A very peculiar thing has happened. I received a notification from Twitter that they have handed me a 14 day ban. Even more peculiar is that they wouldn’t say what my crime was or even if I could say anything in my defense.
I wish I could just shrug my shoulders and wait for the fortnight to pass, but I couldn’t let it go. Fortunately, I can access the Rightful Lives account and went and had a look for clues. I think I’ve pieced together what has happened and it makes me sick to my stomach. I will never go on Twitter again.
A couple of weeks ago, I had been following the live tweeting of the Tribunal that has been brought by Mermaids to challenge the charitable status of the LGB Alliance. I found it compelling. Like most live tweeted hearings, I experienced moments of genuine shock and there were a couple of brilliant laugh out loud moments too.
What struck me so forcibly was how closely the performance of the Mermaids witnesses resembled the witnesses from Hillingdon that gave evidence in our case in 2011. Arrogant, evasive, deceitful were just three adjectives that sprang to mind. In contrast, there were a couple of profoundly moving moments when the two founders of LGBA gave evidence and it reminded of the moment in 2011 when Asweene asked me why I got so upset whilst the social work manager gave his testimony. It’s these moments of spontaneous, absolute truth, that can’t be rehearsed that reveals the genuine from the performance.
So, I decided to do a long Twitter thread comparing the Tribunal with my experience in the Court of Protection. I knew that even though I tried to avoid making obvious judgements about the current case, I would inevitably reveal where my sympathies lie and that would seriously piss some people off.
The thread only got seven likes. Usually when I write about our court case I get hundreds of likes and many retweets. Within about 10 replies, I’d been called a transphobe, a Nazi, a bigot, a fascist. I was posting hate speech. One person, who I had never encountered before, was particularly hostile, but after a dozen or so tweets, calling me all the names under the sun she blocked me. The pile on lasted about 48 hours and then they moved on to someone else.
Looking back on the thread since the ban, 3 of my tweets are missing, replaced with the “this tweet violates Twitter policy….” I can’t remember exactly what I wrote. I was scrupulously polite to begin with, although I did turn a bit snarky with some of the more ferocious people towards the end. I went and looked at the timeline of the most hostile person, and after she blocked me, she did a tweet (with a screenshot of one of my posts), calling on her followers to report me for misgendering her. I’m sure I didn’t. I noticed in her profile today she identifies as “Trans, non binary, bi-sexual”, but I’m pretty sure I referred to her by name during our conversation. I am prepared to acknowledge though, that even referring to her/she in this post, I may be making a mistake. From the replies to her screenshotted tweet, she clearly galvanised many of her followers into action and that was that.
I’m 63, but this sort of thing is straight out of the school playground. Infants school. It’s no way for grown ups to behave. I felt really grubby and wobbly for a while, but also pleased that I followed my instinct and wrote about something that I found interesting. In hindsight I should have written about it in my blog and not a Twitter thread.
It’s a blessing in disguise. Twitter has long ceased to be a place for humour. Or respectful disagreement. I’ve got my hernia surgery on 14th October, so being Twitter free will probably be jolly good for my blood pressure between now and then.