I'm a Black lesbian with a Harvard law degree. Even I got censored by Big Tech

I've never been accused of advocating for a hateful position. What happened to me was shocking and ironic

Editor's note: This column first appeared on the blog Reality's Last Stand

Recently, I was reminded of just how easy it is to be silenced in America now.

I published an article on Medium about the impact of transgender inclusion on the rights of women and lesbians. I felt it was a timely subject, and as a gay woman of color I have a vested interest in this issue. So, you can imagine my shock when, less than 24 hours after the article appeared, Medium’s Trust & Safety team removed it for violating community rules. I was further warned that repeated violations would lead to possible suspension of my account.

My crime? Posting "hateful content." 

For perspective, I have more than 1,000 followers and nearly 70 published articles on Medium. I’m a graduate of Harvard Law School and am on the Board of Advisors of the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism. I’m a published author and a TEDx speaker. Much of my writing focuses on bringing people together around our shared values and interests. I’ve never been accused of advocating hateful positions.


This incident is laced with many ironies, not the least of which is that I’ve spent much of my life feeling invisible and not having a voice. 

Protecting our sacred right to free speech isn’t easy or painless; it demands our constant vigilance and selflessness. What we safeguard for ourselves we must also be willing to safeguard for others, even those with whom we vehemently disagree.

Growing up Black and gay in the 70s and 80s was an alienating and often heartbreaking experience. Thankfully, as America has begun to reckon with its insidious legacy of racism, sexism, and homophobia, the landscape has changed. Barriers have crumbled. Hearts and minds have opened. 

I enjoy a thriving legal career in entertainment and have a white partner and a biracial son. We happily live our alternative lifestyle in a state that is overwhelmingly white and Christian. The past two decades have empowered me and given me a voice.

Yet now I fear I’m in danger of losing my voice. I worry that I, and millions of other women, are becoming invisible — not at the hands of right-wing extremists, but by those who promote tolerance and inclusion.


Medium’s content curators removed my article because it "disempower[ed]" and excluded others based on "protected characteristics," i.e. biological men who identify as women. Yet they had no qualms about disempowering and excluding me — a member of not one, but three "protected" groups — from their community. 

Further, I was silenced for expressing my belief that inclusion of biological men in women’s sports, prisons and other historically protected spaces potentially undermines the rights and safety of biological women and lesbians. Yet the act of deplatforming my article was, itself, proof of the marginalization I lamented in my article. 

When I shared the incident with a left-leaning friend, she cautioned that right-wing extremists have created a dangerous environment for transgender Americans. While this is undoubtedly true, I’m not a right-wing extremist. Why should my concerns be conflated with fringe elements with whom I have nothing in common? If an article that raises thoughtful concerns on behalf of protected groups can be characterized as "hateful content," then what is the threshold for hate?

You don’t have to be gay, female, or a person of color to appreciate the danger this poses to all Americans. If the boundaries of prohibited speech keep growing, then we can be silenced by anyone who disagrees with us. All they have to do is call us "hateful." Yet if we live in constant fear of offending others, then how long will it be before we’re too afraid to say anything?

Freedom of speech is one of our most cherished rights. The free and open marketplace of ideas is what makes our country unique. It’s enabled groundbreaking innovation and thought and has empowered historically disenfranchised groups. Given my unique background and experience, freedom of speech holds a special place in my heart. Where would I be today if voices that made others uncomfortable had been muffled? 

But protecting this sacred right isn’t easy or painless; it demands our constant vigilance and selflessness. What we safeguard for ourselves we must also be willing to safeguard for others, even those with whom we vehemently disagree.

Unfortunately, a growing number of social media platforms aren’t committed to doing the hard work. They’re apparently willing to sacrifice freedom of speech when it makes others uncomfortable, even if the people expressing themselves have lived in discomfort most of their lives (and in many cases still do). They fail to see that the noble goals of tolerance and inclusion become performative when they’re restricted to those with preferred agendas. Selective tolerance and inclusion aren’t progressive; they’re regressive

For now, I write with a question mark over my head. Will I be branded a TERF if I continue to advocate for the rights of women and lesbians? Will my next article offend others and be "the one" that terminates my account? 

All I know for certain is that this is no way for people to live in a free society. If we can spend billions of dollars to fight for the freedom of people in another country, then surely we can find the courage to defend this precious right at home. 

Let’s spend less time talking about tolerance and inclusion and more time practicing it.

Monica Harris is a lawyer and a member of the Board of Advisors of the Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism (FAIR). Her new book is "The Illusion of Division."

Authored by Monica Harris via FoxNews July 21st 2023