LAKEWOOD, WASHINGTON — The popular social media site Facebook temporarily suspended a woman whose viral photographs regarding “gender identity” were falsely flagged for nudity.
Kristi Merritt of Lakewood, Washington had posted several photographs to Facebook on April 12 in which she dressed up as various characters, such as a football player, a pirate and a Mexican.
“Does this make me Russell Wilson?” read a sign that she held in her hand in the football photograph.
“Does this make me a pirate?” read a sign she held while dressed as a pirate.
“Then how can this make a man into a woman?” read a sign next to a dress and high heels.
“A man in women’s clothes does not make him a woman. Men should not get to be in our bathrooms or lockers!” Merritt wrote for her status. “#JustWantPrivacy #BeBold”
The post went viral, generating over 67,000 likes and 114,000 shares. It also generated discussion from both sides, as some applauded her and others called her post hateful.
“These posts are pure ignorance. Please keep your hate to yourself,” one wrote. “It’s just a bathroom!”
“This is not hate speech; this is basic common sense,” another wrote.
But Merritt says that a follower flagged her for nudity as she received a warning from Facebook about the community standards on nudity and was asked to remove all inappropriate photos.
“We restrict the display of nudity. Some descriptions of sexual acts may also be removed,” the notice read in part, asking Merritt to review the company’s standards.
Merritt also posted a screenshot where she was asked to “confirm that you have removed all photos that contain nudity.”
“Facebook is trying to make me remove this post; they are saying it has nudity in it,” she wrote. “The people who want to censor me are reporting it as having nudity when clearly it does not. This is how the leftist haters function; only they have free speech!”
On April 23, Merritt posted that she had been temporarily banned from using her account and had been unable to reply to any comments. She stated that her Mexican photograph had also been deleted by the social media site.
Merritt used the opportunity to explain the message behind her post and to outline that she does not hate any person.
“My photo presentation was to show that even though you may ‘identify’ as someone and live your life in that identification—that is very different than actually BEING that someone. Certain rights come with BEING vs. identifying as,” she wrote.
“No matter how convincing I make my Russell Wilson costume, it does not make me him. … I am not entitled to his things or his rights. If I showed up for the Seahawks practice demanding to play they would kick me out,” Merritt continued. “So, in the same way, even though a trans person may want to be a woman, live his life as one and believe himself to be one … he is not one.”
She said that those that disagree with her opinion about restroom privacy should rather keep scrolling than falsely report her posts as nudity.
“And it is not right to expect women and children to hand over their rights and privacy because someone wants to be something they were not born as. This is truth. I will continue to speak it. If you don’t like my posts feel free to shake your head and move along. That’s what civil people do,” Merritt stated.