Maya Forstater, fired for saying sex cannot be changed, wins in court: it was discrimination

Decisive for gender critical feminism around the world was the victory of Maya, a researcher who lost her job over a tweet in which she wrote that biological sex is immutable and that women have rights based on sex. Britain reaffirms the right to criticise gender identity: threats and accusations of transphobia are illegitimate. "A'further proof" says Forstater "that the wind is changing". The final ruling of the labour court also ordered the company that did not renew the contract of the researcher, co-founder of Sex Matters, to pay compensation. A triumph across the board
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A year ago, June 2021, Feminist Post published a article on case of Maya Forstater, the British researcher whose employment contract was not renewed by her employer for expressing critical views on the concept of gender identity and reaffirming the importance of women's gender-based rights. The article closed by reminding readers that Maya's case was not yet over, and although the labour court's appeal ruling had established that Maya's convictions were protected in principle by the Equal Opportunities Act, It remained to be established whether Maya had been the victim of discrimination based on her personal beliefs.

We are happy to announce that today the labour court agreed with Maya Forstater and recognised her treatment by her employer as discriminatory treatment under the law. A judgement will follow to determine the amount of compensation.

Below is the press release issued by Maya Forstater for further details on the judgment and its grounds.

PRESS RELEASE/ VICTORY FOR MAYA FORSTATER IN LABOUR COURT: A VICTORY FOR FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND WOMEN'S RIGHTS

6 July 2022. Maya Forstater, who had sued his employer, the Center for Global Development [Centre for Global Development, or CGD] for discrimination based on personal beliefs, won the case on the grounds expressed by the court that the employer's conduct amounted to unlawful discrimination, justification based on the protection of personal beliefs by English law.

This ruling follows the previous judgment of the Labour Court of June 2021, in which the court ruled, with binding effect, that Maya Forstater's personal convictions, so-called 'gender critical' (in essence criticism of the importance of gender identity in the context of women's rights) were protected by theEquality Act, i.e. equal opportunities legislation. The ruling did not end the litigation, which continued in the labour court to determine whether Maya Forstater had been the victim of discrimination based on her personal beliefs.

The court unanimously determined that the following actions of the employer CGD constituted discrimination based on personal beliefs:
1. La retraction of the offer of the employment contract;
2. The non-renewal of the fellowship;
3. The removal of the profile from the CGD website.

The court also ruled that Maya Forstater's tweets and comments, which were the motivation for Forstater's treatment by her employer, were legitimate expressions of her protected personal beliefs. Consequently, the negative reaction of the CGD is in this case as unlawful discrimination.

Maya Forstater, licenziata per aver detto che il sesso non si può cambiare, vince in tribunale: fu discriminazione
JK Rowling's support for Maya Forstater

Among the comments by Maya Forstater at the basis of the litigation include but are not limited to:
- 'A man's inner conviction that he is a woman has no material basis'.
- The description of Pips Bunce, a man who identifies as a woman only a few days a week, as a 'part-time transvestite'.
- The comparison between self-identified trans women and Rachel Dolezal [the white American woman who identifies as African American].
- "The places and situations where women and girls are sexually abused and harassed are part of the 'normality' in women's lives"; (said) in the context of a debate on the consequences for women's safety of recognising trans women as women. This comment was not, as argued by counsel for the CGD, 'an exaggeration' but simply 'an unexceptionable finding in the context of the debate ... [that] did not constitute an objectively unreasonable remark'.
- The description of gender self-identification (self-id) as 'a feeling conceived within the mind' did not equate gender identification with a mental illness and 'was no more than an expression of Forstater's personal beliefs about gender identity'.

The court also recognised Forstater's right to criticise those who held an opposing position to his, arguing that this right to criticise was legitimate. Specifically, the court recognised that if the expression of a personal belief is considered offensive, the offence is not sufficient to deprive that belief of the protection of the law. Expressions included the description of the other party's opinions as 'stupid, dangerous or unfair' and the statement that the access of male individuals to women-only spaces resulted in "increased risks and discomfort" for women.

Maya Forstater, researcher specialising in public policy[1] e founder of an organisation dedicated to human rights, Sex Matters[2]welcomed the court's ruling.

"My case concerns all those who believe in the importance of truth and freedom of expression.

"We are all free to believe what we want. This does not imply that we are free to force others to follow our beliefs, to deprive those who disagree of the right to express themselves or to force a person to deny reality.

"Human beings do not have the ability to change sex. This statement is not a hate crime; on the contrary, it is essential to allow every human being to be treated in a way that guarantees their safety and dignity. It should not require courage to state this truth, and one should not risk one's job for making this statement.

"I am pleased that the court has allowed me to make public the treatment I suffered at the Center for Global Development. The court ruled that I was a victim of discrimination based on my belief that biological sex is a real fact and of fundamental importance, and that this belief is shared by the majority of the population in this country (UK)]. I hope employers take note of this ruling.

"I want to thank my family, who have shared this experience with me these past three years, and my lawyers: Ben Cooper QC, Anya Palmer, and Peter Daly. But above all I want to thank the thousands of women and men who have shown me their support, and in particular JK Rowling, who stood by me in the darkest moments.

"Knowing that my case has helped other people find the courage to voice their dissent in the face of unfair and discriminatory practices in their employment has made it easier to overcome the difficulties of the past three years. Tall those who are fighting such battles - and there are many - have my solidarity and support.

"I also want to thank all those fantastic organisations fighting to protect women's rights. Thanks to them, the world will become a fairer and safer place for women and girls. These organisations have courageously taken over the place that much better-funded organisations, such as the CGD, have cowardly abandoned.

"The CGD's unfair treatment of me, and the prejudice shown towards those who believe that sex is a material reality, have changed my life. If my employer had not terminated my employment, I would never have contributed to the foundation of Sex Matters. I would never have the opportunity to be part of this incredible movement in my country fighting to reaffirm the importance of gender-based rights.

Women have had enough of being sidelined in language, law, public policy and public spaces. This ruling is further proof that the wind is changing."

Introduction and translation by Alessandra Asteriti


[1] Maya Forstater has worked for many years in the field of international development, specialising in taxation and sustainable development. Maya was a visiting fellow at the European headquarters of the Center for Global Development, a Washington-based think-tank, between 2017 and 2019, when he lost his job in March 2019 after publicly speaking out against changes to the Gender Transition Act (Gender Recognition Act of 2004), changes later abandoned by the UK government.

[2] Maya Forstater is Executive Director of Sex Matters, a non-profit organisation co-founded by Forstater in 2021 to promote gender-based women's rights. Sex Matters promotes greater legislative clarity on gender-based rights, with regard to women's services, schools, sports and freedom of expression.


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