She said he said: writer sued for 'misgendering' trans woman
Lawyer launches UK's first 'deadnaming' case against Graham Linehan for using her previous male name
A transgender lawyer has launched Britain’s first “deadnaming” case in the high court against the co-writer of Father Ted, after he referred to her by her birth name.
Stephanie Hayden is suing Graham Linehan for defamation and harassment after he allegedly published tweets “deliberately misgendering” her by using her previous male name.
The practice of using a transgender person’s birth name instead of their chosen name is known as “deadnaming”.
Hayden, who is legally female, said Linehan “caused her distress” and that his actions constituted harassment, a misuse of private information, and were a “gross affront to her dignity as a woman”.
Hayden, a lawyer and current affairs commentator, was born Anthony Halliday and began her medical transition to a woman in 2007. She was awarded her Gender Recognition Certificate in May 2018.
In the court papers, filed on October 1, Hayden alleged that Linehan retweeted material from another account that included photographs of her former male self, her family and friends, as well as suggestions that she was a criminal. She is also accusing him of sharing defamatory remarks against her reputation, including a tweet Linehan is alleged to have directed at Hayden from September 26, in which he wrote: “I don’t respect the pronouns of misogynists, stalkers or harassers.”
According to the court papers, another tweet by Linehan from a similar date is alleged to have said: “Yes we must always be nice to conmen, sexual predators and misogynists hijacking a noble movement for their own ends.”
The documents also cited an interview Linehan gave to The Times in September in which Hayden alleges he called her “a dangerous troll”.
Commenting on Linehan’s alleged revelation of her former male self before her gender transition, Hayden said: “It was a gross violation of my privacy and who gets to know this information about me.”
Linehan, a vocal critic of transgenderism, was given a verbal harassment warning by West Yorkshire Police following the incident and has since locked his Twitter account owing to “abuse and harassment”. The writer, who has nearly 700,000 followers on Twitter, was accused of “abusing his high profile” by Hayden, who said she had been “mocked and ridiculed” online.
David Banks, a media and defamation law expert, said: “If the court decides that personal information that was once public now becomes private information, then that sets an interesting precedent. Deadnaming someone will be something that is actionable if the case succeeds in court.”
Linehan was approached for comment.
– © The Daily Telegraph