UK “Gender Critical” Charity Permanently Banned by Instagram

A high-profile charity that speaks out against gender ideology has had its Instagram page permanently deleted in what appears to be a platform-wide clamp-down on critics of transgenderism.

Sex Matters is a registered charity in the United Kingdom, and describes its mission as being “to promote clarity about sex in law, policy and language in order to protect everybody’s rights.” Part of its advocacy includes the use of social media campaigns to get the word out about their efforts.

But on June 3, Sex Matters staff discovered that their Instagram account, @SexMattersOrg, had been suspended for allegedly breaking the website’s “community guidelines.” The page was primarily used to disseminate information on the organization’s values and activities.

The social media team at Sex Matters immediately appealed the removal of the social media profile and within “8 minutes” of submitting the appeal they were rejected. In the response by Instagram, the organization was told that their account had been reviewed and that Instagram had “found that it still doesn’t follow our Community Guidelines. As a result, your account has been permanently disabled”

Immediately following the notification of the permanent nature of the account deletion, Sex Matters CEO, Maya Forstater, and the human rights charity Chair, Naomi Cunningham, sent a letter by email to Instagram Support imploring the Meta Platforms Inc. owned social media website to reinstate their Sex Matters campaigning profile.

In the letter, the representatives laid out their charitable aims which are “based on human rights” and “founded on “gender critical” principles: that is the belief that sex is real, immutable and important.”

The letter went on to describe how the charity has had its social media output appraised by the UK Charity Commission and it was found that Sex Matters Org ‘social-media use was “exemplary”’, in stark contrast to the allegations by Instagram. 

It is unclear what in particular Instagram found issue with, which led to the drastic deletion of the entire account. Sex Matter urged Instagram to “reinstate [SexMattersOrg] account as a matter of urgency.”

The Sex Matters deletion comes in an apparent wave of censorship of account users who hold similar views on the topic of “gender critical” beliefs and are critical of trans activism. Many users had their accounts suspended concurrently, with some reinstated on appeal while others remain permanently banned, impacting their ability to advertise artwork and their political views.

Writing to Instagram, Maya Forstater who is CEO and co-founder of Sex Matters, raised the legal issue that led to the founding of the company which was registered as a charity this year. In 2021 Forstater took her employer to an Employment Appeal Tribunal which found that she had been discriminated against on the grounds of “belief” in the workplace, and that her “gender critical belief” has “been recognised by the UK courts as being “worthy of respect in a democratic society” and is therefore protected by the Equality Act 2010”.

The swathe of bans come as a UK General Election has been called, therefore restricting Sex Matters in its “Stand up for single-sex services” political campaigning created for the Election, which they described on their website, “In this general election, let’s make sure that every candidate knows we want them to stand up for sex-based rights.” 

Raising this issue to Instagram, the charity stated in their letter “Our social-media accounts are a key part of our campaigning activity on our charitable objectives”

Speaking to Reduxx, Maya Forstater, CEO of Sex Matters described the impact of the ban on their campaign efforts.

“Sex Matters’ main platform for social engagement has been Twitter/X, but in recent years we have enjoyed building a community of 6,000 followers on Instagram and it has been an important platform to reach new audiences,” she explained.

“It is outrageous for Instagram to suspend a registered charity without any details of how we are supposed to have breached ‘community guidelines’. UK politicians have serious questions to answer on sex and gender in the runup to the general election on 4th July. Our Instagram community is now missing out on important advice about what to ask candidates and canvassers who turn up on their doorstep.”

At the time of writing, Sex Matters reports that it has received no reply to the letter sent to Instagram and their account remains “permanently disabled.”

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Bryndís Blackadder

Bryndís is a contributing journalist at Reduxx with a focus on free speech and the law. She lives in Scotland, where she enjoys creating documentaries, multimedia art, and advocating for human rights.

Bryndís Blackadder
Bryndís Blackadder
Bryndís is a contributing journalist at Reduxx with a focus on free speech and the law. She lives in Scotland, where she enjoys creating documentaries, multimedia art, and advocating for human rights.