The transgender lawyer who sued a transsexual solicitor is now suing Father Ted writer Graham Linehan for defamation and harassment, as well as for misuse of private information.
Linehan has been a vocal opponent of transgender activists' attempts to expand the definition of 'woman' to include people with penises. After clashing with Stephanie Hayden on Twitter, last week he told The Times that Hayden was a "dangerous troll" who tweeted details about his wife's business to "shut me up". Hayden, who has a history of commencing legal actions against those who cross her, has sued.
She claims that Linehan is a transphobe who publicised confidential information by referring to her former male identities in his tweets. She told RollOnFriday, "My right to not reveal that link has been removed from me forever now". Hayden maintains a public YouTube channel which included several videos featuring her as a man and which included her male name in their titles. However she deleted them from the platform this week. Hayden told RollOnFriday, "The videos were published many years ago long before my formal transition", and that until recently "nowhere within the public domain was there any document saying Tony Halliday/Steven Hayden is now Stephanie Hayden".
Hayden claims that, thanks to Linehan and The Times, "a worldwide audience" is now aware of her previous gender. Asked whether her profile as a transgender activist meant that most people would have become aware fairly quickly that she was once a man, Hayden said, "I am not a Transgender Activist. I was known only by a small specialist Twitter audience until recently".
Hayden said she would not sue the newspaper over its interview because "I believe in press freedom", but, "If the line is crossed by The Times then I will not hesitate to commence legal action".
Hayden has also accused Linehan of harassing her by retweeting company numbers of businesses which listed her as an officer, along with suggestions she ran them for criminal purposes. Hayden concedes in her claim that she also tweeted a company number, this one belonging to Linehan’s wife’s business, but rejected Linehan's claim that she had 'doxxed' anyone. As well as quickly deleting it, she explained, "No mention was made of Linehan or his wife". She said that the point of the tweet was "to indicate that many people have companies and it is all information within the public domain".
Although Hayden referred to only one company number in her claim, she actually included the details of three companies linked to Linehan's wife in two seperate tweets:
Hayden told RollOnFriday she "completely forgot" about the second tweet, but "it does not actually change the substance of what I say".
Hayden is also suing Linehan for several tweets which she says are defamatory, including one in which the BAFTA-winning scribe wrote, "I don’t respect the pronouns of misogynists, stalkers or harassers, and Tony is all three":
In a twitter row in 2013 with a woman called Cassandra Moss and her husband, Hayden tweeted dozens of times at Moss. Hayden suggested that Moss was "sitting on your large arse drinking your husband's money away", and asked if she had taken "your lunchtime pills after your sausage plait". She also referred to Moss as "it". Hayden endorsed as "funny" one of three spoof twitter accounts set up at the time of Hayden's feud and which referred to Moss as a "retard", a "dirty bitch" and a "wine-loving toiletlover". Asked if such actions justified the labels Linehan had assigned to her, Hayden said "I cannot discuss the Moss case save to say that a settlement was agreed back in 2014". She denied having anything to do with the spoof accounts.
Linehan told RollOnFriday, "People are absolutely terrified of speaking out, and I totally understand that. If the entry level to being considered a bigot is saying men are not women, then how on earth can you get to the other topics and talk about them."
He said he was taking a stand because, "there are so many implications to redefining the word ‘woman’. Sport will change utterly. Vulnerable women in places like shelters and prisons will be at greater risk. And just the basic day-to-day grind of having to pretend something’s true when it’s not true."
Commenting on the characterisation of 'deadnaming' as a transphobic hate crime, Linehan said, "If you have multiple identities then surely its entirely valid to point that out. This is a charter for criminals to say ‘you can’t talk about my past’. It’s ridiculous."
But the IT Crowd creator described how people had contacted friends in private telling them to unfollow and block him because of his stance. "It’s like Scientology", he said. "When someone transgresses in Scientology, a series of things happen to that person. They’re harassed, they’re isolated from their family. It’s very important to do all this so that person can’t get information to people. And that’s what’s effectively happening now. Hayden’s action is an attempt to just scare me enough that I’ll stop talking about it".
"It’s lonely at the moment", said Linehan. "I wish more people, just a few more people, would say, ‘hang on, this is bullshit’. Let's see what happens".