It is being reported that a woman was arrested shortly after referring to a transgender woman as a man over social media.
Kate Scottow, a 38-year-old from Hitchin, Hertfordshire, was in a brief exchange with an activist on Twitter which she committed what the transgender community refers to as “Deadnaming,” or referring to someone by a previously held identity, Daily Mail reports.
According to the report, the exchange resulted in three law enforcement officers showing up to Scottow’s home and arresting her in front of her two children. They detained her for seven hours and forced her to undergo standard criminal processing, gathering her photograph, DNA, and fingerprints.
From Daily Mail:
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.’
More than two months after the arrest, which occurred in December, Scottow has still not been given back her cell phone or laptop.
“We take all reports of malicious communication seriously,” the Hertfordshire Police said, confirming the arrest.
According to the Daily Mail report, this is just the latest example of a downward trend of law enforcement being “heavy-handed” with these sorts of exchanges:
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.
It was complaints by Miss Hayden that led both to the arrest of, and injunction against, Mrs Scottow.
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’.
Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.
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’.