Janie Cheaney: Softcore coercion

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Monday, December 3rd. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from member-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. The utopian vision of the very few is predictably turning into a nightmare for the rest. Watch what you say! Careful, lest you offend!

Here’s Janie B. Cheaney.


That is, a “Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist.” The label establishes her liberal credentials but comes with a warning: she’s wandered away from orthodoxy by not accepting trans women into her gender tribe. Trans women meaning: men who now identify as women.

Megan thought she had an obvious scientific basis for her position. She also thought she had a platform to express her doubts that men could be women and vice versa. But no—late in November, Ms. Murphy found herself “permanently suspended” from her Twitter account.

On the website Feminist Current, she complained that it shouldn’t be considered hateful to—quote—“ask questions about the notion that people can change sex, or ask for explanations about transgender ideology.”

But surprise! It turns out Twitter quietly changed its “Hateful Conduct Policy” in October. That new policy prohibits negative comments against any—quote—“protected category. This includes targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals.” End quote.

Deadnaming—that’s one word—means referring to the given name, or “birth name” of a trans person. Misgendering is using the wrong pronoun for that person.  So a statement like, “Bruce Jenner has subjected himself to physical mutilation” is a serious crime worthy of suspension.

The term “Orwellian” comes to mind. But in a way, it’s worse. In George Orwell’s dystopian classic 1984, a coercive government rewrote history and language in order to control the populace. Twitter is enforcing a voluntary suspension of disbelief on its users in order to create ever-evolving standards of decency.

To read Twitter’s Hateful Conduct Policy, one might think the platform is a model of decorum. It states: “We recognize that if people experience abuse on Twitter, it can jeopardize their ability to express themselves.”

Yet all kinds of people experience abuse on Twitter every day for expressing themselves. Violent threats, racial and sexual slurs, insulting images—all of which are clearly prohibited in the policy—are Twitter’s stock in trade. It’s at best selective, and at worst suppressive.

But Twitter isn’t the cause, only the symptom. At the bottom of this confused, discontented, alienated, fractured, and lost society is a hunger for solidity, for somewhere to plant its feet.

They are continually creating new standards because they’ve let go of the true Standard. They call things that are not as though they were because they’ve lost touch with the only One who can call something out of nothing. Their efforts to establish a just, fair, and tolerant society will produce the opposite.

All the more reason for Christians to hold firm, hold fast, and hold out our only hope in Christ.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Janie B. Cheaney.


WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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