You can’t delete your past, but you can die trying.
If you’re as extremely online as Katherine and I are, you’ve probably had the surreal experience of trying to explain some obscure internet drama to an IRL friend, only to suddenly be overcome with horror upon listening to yourself. The feeling is further compounded when your friend reacts as if you just told them the ghost of Abraham Lincoln appears to you at night. Yes, you are the crazy one. If God is good, this piece will not lead to me having to explain The Battle of Keffals vs. Kiwi Farms to anyone I know.
Yesterday, my name-sister Taylor Lorenz, of all people, was first to drop the scoop that security firm Cloudflare blocked the Kiwi Farms website, just three days after the provider reiterated their policies towards abuse in a statement on Wednesday.
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In that long statement, Cloudflare emphasized that while there is plenty of content on the internet they find “reprehensible,” and that they are not “free speech absolutists,” they also believe in the Rule of Law and that “if content is harmful, the right place to restrict it is legislatively.”
Many online and in the media took this to mean that they would continue to protect Kiwi Farms. But it seems something or someone changed their mind:
In a post on Kiwi Farms written by the site’s owner, Joshua Conner Moon, he speculates that their decision to drop the site was predicated on two things:
Understandably, not everyone will want to take Moon at his word—maybe threats were posted. But like #GamerGate before it, this story is much more complex than just a cut-and-dry case of harassment.
Enter: Keffals vs. Kiwi Farms
If you’re reading this, you probably already know what Kiwi Farms is.
Short version: A very edgy forum, made up of many members all along the ideological spectrum, where users cruelly gossip and post public information on niche online oddities (lolcows) that thrive on the attention KF gives them.
I don’t like Kiwi Farms at all. I’m willing to acknowledge how useful the site is as a catalog of lost internet history, and that I took advantage of their efforts for this piece. But beyond that, I’ve interacted with many people who love the site, and they are generally mentally ill, obsessive, and well, just not very nice. Scrolling through posts on the site makes me feel like poisonous sludge is replacing my blood and if I trudge through it too long, I’ll vomit out all that acidic bile on innocent bystanders. That said, I giggle at the image in my head of multi-millionaire J.K. Rowling lurking the forum, looking for inspiration for characters in her next thousand-page detective tome.
But as loath as I may be to say it, Kiwi Farms is far more harmless than their enemies on Twitter and in the media would have you believe. They are the simple side of this battle.
Keffals, on the other hand… Okay, let’s talk about Keffals.
Clara Sorrenti, aka Keffals, is a Canadian Twitch streamer and transgender activist. She was born on March 25, 1994, just three days before me, making us both 28 years old. And like me, she realized she was transgender around the age of 12. Unlike me, when she was 18, her parents flew her to Thailand to get bottom surgery. She’s volunteered for the New Democratic Party and ran as a member of the Communist Party of Canada in 2018 and 2019 but lost both of her races. The next obvious career move was, of course, streaming on Twitch and being annoying on Twitter.
Keffals quickly became known for two things: Speaking out against politicians and policies she saw as harmful to trans people, and “ratioing” people. The self-styled “Queen of Ratios,” her rise in popularity began when she would reply to notable Twitter personalities’ posts about trans people and “domming” them by getting more likes. You see, there’s no better leftist activism than replying to J.K. Rowling, Tim Pool, Candace Owens, and Lauren Southern and getting slightly more engagement than them.
Whoever gets more likes is more correct.
Her rise in notoriety truly began with her feud with fellow Twitch streamer and political commentator, Destiny.
Destiny has made a lot of edgy comments about specific swaths of trans people he sees as immature, overly sensitive, and disastrous for the wider advancement of trans acceptance by the wider population. Keffals is one such trans person he has singled out and for months after, she would try to make him regret that, throwing a spotlight on every comment he made that could be read as transphobic, or even just anything criticizing Keffals specifically. Destiny’s accusations of harmful behavior towards Keffals would ramp up when evidence surfaced that she aided in providing hormones to underaged trans teens.
They would throw flames back and forth for months until finally, Keffals took credit for Destiny’s ban from Twitch following comments he made about trans women in women’s sports. But there’s always a bigger fish to fry, another transphobe to slay in digital combat. Clara played the game, she was leveled up, and had amassed an army of impressionable young fans, many of them underaged, as she will tell you.
But she still had to defeat whom she calls the Final Boss of Transphobia, Joshua “Null” Moon.
Kiwi Farms has never been shy about how most of its members feel about trans people, trans women in particular. Moon is vocally skeptical of trans people and often talks about what he sees as a “scourge of grooming and pedophilia” among trans women. Many lolcows have been trans women (though people of all genders are “equal opportunity lolcows”). Often in these threads, users will refer to trans women as their birth name and natal sex, as an easy way to signal which team they’re on. Just this week, Moon added a section on the forum first titled “gender critical,” and then, ostensibly after receiving pushback due to the political baggage “gender critical” carries, re-named it to “stinkditch,” a vulgar term for surgically constructed vaginas. I think it’s notable, however, that plenty of the users are trans people themselves.
But in truth, the Farms would become both a huge curse and a gift for Clara. She’s never been afraid to show how much she browses the site. She’s posted screenshots of posters talking about her many times, to this day, even. It reminds me of the YouTuber Natalie Wynn, who you may know as Contrapoints, describing her history of obsessively lurking on the toxic /LGBT/ forum on 4chan, known for its self-loathing trans community. I too deeply understand the drug-like draw of reading online comments guaranteed to make you feel bad. Doesn’t everyone?
But for Keffals, it stops being a private addiction–it becomes a personal vendetta and a crusade where you’re either with her or against her.
Keffals had already made several accusations of Null “doxing” her when she was SWATted on August 5th, after an email claiming to be from Clara was sent to the London, Ontario city council with intent to kill her mother and the members of the council. Her phones and computers were confiscated, and she says she was repeatedly misgendered by Toronto police. She has stood by her belief that Kiwi Farms orchestrated the swatting through a long campaign she started called #DropKiwifarms. The campaign aimed to light a fire under Cloudflare to get them to block Kiwi Farms.
They claim that Kiwi Farms is responsible for at least three known suicides due to orchestrated harassment campaigns. The cases of Julie Terryberry, Chloe Sagal, and Byuu are complicated and worthy of an article all their own, but they may not be as cut-and-dried as enemies of KF believe. In Byuu’s case, we’re not even sure if the victim is dead—a death certificate has never been provided, even privately to the journalists publicizing the story. Regardless, suicides are multi-causal. I felt the same way when Dave Chappelle said in his special that the reason his transgender friend killed herself was because of the bullying she got from the LGBT community.
Keffals kept Kiwi Farms trending on Twitter for days while also promoting a GoFundMe that raised over $100,000, which she says she’ll use as her legal fund to sue the police for her mistreatment. That’s in addition to the donations #DropKiwifarms asks for its mission. The media was quick to take up the story. According to Clara, she’s “[…] not backing down. I know that the work I do is incredibly valuable, and thousands of trans people told me that I have people almost every day saying they came out to their families because of me.”
Clara checked into a hotel for her safety and believes that the location of the hotel was discovered after she had posted a picture on her Discord server, leading to the hotel receiving a large number of calls and pizza deliveries. She stated on Twitter that she would move to a temporary location weekly until she found a permanent residence, and also that she would organize a protest outside the San Fran office of Cloudflare.
Throughout this, including global moves, Keffals hasn’t stopped streaming. And she hasn’t stopped tweeting. As of right now, she has over 138K followers on Twitter and 48.4K followers on Twitch. She recently tweeted that she’d completed building an IRL streaming backpack that she would use while roaming around Ireland.
Keffals will righteously claim that standing up for what she believes in and expressing herself proudly is worth any danger it might attract. She is on a sacred mission, and the actions of her enemies, and the harm they do, justify her copying their methods, which have included her harassing and doxing of Kiwi Farms users. She understands like many that social media can be wielded as a weapon, and through her victimization, anointed herself.
In a profile on her in the Washington Post, written by, oh wow, Taylor Lorenz again, Taylor writes, “Her stream is one of the few media outlets where viewers can hear the news from a trans person.”
I don’t think I agree with that description. Keffals is just an online personality driven by the worst impulses that define the internet. I won’t mince words. I suspect that the attention and clout Keffals receives from being so vocal online is not just for financial gain. She probably genuinely enjoys it. Or she has a death drive, a martyr complex. There are many examples of her going after someone, calling for them to be banned and censored from online platforms only after they criticized her. She drums up as much fury from her followers as possible, then takes it way too far, leaving herself open to having the spotlight thrown back on her.
Does she deserve sympathy for all the negative attention she’s gotten? Well, there are a lot of people who believe if you like to occasionally say the n-word on Discord or misgender trans people, then you deserve to have your private info publicized, ratted out to your employer or school, and have your life ruined.
You know the line—freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom of consequences and all that. I’m a black trans woman, and I will admit that it’s difficult for me to have much sympathy for someone that loses their job because of the 13/50 or 41% memes they post on Twitter. But the limits of my sympathy also strain against someone with as prolific and problematic an internet history as Keffals. Even if Kiwi Farms wasn’t blocked at the moment, I still wouldn’t post any links to the thread on Clara, and all the screenshots they’ve collected. If you want to find them, you will.
There are many people who’ve worked hard to make it easy for you.
I have mixed feelings about the findings. Plenty of the screenshots collected from her Twitter disturb me, and I’m not easy to disturb. I’ll be one of the first to call out the right’s paranoid insistence that trans people are a movement dedicated to abusing children, but her many suspicious interactions with minors are a real problem. I personally roll my eyes at the obsession so many online seem to have with the post-operative genitalia of trans women. But if you want to see that, use the Wayback Machine.
The right to be forgotten?
Getting people banned from the internet is not politics. It’s not leftism. I just can’t believe that the material lives of trans people are made any better by Kiwi Farms not existing. None of the people that use it are gone. None of the public information they’ve collected is gone. None of the data brokers that sell or make that information available for free are gone or close to being regulated. No one is armed with more information about having better opsec or data hygiene.
But for Keffals, out there, there remains a very large archive of all the scandalous and embarrassing things she has ever said, and all the photos she’s posted publicly, of her own volition. The porn she’s done, and her own accounts of being sexually abused as a child. She put all of these things online herself. And no matter how hard she fights for it, no matter how many people she gets to fight for her, she will never be able to remove it all from the internet. All she’s done is further piss off a lot of people who still have internet access and still have communication channels. Keffals has been yet another unfortunate representative of the trans community, probably leading more people to see us as synonymous with censorship when people are mean to us.
Kiwi Farms as an IDEA has never been stronger than since Keffal’s started this crusade.
I should clarify myself here. I truly do believe that if even every single trans woman was “well-behaved,” well-adjusted, and chill, a lot of people still wouldn’t like us, and would say mean things about us, and talk about how gross they think our genitals are.
They’d still mostly misgender the ugly ones and be nice and friendly to the pretty ones. The internet has had a very strange impact on trans culture. As important as the material gains like policies and medicine are, is it so wrong for me to contemplate what we might have lost by becoming so visible?
These days, it feels like there are more people who call themselves trans that don’t feel like they are on my side than not. And I just don’t see how someone calling me a groomer getting banned makes my life better. And the same goes for petty gotchas for Twitter likes.
Yeah, wow, you posted a photo of a cis woman and tricked a transphobe into calling her a man. Good one, queen.
I think it’s important to ask yourself, what do people, trans or otherwise, that have lolcow threads made about them have in common? What about the women on OnlyFans that have their entire catalog saved and shared around for free? Or the people with trendy jobs in Chicago who are mocked for posting their daily routine on TikTok? They put themselves out there, online. Yes, it sucks when people spread around a post you made and take it out of context. Yes, you can call the people that do this to you assholes. But at the end of the day, you have no one to blame but yourself.
If Kiwi Farms truly is what Keffals says it is, that still doesn’t make her a hero, standing against the scourge of transphobia, doing what’s right by constantly screenshotting and tweeting every insulting thing they or anyone else says about her. It just makes her stupid, mentally ill, or both. It makes her look petty and weak. The “cool” dolls are in their group chats laughing at her, or just sadly wishing she’d log off.
Please, girl, log off.
Go spend time with the family that loved you enough (and had the money) to fly you to Thailand for surgery in 2012, three years before Caitlyn Jenner came out. Party with all the friends you’ve made. Enjoy these places all over the world you’re visiting (with your money). Go have sex, I know you like having sex. Unfortunately, it seems like you have a handy backpack that will let you be online and touch grass at the same time. And you’ve already named Fiberhub, the company that hosts Kiwi Farms on their servers, as your next target.
I was a bit worried about attaching my name to this post.
I wondered who on Team Kiwi or Team Keffals would read it. Who would paint a target on my back? Who’s going to dig up the tweets I’ve made, the embarrassing forum posts, the revealing photos and videos I’ve posted online? There are people I really respect that I know will see me in a negative light because of things I’ve said here–that I’ll be burning bridges. But that’s the risk you take and the price you pay for being yourself on the internet–and in the real world too.
And instead of wasting my time complaining about it incessantly and dedicating my life to destroying the lives of anyone that ever misgendered me, anyone who’s ever misspoken about me or my loved ones, I’d rather do something I enjoy—something more tethered to the physical world.
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Taylor Lorenz and Keffals are both utterly pathetic.
Who the hell is Taylor Stuckey?