ‘identify as’ a crime if done in a place of public accommodation.

Not sure how the government forcing me to call someone ‘zheir’ whether I want to or not isn’t a violation of my 1st Amendment right to free speech, but I guess anything goes in the land of Political Correctness.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

It’s willful ignorance to ignore the data that shows that transgenderism is co-morbid with a variety of other mental health issues. It is promised as a panacea, a cure-all for feelings of dysphoria, but the reality is that identifying as transgender does nothing to address feelings of dysmorphia. Your entire identity labors under a suspension of disbelief that you are asking, or rather demanding that society participate in.

That’s also to say nothing of the incidence of autogynephilia in males who identify as trans women. It’s essentially the trans community’s dirty little secret, and we’re supposed to pretend it’s not a thing when it’s quite regularly seen, particularly in men who identify as trans women and essentially "get off" on having other people "validate" them and their desired identity as indistinguishable from the real thing: https://medium.com/@sue.donym1984/the-elephant-in-the-room-dc822144a81b

cattress (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

The science isn’t quite as firm as you think with regards to genitalia determining sex and gender. We are finding genetic variations and mutations that could explain a whole host of exceptional conditions. And from an evolutionary stand point, a spectrum of sexualities and gender expressions shows adaptability and variation that creates the greatest chance for human survival.
And as for this idea that one is being "forced" to use a pronoun is plain silly. You have no right to examine one’s genitals to see if their preferred pronoun matches their body. So whichever pronouns a person declares appropriate are the ones to use. Some women grow facial hair around the time they go through menopause, do you have the right to demand she tolerate being called he until she proves otherwise, because you think her facial hair and short haircut make her look like a man? Of course not. Use common courtesy and respect a person’s wishes.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

You have no right to examine one’s genitals to see if their preferred pronoun matches their body.

I’m not asking to do any such thing. But no matter how they look both above and below their clothes, I know they’re not a zheir or a zhe, and I shouldn’t be banned from social media or, even worse, sanctioned by the government, for refusing to play those stupid games.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

If a man claims that his identifying as a woman literally makes him indistinguishable from a woman and thinks his "identity" gives him access to women’s spaces such as rape crisis shelters, then yes, they’re being delusional. Claiming that correctly identifying the sex of someone, regardless of whatever personal identity they choose, somehow makes Twitter "unsafe" is bullshit. Women should be able to discuss issues such as males who identify as trans women colonizing and effectively erasing women’s spaces such as sporting events without feeling the need to self-censor.

Twitter is legally in the right with respect to speech, and I know Meghan Murphy did not have a hope in hell with this lawsuit, but Twitter is definitely on the wrong side here. When you’re taken a moral stance that the discussion of objective reality and acknowledging material facts is somehow abhorrent or dangerous, you are not on the right side of history and will not be fondly remembered. People who are critical of the claims of trans activism and its political influence are rightly questioning the demands it makes on society.

Do you believe correctly identifying a trans woman as "a male who chooses to identify as a woman" renders them somehow more or less unsafe than a lesbian woman who is publicly slandered and labeled a transphobe for not wanting to sleep with a man who identifies as a woman? And before you claim "that never happens", I would implore you to educate yourself further that yes, this is a thing that regularly happens, and yes, it counts as homophobia as well as lesbian/gay erasure.

https://medium.com/@mirandayardley/girl-dick-the-cotton-ceiling-and-the-cultural-war-on-lesbians-and-women-c323b4789368

This is Miranda Yardley, a male transsexual who identifies as female and who is critical of the current state of trans activism as a whole and its claims discussing the extremely problematic "cotton ceiling" label men who identify as trans women use to try and shame lesbians into having sex with them. For further information please refer to:

https://terfisaslur.com/cotton-ceiling/

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Trans activists often love to trot out "look at all these trans murders" when the numbers in terms of a % base still pale in comparison to the number of murders of women relative to the % population of women. Many trans individuals who are killed are also sex workers; it’s not always because they’re trans that they’re killed, as we have strong data that consistently shows there is a huge incidence of murders of sex workers, trans or not.

So, you don’t have a problem with homophobia and lesbian/gay erasure, or incitement of violence? You can’t be bothered to care about threats of violence until someone actually gets murdered? It should be noted that radical feminists pretty much never use comparable "kill all trans" language, whereas "kill all TERFs" is quite widely seen as messaging in trans groups. It’s also worth noting that when trans people are murdered, 99% of the time it is a man doing the killing. How does this male violence a woman’s fault? How does it justify the messaging encouraging violence?

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6

Trans activists often love to trot out "look at all these trans murders" when the numbers in terms of a % base still pale in comparison to the number of murders of women relative to the % population of women.

How many of those women are murdered for being TERFs/FARTs? How does that number compare to the number of trans people murdered for being trans?

Many trans individuals who are killed are also sex workers

That doesn’t excuse someone killing a trans person for being trans.

you don’t have a problem with homophobia and lesbian/gay erasure

I do. Trans people aren’t a part of it.

[you don’t have a problem with] incitement of violence?

I do. Trans people existing shouldn’t incite people to violence, and neither should assholes deadnaming/misgendering trans people out of hate/spite.

radical feminists pretty much never use comparable "kill all trans" language, whereas "kill all TERFs" is quite widely seen as messaging in trans groups

And believe it or not, such rhetoric does get people banned from social media sites. I know of people who got banned from Twitter for saying “trebuchet TERFs”. (And TERFs don’t need to use such language. Stochastic terrorism is a hell of a thing, especially when it comes couched in the language of deception — e.g., “traps”; “delusional” — and doesn’t explicitly call for violence.)

It’s also worth noting that when trans people are murdered, 99% of the time it is a man doing the killing.

Telling that you are so upset about men killing cis women that you go on a rant about it, but you toss out this “fact” in such an offhanded way.

How does it justify the messaging encouraging violence?

It doesn’t. But here’s a question in return: How many marginalized people do you think have ever said anything remotely similar to “kill all TERFs”, regardless of whether they were serious about doing it, and nobody was incited to violence?

Here’s the thing about that kind of rhetoric from a marginalized community: It largely isn’t serious, specifically because the community knows that even one person acting on it will get them killed in return. A Muslim man who lives in a majority White community and is otherwise peaceful might one day say to himself, “I wish all those asshole White people were dead.” If another Muslim were to overhear him and act on his rhetoric, what do you think would happen to him if the community found out he was the unwitting instigator of racially motivated violence? Hint: He wouldn’t be the focus of a ticker-tape parade.

Trans people will always be a minority. They will always be outnumbered. If a trans person wants to say “trebuchet TERFs” as a way to blow off steam from existing in a world that wants trans people either dead or invisible, so be it. I’d be more concerned about such rhetoric if it was proven to truly instigate real-world violence.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

What a shame. You’re so desperate to virtue signal you don’t even bother to take the time to get the basics right. Not sure why I’m still bothering I’ll be kind enough to respond to the most intellectually deficient comments:

I do. Trans people existing shouldn’t incite people to violence, and neither should assholes deadnaming/misgendering trans people out of hate/spite.

Ah, the "thoughtcrime" argument.

First off, referring to a historical figure by their previous name is not equivalent to a trans person saying "KILL ALL TERFS". Second, one does not become an asshole for pointing out that someone like Caitlyn Jenner is a male who used to be named Bruce Jenner and now identifies as female. Third, it is not a moral failing to point out that Caitlyn Jenner is a male, albeit one who now identifies as female and has cosmetic surgeries to look more feminine, and to claim that Caitlyn Jenner is literally female either as a result of cosmetic surgeries, an update to a birth certificate, or worse that he has always been female and thus all his sporting records should be female records, is clearly illogical and incorrect.

you don’t have a problem with homophobia and lesbian/gay erasure

I do. Trans people aren’t a part of it.

Sticking your fingers in your ears and screaming "I can’t hear you" doesn’t mean it isn’t true. I’m sure lesbians would love to hear how you, as a male, get to speak on their behalf and tell them what’s happening to them isn’t happening.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 me thinks thou doth protest too much

Seriously why have you wasted 75 paragraph and hours of your life over the semantics of pronouns. As far as your “science” goes. I’ve seen serious papers on Phrenology, so maybe wait until the science is settled before you go sprouting off nonsense about research papers that you aren’t qualified to read much less comment on.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

It’s almost like you have no self-awareness of your own comment. The idea is that excluding transgender folks from the feminist argument undermines their own attitudes towards hierarchy and patriarchy. FARTs condone the "Othering" of transgender and non-binary people because they consider their struggle to be different and, in fact, they think it undermines their conception of the feminist movement. The struggle for acceptance and equality in society can only be achieved through unity because the communities share common interests.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

The struggles are different though. Feminism recognizes that there are class-based sex distinctions which are a source of sexism. Transgenderism wishes to pretend, or rather demands that we pretend biological sex does not exist, and that all that matters is whatever the person self-identifies as. And that if you disagree with that view, that you are a spiteful transphobic bigot.

Transgenderism wishes to pretend its struggles are the same because it is politically convenient for it to do so. It however is a movement also wholly disconnected and unrelated to the gay/lesbian/bisexual movement which is not about personal identity demands and demands for access into women’s sex-segregated spaces such as rape shelters but rather that simply romance/sexual relations between two people of the same biological sex not be seen as criminal/immoral. But, because the GLB movement was so successful, the trans movement was unfortunately able to latch on to it in order to further its own ideals while ultimately undermining the GLB movement as a whole.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Not saying you’re a closet case...

“Transgenderism wishes to pretend, or rather demands that we pretend biological sex does not exist”

No it doesn’t. It wishes for people to accept the reality that more than two binary genders exist, physically and perhaps more importantly mentally. I’m not sure why that’s so hard for you people to wrap your heads around. Usually when people go to the lengths you’re going to deny another persons basic rights is because they are repressing something. Or they’re just an asshole.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Not saying you’re a closet case...

accept the reality that more than two binary genders exist

But that’s not correct. There are two genders: male and female. You can decide to be whatever you like, behave however you like, prefer to sleep with whoever you like but you still have your birth-assigned number of X and Y chromosomes. If you want to be addressed as "she" then I will address you as "she". If you want to be addressed as some made-up word then I will address you as "they".

I don’t really care whether your plumbing matches your breast size. I don’t care what pronoun you prefer to be addressed as. None of it makes any difference to me. You are either someone I would like to know or someone I wouldn’t regardless of your declared gender or sexual preferences. But if I am suddenly labeled "transphobic" simply because I choose to relate with a particular gender endowed with a particular set of genitals then I have to call shenanigans. Question the validity of my choices and I will question the validity of yours.

No matter what anyone says on this topic there will be those that agree and those that disagree. It’s those who get angry and violent in their responses that are the real problem.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:11 Not saying you’re a closet case...

No. There are two possible sexes, with clearly defined and well known outliers in the form of intersex conditions/chromosomal disorders, but those are still within the female/male binary that makes up primate sexual development. Intersex people are not your personal "gotcha" to use to validate your faulty reasoning and it’s incredibly offensive to use the existence of intersex people to validate trans activism, something which is completely unrelated.

bob says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Not saying you’re a closet case...

Except that physical development and identification is based on your chromosomes. Yes we have unusual pairings beyond just XX and XY. But from what I understand trans people are not just ones that have more than two sex chromosomes like XXY.

For the example of Caitlyn Jenner. She may look, sound, smell, and act more feminine. But unless she has replaced her genes she is technically a male. No amount of surgery or hormone therapy will change that.

You could make the argument that hormone replacement therapy suppresses the Y chromosome so it doesn’t affect her body but she still has a Y chromosome. And her body hasn’t evolved to suppress the Y chromosome or replace it with a different one. So if she stopped taking the hormones she would start to express male features.

However if mentally she identifies as a woman, great for her, she should be able to.

Also if she is sexually attracted to men or women (or both, etc) then that can further complicate how she identifies herself.

So a trans-man that is attracted to men, is he gay or do we need a new term to describe the situation. I think we need a new term because I don’t consider him gay, or straight, if mentally he identifies as a man but has the body of a female or a male-like body due to surgery and hormones.

Personally I think we should be able to state or call someone what they are. However that also requires that the person is safe to be how they identify themself. That means not discriminating against a person because of their genes, gender identification, sexual attraction, skin color, etc.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Not saying you’re a closet case...

Gender as a social construct is only as real as much as you pretend it matters. "Gender" in terms of identity ultimately doesn’t matter and only exists to box people into behavioral conformity modes of conduct. Transgenderism in upholding "gender" as stereotyping only serves to further the goals of rigid gender structures instead of breaking them down.

The only thing that matters is biological sex. Behavior, modes of dress, societal roles, none of those should be something you should feel boxed into because you are a particular sex. If you are a gender non-conforming male or female you should be proud of it. If you are an androgynous male or female you should be proud of it. Transgenderism however is currently teaching children to box themselves into rigid gender roles, whereby someone who is gender non-conforming is taught to question if they were born the "correct" sex and convince themselves that they are somehow "wrong" and must change their entire identity. This is erasure. Homosexual children are being shamed for being gender non-conforming and are being taught that they were born wrong and require hormones and poorly done cosmetic surgery to their genitals to fix their bodies.

You can call gender critical individuals assholes all you like, but we’re not the ones promoting the abuse of children and calling it "progressive".

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Sure. There are differences between gender and sex. Sex is a biological designation that relates entirely to the role of the individual in procreation. Gender, in contrast, is a cultural designation that reflects both historic and modern perceptions of the expectations of society. We have traditionally tied this designation to outwardly apparent sexual characteristics (that do not even necessarily agree with the biological issues for which sex is a valid concern), but the things we assign to boy/man or girl/woman rarely necessitate those sexual characteristics.

This lead, up until recently, for people to disguise their outward sexual characteristics so they could claim to be a gender that conformed with their desired profession or hobby. In more recent times this has lead instead to transgender designations, allowing people to conform to gender designations that do not match outward sexual characteristics.

Gender is not a biological label. It is a label established by society that is used to assign ‘acceptable’ behaviors and interests that have no connection to the biological designations of male and female, otherwise known as a person’s sex. Your claim of indentifying as a helicopter has nothing to do with Transgender indentification. You are instead requesting I accept a transkingdom (outsinde the animallia kingdom) identification for you, relating to your biology and the very concept of biological classification. That claim requires far more evidence than provided.

eiyukabe says:

Re: Re: Re:4

No, you are wrong. “Gender” is an absolute synonym for “sex” and has been since the 15th century — https://www.etymonline.com/word/gender. You are conflating “gender” with “gender roles.” While I can’t explicitly accuse you of this, this is a common technique by trans activists to use slippery language to force their new age ideology on society.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

you all keep lying about "objective scientific fact" when the science and reality have always said something completely different. same thing with references to culture "always and only having two mutually exclusive and attractive genders" identifiable exactly by their junk.

no one can make you use nouveau pronouns, but don’t be a dick and insist on referring to someone in a way meant to have a stab at their identity. "They" has always been an option, despite some ridiculous post-Victorian proscription against it being used in the singular.

so knock it off, Ben.

Gary (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Techdirt again supports inclusion

Examples please. Nature abhors a vacuum.

Everything has two and only two sexes. Like bees – Male, Female and Neuter. Or Clownfish – They are either genetically male or female, except when they switch.

Oh I see – people (Not you AC, the other AC) who make absolute conclusions about sex, gender and science are often wrong.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Techdirt again supports inclusion

I had a discussion with someone earlier about how trans rights activists constantly parade out the presence of intersex people as pro-trans examples (when intersex people often find this offensive), or examples in the animal kingdom where observable sex changes as a part of their natural biological development. It’s pretty disgusting and disingenuous considering these essentially nothing to do with how sexual development and sex differentiation works in homo sapiens as well as other primates and yet other species are trotted out as justification for the broader claims and demands of the trans movement, when they’re essentially unrelated.

It’s very interesting to see this kind of thing in the "wild" expressed uncritically in support of the trans movement.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Techdirt again supports inclusion

It’s almost like humans are animals related to other species in some way. And we can look at other related animals to help see what is possible in the “wild.” Hell ones of these days someone might get the idea to usual animals as substitutes for humans in scientific experiments and some other poor soul such as yourself won’t see what the connection is between the humane treatment of “laboratory” animals and “wild” ones.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Techdirt again supports inclusion

The existence of observable chromosomal disorders resulting in intersex conditions and the existence of parthenogenesis are both totally irrelevant and unrelated to a man declaring himself to be a woman and demanding society acknowledge him to be a woman lest they be bigots for failing to do so.

Intersex people are not your shield to use in faulty arguments. Stop using them like one.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8

virtue signaling

"Virtue signaling" is an accusation that someone has expressed a moral or ideological position only to improve their social standing. But that attacks the character of a person, not the viewpoint. If the idea is sound, the reason someone has for expressing it is irrelevant.

Are you aware you’re virtue signaling for what amounts to men’s rights activism

I would be if I thought trans women were men. But trans women are women. You won’t be able to make me say otherwise, so don’t bother trying.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

I would be if I thought trans women were men. But trans women are women. You won’t be able to make me say otherwise, so don’t bother trying.

‘Do you remember,’ he went on, ‘writing in your diary, "Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four"?’

‘Yes,’ said Winston.

O’Brien held up his left hand, its back towards Winston, with the thumb hidden and the four fingers extended.

‘How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?’

Four.’

‘And if the party says that it is not four but five–then how many?’

‘Four.’

The word ended in a gasp of pain. The needle of the dial had shot up to
fifty-five. The sweat had sprung out all over Winston’s body. The air tore
into his lungs and issued again in deep groans which even by clenching his
teeth he could not stop. O’Brien watched him, the four fingers still
extended. He drew back the lever. This time the pain was only slightly
eased.

‘How many fingers, Winston?’

‘Four.’

The needle went up to sixty.

‘How many fingers, Winston?’

‘Four! Four! What else can I say? Four!’

The needle must have risen again, but he did not look at it. The heavy,
stern face and the four fingers filled his vision. The fingers stood up
before his eyes like pillars, enormous, blurry, and seeming to vibrate,
but unmistakably four.

‘How many fingers, Winston?’

‘Four! Stop it, stop it! How can you go on? Four! Four!’

‘How many fingers, Winston?’

‘Five! Five! Five!’

‘No, Winston, that is no use. You are lying. You still think there are
four. How many fingers, please?’

‘Four! five! Four! Anything you like. Only stop it, stop the pain!’

Abruptly he was sitting up with O’Brien’s arm round his shoulders. He had
perhaps lost consciousness for a few seconds. The bonds that had held his
body down were loosened. He felt very cold, he was shaking uncontrollably,
his teeth were chattering, the tears were rolling down his cheeks. For a
moment he clung to O’Brien like a baby, curiously comforted by the heavy
arm round his shoulders. He had the feeling that O’Brien was his protector,
that the pain was something that came from outside, from some other source,
and that it was O’Brien who would save him from it.

‘You are a slow learner, Winston,’ said O’Brien gently.

‘How can I help it?’ he blubbered. ‘How can I help seeing what is in front
of my eyes? Two and two are four.’

‘Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three.
Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not
easy to become sane.’

The world you dream of is one where two and two are five, sometimes three, sometimes all of them at once. I reject your idea of sanity, your mindless watering down of language to the point where it is rendered nebulously useless and where "woman" has no meaningful definition we can grasp and use.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:10

I am not O’Brien, and you are not Winston. I can’t make you believe what I believe or think what I think. While I could be tempted to desire that outcome, I wouldn’t go through with the process if it meant torturing people to get the outcome.

And no matter how hard you want to shove a needle into me, you won’t change my mind. Two plus two is four. Trans women are women. Trans rights are human rights. And I am not your bitch.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Since we are all assuming things now

I’m assuming based on your posts you’re a greasy shit-mingler neckbeard who lives in his moms basement and the closest you’ve ever gotten to an actual women’s defining sexual characteristics, since you’ve been born, is when you fell asleep on a stolen copy of Hustler.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

What I can’t understand is why you’re using a slur that’s commonly associated with encouraging male violence towards women.

https://www.peaktrans.org/district-judge-kenneth-grant/

https://www.newcenter.ca/news/2018/5/6/terfs

Do you think Maria Maclachlan, the victim, should have been shamed for correctly identifying her male attacker’s sex with male pronouns? Was she too a TERF for doing so?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

What upsets me is how you’re casually throwing out a term that is associated with encouraging men to assault or kill women who do not agree that a man who identifies as a woman is literally female:

https://www.feministcurrent.com/2018/05/01/trans-activism-become-centered-justifying-violence-women-time-allies-speak/

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4

you’re casually throwing out a term that is associated with encouraging men to assault or kill

If I believed for a moment that using the acronyms “TERF” or “FART” encouraged violence, I wouldn’t use them. But I don’t. So I will. If’n you don’t like it, get a userscript to block my posts.

Gary (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

If I believed for a moment that using the acronyms “TERF” or “FART” encouraged violence, I wouldn’t use them. But I don’t. So I will. If’n you don’t like it, get a userscript to block my posts.

Terf when used in the context Stephen did is not inciting violence towards women. Some people have adopted that, but I always see the term used to mock people for being anti-trans.

It’s interesting that you see defending trans people as inherently violent.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Who other than the people the term applies to should get to decide whether it’s a slur or not?

We’re constantly told by our ‘progressive’ betters that only the people affected by words get to determine their offensiveness and who can legitimately use them without causing offense.

So blacks get to determine what words are offensive and prohibit others from using them.

Latinos get to do the same for words that reference them.

Gays get to do the same for words that reference them, etc., etc.

And social media companies have adopted these ‘progressive’ linguistic mandates and made them corporate law.

So, logically then, only TERFs should get to decide what is and is not offensive, what is and is not a slur, with regards to words that reference themselves, and Twitter, et al, should enforce those determinations just as rigorously.

Ev Samuel says:

Re: Re: What?

Masnick himself has called TD a progressive left leaning site, as recently as 2016, Tom. There’s a difference between being "pro first amendment" and encouraging blood and soil, science denying, trans genocidal hate speech, which is something I’ve never seen Techdirt encourage in my nineteen years of reading it… until now. It’s disappointing, Tom. Do what you’re going to do, man. I don’t care. I’m just disappointed in the editorial decision you’re making here. That’s all.

Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re: What?

There’s a difference between being "pro first amendment" and encouraging blood and soil, science denying, trans genocidal hate speech, which is something I’ve never seen Techdirt encourage in my nineteen years of reading it… until now.

Can you point to where TD encouraged the acts you describe?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: What?

Masnick himself has called TD a progressive left leaning site, as recently as 2016

Citation? That’s quite hard to believe, considering how frequently he allows Tim Cushing to spam up the place with his extreme-right-wing Libertarian conspiracy theory ranting about The State being irredeemably evil. There’s nothing remotely left-leaning or progressive about that!

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: They're... not?

Why are you allowing, and even highlighting actual hate speech on the comments?

Nothing has been ‘highlighted’, and TD doesn’t remove comments, even particularly disgusting ones(one need only see some of the past troll comments to see that)they let the community decide when a particular comment has crossed the line and deserves to be flagged and hidden.

Anonymous Coward says:

According to her complaint, myself and every one I know and everyone I have ever met is, has been, and always will be a "57 varieties" walking, talking hater.

I think she is totally and completely full of it.

For those non-Americans 57 varieties gets it name from the old Heinz 57 of ketchup commercial and referes to all the varieties of libtart hate.

Bruce C. says:

If this case had merit, we'd all be Vulcans...

"No logical distinction can be drawn between a defendant who actively selects information for publication and one who screens submitted material, removing offensive content."

Now, if only "logical" was a synonym for "legal", you might have a case there.

I have my problems with the broad immunity granted to "platforms" in CDA 230 when compared with other forms of publication that are subject to libel, defamation, copyright and other civil claims.

But as the law stands, the ban-hammer is real, and perfectly legal.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Transgender women are men who identify as women. Men, as in people with a male reproductive system, do not get pregnant in humans, because that is not how human biology works. The only way a "man" gets pregnant is when you are talking about a transgender man, i.e. a woman who identifies as a man gets pregnant.

I fail to see what was wrong or objectionable about the above that you felt the need to "correct" it.

Glenn says:

Well, sure… never let the truth get in the way of policy.

You can have all of the plastic surgery and drug treatments that you want, but if you’re born male (or female), then you’ll die male (or female), and you’ll be male (or female) every day in between. Being male is about one thing: producing sperm; being female is about one thing: producing eggs (and gestation). Gender is about biology, not sociology. Medical professionals who deny this are just in it for the money and are doing nothing but harm to people with real psychological problems. The only haters here are the ones who hate themselves.

Anonymous Coward says:

Weinstein proved that the existence of penis-bearers is the worst possible thing to happen to humanity. Once we shatter the glass ceiling men will only be good for two things: testosterone and sperm, the latter of which will be meaningless now that we have transgenders. The death of the Y chromosome cannot come soon enough. Why the fuck do women need men anyway? Children are a tumor and waste of space. Women know how best to love women and there’s no chance of accidental pregnancy when they make love. Yes, women "make love". Men "breed", like filthy animals.

Correction: men are only good for one thing. Bara and yaoi culture. They’re waddling blobs of toxic masculinity otherwise. When the Y chromosome rightfully self-destructs I say good fucking riddance.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

You, personally, are precisely what is wrong in the LGBTQ community. You and your ilk need to be scrubbed form the gene pool. Thankfully, because you despise children, that will happen of its own accord and we’ll never have to deal with more than a handful of you genetic defects in any given generation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

You’d think this would be the case, but these extremists are also the ones behind unquestioned adoption by non-heteronormative family units. And their track record isn’t insignificant.

She’s got a point, too. The Internet will always have the back of militant feminists because they’ll be damned if they’re ever caught on the side of "men’s rights activists".

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Children are a tumor and waste of space. Women know how best to love women

LOL! Where do you think those women come from? They were all once space-wasting tumors, too.

Until you can pop one out of a test-tube fully grown, you’re stuck with the rules of biology that stubbornly refuse to play stupid politically correct ‘progressive’ games.

Anonymous Coward says:

Techdirt's comment section becoming an ideological "safe space"

This article’s comment section has an unusually large number of deleted comments that are not "abusive/trolling/spam" but are on the minority side of the argument, while many extreme and abusive comments that are aligned with the majority viewpoint do not get flagged.

If people are going to misuse the flagging button to snuff out minority opinions, links to informative on-topic articles, and scientific facts they don’t like, then maybe it’s time to consider switching Techdirt to some other kind of ratings system to allow people to express their disagreement with someone else’s comment that does not violate any rules.

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