Woman ordered to pay £300 damages to trans woman after Twitter toilets row
A woman has been ordered to pay compensation and refrain from contacting a trans woman after a Twitter row over female toilets.
Mother-of-two Chinzia Ogilvie, 43, from Portsmouth, Hampshire, was accused of sending "transphobic" messages that "invited hate" against trans woman Ivy Burrows.
The pair, who regularly shared "diametrically opposed views" on Twitter, engaged in a seven-hour social media exchange last October that left Burrows "scared" and "distressed".
Portsmouth Magistrates' Court heard Ogilvie suggested Burrows might be a paedophile and made offensive comments about the victim's genitalia which "made her feel disgusted, violated and degraded".
Ogilvie turned up in court wearing a badge that read: "Transwomen are men".
She admitted a charge of sending by public communication an offensive and obscene message during the exchange.
She was given a one-year community order with 120 hours of unpaid work and 15 rehabilitation days.
She was also ordered to pay £300 compensation, a surcharge of £95 and costs of £85 and handed a restraining order not to contact the victim for 12 months.
In the Twitter exchange, Ogilvie argued that Burrows should not be allowed to use women-only facilities, such as changing rooms and toilets.
The row started after Burrows commented about the suffragette movement and tagged Ogilvie on 2 October.
In a victim impact statement read to the court, Burrows said Ogilvie had "misgendered me" during the exchange.
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She added: "The comments about my genitalia were humiliating and degrading. It's led to me being anxious and stopping me going out.
"The anxiety the defendant has caused me has led me to rethink who I am and to think about returning to the closet.
"I am a transgender woman and am scared of the consequences. Her harassment made it difficult for me to be out as a transgender woman in Portsmouth."
Tim Sparkes, defending, claimed Burrows was not "a vulnerable victim" but a "political activist", who had started the conversation and been the first to use a derogatory word.
He said the pair had known each other and exchanged opinions for five years.
Sparkes said: "They have diametrically opposed views they have set out on a number of occasions so it is not a new relationship or a new argument. Both put themselves out there in the public domain."
He said the "discussion point" was Burrows believing "transgenders should be allowed to use female facilities with the defendant taking the contrary view".
District judge David Robinson told Ogilvie her transgender views were not criminal but her "behaviour became criminal" with the offensive messages "demonstrating hostility" to transgender identification.
He said: "The comments seen by Ivy and others left her humiliated and degraded and sought to sexualise her and suggest she was a paedophile."