The days when liberals could credibly claim that “nobody will go to jail” for violating laws making misgendering a trans individual a crime are now firmly in the past. And though the UK hasn’t passed such a law – like Canada did back in 2017 – apparently, UK police are now acquiescing to demands that individuals who misgender a trans person on the Internet can be investigated and charged for engaging in a “targeted harassment campaign.
Because according to a report in the Daily Mail, a 38-year-old mother from Hertfordshire was arrested in front of her two young children then brought to a nearby police station for questioning, where she was locked in a cell without the use of hygiene products (which she said she had specifically requested) while police questioned her about the incident.
Writing on online forum Mumsnet, Mrs Scottow – who has also been served with a court order that bans her from referring to her accuser as a man – claimed: “I was arrested in my home by three officers, with my autistic ten-year-old daughter and breastfed 20-month-old son present.”
“I was then detained for seven hours in a cell with no sanitary products (which I said I needed) before being interviewed then later released under investigation…I was arrested for harassment and malicious communications because I called someone out and misgendered them on Twitter.”
The woman in question, Kate Scottow, was arrested after repeatedly misgendering transgender activist Stephanie Hayden during a debate on the UK-based online forum Mumsnet. After being detained (Scottow was also served with an order prohibiting from ever referring to Hayden as a man), police confiscated Scottow’s phone and laptop, and have so far refused to return them more than two months later. The Hertfordshire PD confirmed the arrest, saying “We take all reports of malicious communication seriously.”
Scottow (left) and Hayden (right)
Court papers obtained by the Mail confirmed that Scottow had been detained for engaging in a “campaign of targeted harassment” and that she multiple twitter accounts to “defame” Hayden, a trans activit.
High Court papers obtained by The Mail on Sunday detail how Mrs Scottow is accused of a ‘campaign of targeted harassment’ against Miss Hayden, allegedly motivated by her ‘status as a transgender woman’.
The papers claim that, as a ‘toxic’ debate raged online over plans to allow people to ‘self-ID’ as another gender, Mrs Scottow tweeted ‘defamatory’ messages about Miss Hayden.
She is also alleged to have used accounts in two names to ‘harass, defame, and publish derogatory and defamatory tweets’ about Miss Hayden, including referring to her as male, stating she was ‘racist, xenophobic and a crook’ and mocking her as a ‘fake lawyer’.
Mrs Scottow denied harassing or defaming Miss Hayden and said she holds a ‘genuine and reasonable belief’ that a human ‘cannot practically speaking change sex’, but Deputy Judge Jason Coppel QC issued an interim injunction that bans her from posting any personal information about Miss Hayden on social media, ‘referencing her as a man’ or linking her to her ‘former male identity’.
And Scottow isn’t the only person who has faced legal repercussions for engaging in these types of debates with Hayden.
Sitcom writer Graham Linehan was given a verbal harassment warning by West Yorkshire Police after transgender activist Stephanie Hayden reported him for referring to her by her previous names and pronouns on Twitter.
As a reminder, here’s how far the fight for trans rights has come over the past year:
2018: "No one is ever going to jail for 'misgendering' so stop fear mongering."
2019: "Mother, 38, is arrested in front of her children and locked in a cell for seven HOURS after calling a transgender woman a man on Twitter" https://t.co/9ksYla7EA1
— Andrew Lawton (@AndrewLawton) February 10, 2019