Transgender activist wins court ruling, forcing parenting website to reveal identity of her alleged online abuser

Stephanie Hayden filed a complaint against someone she claimed was harassing her on Mumsnet for being transgender. (Photo: Courtesy of Facebook/Stephanie Rebecca Hayden)
Stephanie Hayden filed a complaint against someone she claimed was harassing her on Mumsnet for being transgender. (Photo: Courtesy of Facebook/Stephanie Rebecca Hayden)

A transgender activist who alleged she was being harassed online enjoyed a victory on Monday when the High Court of Justice in England ruled in her favor, ordering the U.K.-based parenting website Mumsnet to disclose the identity of the person she claims abused her.

Stephanie Hayden tweeted a photo of a court order she received on Monday stating that Mumsnet Limited, the website’s parent company, has until Thursday at 4 p.m. to provide Hayden with the full legal name, date of birth, mailing address and email address of a user who goes by the handle “ALittleHelp18.”

Want daily pop culture news delivered to your inbox? Sign up here for Yahoo Entertainment & Lifestyle’s newsletter.

Hayden claimed the user left defamatory comments about her that constitute criminality, and she would need the user’s personal information in order to pursue legal action, according to the Daily Mail.

Hayden captioned the tweet with, ‘The days of defaming, abusing and harassing transgender people on Mumsnet behind the cloak of anonymity are over.” She added, “Today’s order … should serve as a warning to every #transgender hostile extremist that you will be held accountable for your abuse, you will be traced and you will face the legal consequences of your actions.”

In response, Mumsnet’s founder, Justine Roberts, told Britain’s The Times that “this court order is part of the Section 5 process under the 2013 Defamation Act. If we thought the details we released might be used maliciously (for example for doxxing) we would be happy to contest the order if one of our users asked us to do so on their behalf. We’re trying to contact the user in this case to see whether they would like to contest the order.”

In August, Hayden called Mumsnet a “hate group” on Twitter, and wrote, “They allow transphobia on a daily basis and then warn people who complain about it [while] allowing bigots to spread their hate unchallenged!”

Supporters of the transgender activist congratulated Hayden in Twitter comments, with one writing, “Unbelievable amount of effort to silence hate speech, yet so easy to express hateful views anonymously. I hope this goes some ways to make the hateful think twice before posting.”

This is not the first time Hayden has fought back against an alleged abuser. In 2018, the activist sued Graham Linehan, co-writer of the British sitcom Father Ted, after the two got into a Twitter spat in which Linehan referred to Hayden as “he” and by names she used before she transitioned — an offense dubbed “deadnaming,” according to The Guardian.

Hayden reported Linehan for transphobia, and police responded to the complaint by giving him a “verbal warning” not to harass or even contact her. She sued Linehan for harassment, defamation and misuse of private information and said his actions were a “gross affront to her dignity as a woman,” according to The Telegraph.

And in February, a mom named Kate Scottow was arrested in front of her children after having a Twitter argument with Hayden in which the activist claimed the woman also deadnamed her, according to the Daily Mail. She was served with a court order preventing her from calling Hayden a man. Hayden’s complaint accused Scottow of a “campaign of targeted harassment,” as she allegedly used several Twitter accounts in the argument.

Scottow was detained and released after seven hours. She was then banned from posting any personal information about Hayden on social media and from referring to her as a male. But Scottow denied the allegations of harassment, and said she holds a “genuine and reasonable belief” that a person “cannot practically speaking change sex.”

Yahoo Lifestyle has reached out to Mumsnet for comment on the ruling on whether the company plans to comply with the court order.

Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for nonstop inspiration delivered fresh to your feed, every day.