Change.org faces legal action after removing ‘hate speech’ petition that defended dictionary definition of ‘woman’ Telegraph 30.10.20

The original article is here.

Change.org is facing legal action after removing a “hate speech” petition that defended the dictionary definition of a woman.

The site’s owners have been accused of breaching its own terms and conditions as well as infringing the right to freedom of speech.

Within hours of publishing her petition on the site, Kellie-Jay Keen received an email from Change.org saying that it had been “identified as hate speech” and taken down from the site.
Her petition had stated that the “dictionary definition of the word ‘woman’ to mean ‘adult human female’ is under threat”.

It went on to say: “We would like to send a clear message to the Oxford English Dictionary that the word woman means Adult Human Female, and will never include men, males or boys. The very minimum a woman has to be is female.”

Her petition added that activists are “seeing to include men in the definition of women” and said that preserving the definition of the word woman was important because it “allows us to be protected in law and in our communities”.

Mrs Keen said she had published her petition in response to a separate petition – also published on Change.org – which called on the Oxford English Dictionary to update its definition of “woman” to include “examples of representative minorities, for example, a transgender woman, a lesbian woman, etc”.

Mrs Keen, a 40-year-old mother of four from Wiltshire who founded an organisation called Standing for Women, said she believed Change.org was enforcing a partisan approach.

“I didn’t say anything offensive or inflammatory,” she said. “Time and time again, what I have recognised is that the word ‘woman’ is in itself seen as offensive.”

Earlier this year, Mrs Keen paid for an advertising poster which said, “I love JK Rowling” at Edinburgh’s main railway station which was removed for being too “political” and potentially offensive.

Rowling, 54, was accused of being transphobic after writing on Twitter that she was puzzled by a headline on an article which referred to “people who menstruate”, adding: “I’m sure there used to be a word for those people,” she wrote. “Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”

Toby Young, general secretary of the Free Speech Union which has been supporting Mrs Keen, said that Change.org has launched a “pernicious assault” on her freedom of speech.

“It is extraordinary that when dealing with a question of such present public importance, Change.org would apparently apply its discretion in favour of silencing one side of an ongoing public debate and that, in doing so, would choose to adopt a stance contrary to the law of the country in which the relevant user was based,” he said.

“It undermines the public debate on gender identity in the United Kingdom. It also brings into question whether Change.org is a genuinely neutral platform when it comes to these important public debates or has its own political agenda it is seeking to promote.”

Change.org declined to comment.

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