For the past five months, my friends and I have moderated a Facebook page called “Keep Locker Rooms Safe,” which advocates for sex-specific bathrooms and locker rooms. We created the page in response to recently enacted regulations in Washington State that require all businesses and schools in the state to grant access to bathrooms and locker rooms on the basis of gender identity, rather than anatomy.
We oppose this legislation, as it is founded entirely on subjective principles, opens the door to all kinds of harm, puts an unfair burden on businesses, and restricts free speech. Our page existed as a resource library for like-minded people who needed tools to combat the legislation within their own spheres of influence, such as the recent debate over a new North Carolina law requiring people to use the private facilities designated for their birth sex unless the facilities’ owners decide otherwise.
Needless to say, the opposition was intense. As moderators, we did not allow any hateful comments or content on our page from either side. While we are conservatives, our objectivity and welcoming approach allowed us to work peaceably with people from across the aisle, such as a large number of radical feminists, who share our beliefs about the inherent danger of these types of policies. In short, we were always determined, but kind.
But trans activists were incensed by our position and aggressively set out to shut us down. Relying heavily on bully tactics, they systematically worked to silence anyone who disagreed with them. They set up fake “Keep Locker Rooms Safe” pages to confuse our followers. They sent us violent threats, tried to jeopardize our employment by calling our bosses, circulated slanderous stories, and organized a unified effort to shut us down.
The nature of the messages we received is too vile to even name. When we reported these posts to Facebook, we were told they did not violate the Facebook code of conduct.
So we decided to create a Facebook photo album to showcase the creativity and intensity of these awful remarks. We called the album “Bigotry: intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself.” We wanted our followers to see what real bigotry looked like.
Within a day, Facebook shut down our page. Apparently the comments themselves weren’t offensive. It was our decision to showcase them that was the real act of violence. You can see a selection of the album’s contents below, including a lovely cartoon depicting Joseph Backholm (chair of the initiative fighting this legislation) and me. Warning: there’s some really messed-up and offensive language in them.
Our Facebook page got permanently deleted, so we’ve already gotten busy creating its replacement. We had 2,500 followers, so we are working to get our following back up. We were at 605 followers in less than two days, and over 1,000 now, so that’s encouraging.