Guidance: ‘Doxxed’ For ‘Transphobia’

GUIDANCE IF YOU ARE ‘DOXXED’ OR REPORTED FOR ‘TRANSPHOBIA’ TO YOUR EMPLOYER OR SIMILAR


Janice Williams, Chair of OBJECT, took part in the 'Get the L Out' protest at Pride in London in July 2018 to highlight the erasure of lesbians in the LBGT movement, and was immediately doxxed by transactivists to Humanists UK, for whom she worked occasionally as a self-employed funeral celebrant. 

A media pile-on ensued, and Humanists UK generated an internal complaint against Janice which resulted in a Complaint Hearing recently. Janice defended herself robustly, supported by other gender-critical Humanists, and Humanists UK have not upheld the complaint. We await the full report, apology etc.

More and more women are being doxxed at work and feeling isolated and frightened. Often their livelihood and the welfare of their families is at stake. 

Here are some pointers you may like to think about if this happens to you or someone you know:


1. Ask for a copy of the procedure they are using. Make a note of every time they don’t stick to it, including any time they fail to abide by the timings specified.

2. If you can’t get back to them in the time specified in the procedure, let them know why and also when you will be able to get back to them.

3. Ensure everything is in writing. If you agree something in person or over the phone, email a brief confirmation of what was discussed/decided, eg: ‘Thanks for taking the time to speak with me this morning about my disciplinary. I’d just like to confirm my understanding that …...’ Then the onus is on them to correct any misunderstandings.

4. Remind them that the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development recommends ‘Employers who wish to be truly inclusive of LGBT employees should build supportive workplace relationships, run initiatives that inspire attitudinal change and not simply rely on formal policies and practice.’

5. Ask them to be very specific about what you are alleged to have done or said, where, when, etc., who it impacted on and exactly how it impacted. Generalisations about you are not sufficient grounds for a complaint.

6. Ask for a copy of the Capability procedure, which may be more appropriate to your situation if you haven’t had training on your organisation’s trans policy and practice. If you are not being dealt with under Capability, ask why not.

7. So long as you haven’t discriminated against a trans person it is very unlikely that you have done anything wrong. Thoughts and opinions are still free in this country. The government is consulting on changing the law, so a clear legal position has not yet been reached.

8. Ask your employer if they are familiar with Article 10 of the Human Rights Act, covering Freedom of Expression.

9. If they have a policy on trans, you could ask what was the scientific evidence on which it was based and when it was last revised.

10. If the procedure they are using stipulates an Informal Stage, they MUST go through this, but they often try to skip it because they are unsure of their ground. If so, they have put themselves in the wrong and this will work strongly in your favour.

11. If the complaint is handled first by one person, then another, this probably indicates that people in HR are trying to distance themselves from it and this is probably good news for you. It is likely to lead to mistakes on their part.

12. Ask for a copy of the Grievance procedure as you may need to use this if you are unfairly treated.

13. Obviously, ask your Union for help if you are a member, but don’t be surprised if they are not that helpful. They may have been ‘got at’ too.

14. Inform your union and employer that reporting people, nearly always women, for transphobia is part of a concerted nationwide programme to panic organisations into a pro-trans position without looking properly at the evidence. It is less about individuals and more about triggering organisations into policies which they will find it difficult and embarrassing to retreat from later. Ask them to consider the wider implications for the organisation.

15. Give them a copy of the Doxxing Dossier, focussing particularly on the case of Angelos Sophocleous, the Durham University student who was sacked from 2 editorial roles for alleged transphobia in October 2018. He asked the Student Union to do an independent assessment of the evidence against him, and they reported that because proper procedures had not been followed, the two magazines should apologise to him and reinstate him.

16. Take someone with you to any hearing or interview, and record it if you can.

17. Don’t agree to any confidentiality except as specified in the procedure.

18. Feel free to contact OBJECT to talk through your case.

19. It can be useful to tell your employer that you may need to get an independent assessment of the case and how it has been handled if you do not think you have been fairly treated.

20. Keep your employer informed of any ways in which the case is affecting you personally – anxiety, sleeplessness, sickness, intrusive thoughts etc. This may be taken into account, although if you have acted wrongly it will not excuse you.