Graham Linehan, co-creator of the famed British television comedy 'Father Ted,' has been given a verbal harassment warning by police for 'deadnaming' a female transgender activist on Twitter.
Stephanie Hayden, a 45-year-old lawyer from Leeds, reported Linehan to the police for using her previous male name in public, a practice colloquially known as 'deadnaming.'
On top of that, she reportedly complained to the authorities that Linehan had refused to recognize her newly assigned gender by referring to her as "he" in a number of tweets.
The individuals reportedly first became embroiled in a personal tit-for-tat after disagreeing on Twitter.
According to the UK's Independent newspaper, Ms Hayden said in a public statement that, "I don't take kindly to a public figure tweeting about me referring to me as a man and putting my legal name in quotation marks to suggest it's not valid."
PLEASE RT: I want to say something about recent matters involving West Yorkshire Police, Norfolk Constabulary and me #transgender #harassment— Stephanie Hayden (@flyinglawyer73) October 6, 2018
On 2 October 2018 I attended the HQ of Norfolk Constabulary to give a statement in connection with allegations of harassment (1)
Mr Linehan has previously tweeted calling Ms Hayden "Stephanie/Tony/Steve," which are all references to her past names.
Police in West Yorkshire spoke to the high-profile writer and forbid him from contacting Ms Hayden.
I spent 5 hours providing a statement and evidence in connection with the well publicised allegations made by me to the Police concerning #transphobia. Norfolk Constabulary then liaised with West Yorkshire Police to decide how best to deal with this matter (2) #transgender— Stephanie Hayden (@flyinglawyer73) October 6, 2018
Mr Linehan, who is also known for other British TV shows like 'Black Boots' and 'The IT Crowd,' is quoted widely in British media as having said in response, "The police asked me to stop contacting someone I had no intention of contacting. It was a bit like asking me to never contact Charlie Sheen."
As if the case wasn't mind-boggling enough, Hayden is preparing to drag Linehan to the courts on charges of defamation and harassment after the tweets that, according to her were, "deliberately misgendering."
Following discussions between West Yorkshire Police and me I expressed my view that my preference was for the Police to take proportionate and swift action to make clear that #transgender #harassment was unacceptable. I made clear my preference was for a harassment warning (3)— Stephanie Hayden (@flyinglawyer73) October 6, 2018
The UK's Telegraph has reported that in the court papers, filed on Monday October 1, evidence to be used against Linehan includes a tweet which he allegedly directed at Hayden on September 26 2018, which reads: "Yes we must always be nice to conmen, sexual predators and misogynists hijacking a noble movement for their own ends."
At 11:09 BST Saturday 6 October 2018 West Yorkshire Police advised me that a 50 year old male in the Norfolk area was given a verbal harassment warning and advised as to his future conduct on social media. A record of this warning has been made on Police systems (4) #transgender— Stephanie Hayden (@flyinglawyer73) October 6, 2018
Hayden, who is now legally female, was born as ‘Anthony Halliday,' and began her medical treatment to become a woman in 2007. She was granted a ‘Gender Recognition Certificate' (GRC) in 2018. As it stands, if someone in the UK wishes to have their gender changed and legally recognized as such, they have to apply for a GRC, which legally requires accompanying diagnosis by a medical professional.
Yet, Mr Linehan is hardly the first celebrity to face the charge of transphobia.
The lauded Australian academic and feminist writer, Germaine Greer, got herself deep in opprobrium back in 2015 when she said that transgender woman are not "real" woman. Following that comment, she was blasted as a "misogynist" and a "transphobe" by online activists, despite being regarded as one of the major voices of the second-wave feminist movement of the 1960s.
A petition was put in circulation at the time at Cardiff University, Wales, calling for a lecture Greer was scheduled to give there, titled "Woman and Power: The Lessons of the 20th Century," to be canceled. The petition garnered upward of 3,000 signatures.
Although Greer eventually delivered the lecture despite the campaign to silence her, she later told the BBC's Newsnight that, "apparently people have deiced that because I don't think that post-operative transgender men are woman, I'm not allowed to talk."
Germaine Greer is misogynistic and transphobic. How about we don’t call her a feminist writer? 🤷🏼♀️ pic.twitter.com/F1ZqozW0Eo— Lily🌹Madigan (@LilyMadigan99) May 1, 2018
The veteran British former conservative party politician and public commentator, Anne Widdecombe, found herself on the receiving end of online allegations of transphobia in early 2018 while participating in the reality television show 'Celebrity Big Brother.'
Miss Widdecombe had a small disagreement with transgender housemate, India Willoughby, over the use of towels. After the acrimony had cooled off, Miss Willoughby went to hug Widdecombe, but the latter quickly backed off, leading some to conclude that she was thus guilty of transphobia.
British Boxer Amir Khan earned himself a telling off in July of this year when he uploaded a picture of himself next to Caitlyn Jenner, tagging her pre-transition name, 'Bruce.'
Many in the blogosphere subsequently concluded that Khan's move was driven by an inherent dislike of transgender people.
Mr Khan later issued an apology on Twitter saying that, "I made a genuine mistake at the ESPYS calling @Caitlyn_Jenner Bruce was in regards to their sports image, as an Olympian. It's been brought to my attention that this was wrong regardless. Therefore I would like to apologise [sic] to the transgender community."