Ideology over biology at Twitter
Sexuality | Several accounts remain suspended for not using transgender language
by Mary Jackson
Posted 2/05/21, 03:41 pm
A Focus on the Family news outlet remains locked out of Twitter two weeks after the social media platform deemed one of its posts “hateful.” The tweet referred to assistant health secretary nominee Dr. Rachel Levine as “a man who believes he is a woman.”
The Christian organization, based in Colorado Springs, Colo., appealed the decision twice, seeking clarification from Twitter on behalf of its news outlet, The Daily Citizen. The social media platform indicated it would continue to block the account unless the outlet deletes the post, said Paul Batura, vice president of communications for Focus on the Family and editor of The Daily Citizen.
“It seems, according to Twitter, simply acknowledging biological fact is now hateful,” Focus on the Family President Jim Daly said. He argued The Daily Citizen’s tweet reflected an understanding of gender that Scripture and science have supported for millennia.
Twitter also temporarily blocked the Minnesota Family Council, Life Site News, The Catholic World Report, and writer Michael Brown for tweets describing Levine as a biological male. On Jan. 30, the Family Policy Alliance started an online petition and social media campaign using the hashtag #AreWeNext. “If you are going to ban [The Daily Citizen], are you going to ban millions of others like me who believe that biology is reality—and that freedom of speech matters in America?” the petition reads.
The petition has garnered more than 11,000 signatures so far, said Meridian Baldacci, policy and communications strategist for the Family Policy Alliance. The organization is preparing an open letter to Twitter, with support from numerous lawmakers and conservative family groups, Baldacci said.
In a response to Focus on the Family, Twitter cited its hateful conduct policy, which prohibits promoting violence or directly attacking or threatening people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, among other categories. It includes transgender individuals on a list of “disproportionately targeted” groups and prohibits intentional misgendering or referring to people by their birth name after they have changed it.
“Twitter is within its rights to create content moderation policies,” wrote Jason Thacker, chairman of research in technology ethics and creative director for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. “But these policies should take into account the true diversity of thoughts and not denigrate certain types of religious speech as inherently hateful or dangerous.”
Mary is a book reviewer and reporter for WORLD. She is a World Journalism Institute and Greenville University graduate who previously worked for the Lansing (Mich.) State Journal. Mary resides with her family in the San Francisco Bay area. Follow her on Twitter @mbjackson77.