Anti-trans views are rewarded on Twitter – we all need to do more to prevent radicalisation

Graham Linehan

Graham Linehan was first banned from the platform back in 2020 for violating the network’s policy on hateful conduct (Picture: Getty)

Over the weekend, the Irish television writer Graham Linehan was, once again, temporarily banned from Twitter after he said he was going to ‘kill’ protestors – though he later claimed he was joking. 

Better known today for his hard-line stance on trans issues, the former IT Crowd writer was first banned from the platform back in 2020 for violating the network’s policy on hateful conduct, but was later allowed back on the app as part of Elon Musk’s ‘amnesty’ for suspended accounts – a move that also saw far-right activists return to the platform. 

Yet it appears Linehan’s behaviour, which included calling trans rights activism ‘evil’, branding those who criticise him ‘groomer’ – and joking about killing people this weekend, breached even Twitter’s new, more laissez-faire content moderation rules. 

After appearing to delete the offending post, the writer was swiftly reinstated. 

But while this outcome was of little surprise to anyone who regularly spends time on social media, it’s important to remember Linehan hasn’t always been like this.

His journey to this point over the last 10 years sheds light on the threat of transphobia as a radicalising influence, and unless we recognise – and react – to this threat now, we run the risk of allowing a dangerous force to emerge right under our noses; a force that could be tempted by the allure of violence against marginalised groups.

When first criticised by viewers back in 2013 for the episode of the IT Crowd that saw a trans woman on the losing end of a fistfight, Linehan appeared to take the criticism on-board, remarking that making a trans woman the butt of the joke was ‘not how it was intended’ and that it was ‘bad writing’ on his part. 

Ten years on, Linehan’s position has become dramatically more militant. Prior to his suspension, the Father Ted co-creator’s feed showed him seeking out and targeting transgender people and pro-trans voices on a near-daily basis – and he’d even begun attacking other members of the LGBTQ+ community, such as those who identify as bisexual.  

This is not normal behaviour, and belies an unhealthy fixation on an issue that we typically see from radicalised individuals. 

I believe a similar pattern, though to a lesser degree, can be seen in JK Rowling. 

Rowling wearing a t-shirt accusing then-first minister Nicola Sturgeon of ‘destroying’ women’s rights (Picture: Getty / Twitter)

As recently as 2020, the Harry Potter author’s position on trans rights was that she respected ‘every trans person’s right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them.’ That she’d ‘march with them if they were ‘discriminated against on the basis of being trans.’

But in 2023, it seems to me this is clearly no longer the position that Rowling holds. 

The author’s association with protests in Scotland, which opposed …read more

Source:: Metro


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