Maya Forstater, fired for saying that sex cannot be changed, wins in court: it was discrimination
The victory of Maya, a researcher who lost her job for a tweet in which she wrote that biological sex is immutable and that women have rights based on sex, was decisive for gender critical feminism around the world. Great Britain reaffirms the right to criticize gender identity: threats and accusations of transphobia are illegitimate. "Further evidence" says Forstater "that the tide is changing." The final ruling from the labor court also sentenced 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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One year ago, June 2021, Feminist Post published a item on the case of Maya Forstater, the British researcher whose employment contract was not renewed by her employer for expressing critical opinions on the concept of gender identity and reaffirming the importance of women's rights based on sex. The article closed by reminding readers that Maya's case was not yet over and, although the employment tribunal's appeal ruling had established that Maya's beliefs were protected in principle by the Equal Opportunities Act, It still remained to be determined whether Maya had been the victim of discrimination based on her personal beliefs.

We are happy to announce that today the employment tribunal ruled in favor of Maya Forstater and found that the treatment she suffered from her employer constituted discriminatory treatment under the law. A ruling will follow to determine the amount of compensation.

We report below press release issued by Maya Forstater for further details on the sentence and its reasons.

PRESS RELEASE/ VICTORY FOR MAYA FORSTATER AT THE LABOR COURT: A VICTORY FOR FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND WOMEN'S RIGHTS

July 6, 2022. Maya Forstater, who had sued his employer, The Center for Global Development [Center for Global Development, or CGD] for discrimination based on personal beliefs, he won the case with the motivation expressed by the court that the employer's behavior was configured as illegal discrimination, motivation based on the protection of personal beliefs by English law.

This ruling follows the previous sentence of the Labor Court of June 2021, in which the court ruled, with binding effect, that the personal beliefs of Maya Forstater, so-called 'gender critical' (essentially criticisms of the importance of gender identity in the context of women's rights) were protected byEquality Act, that is, equal opportunities legislation. The ruling did not end the dispute, which continued in the employment tribunal to establish whether Maya Forstater had been the victim of discrimination based on her personal beliefs.

The court unanimously determined that the following actions by the CGD employer constituted belief discrimination:
1. The retraction of the offer of the employment contract;
2. The failure to renew the fellowship;
3. The removal of the profile from the CGD website.

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

JK Rowling's support of Maya Forstater

Between comments by Maya Forstater at the basis of the dispute are to be included by way of example:
– “A man's inner belief 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 in which women and girls suffer sexual abuse and harassment are part of 'normality' in women's lives”; (said) in the context of a debate about the consequences for women's safety of recognizing trans women as women. This comment was not, as argued by the CGD lawyer, “an exaggeration” but simply “an unobjectionable finding in the context of the debate… [which] does not constitute an objectively unreasonable observation”.
– 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 “nothing more than the expression of personal beliefs of Forstater on gender identity".

The court also recognized Forstater's right to criticize those who supported a position opposite to his, arguing that this right to criticize was legitimate. Specifically, the court recognized that if the expression of a personal belief is deemed offensive, the offense is not sufficient to deprive that belief of the protection of the law. The expressions included include the description of the other party's opinions as "stupid, dangerous or unfair" and the statement that the entry of male individuals into female-only spaces resulted in “an increase in both risk and discomfort” for women.

Maya Forstater, researcher specializing in public policies[1] And founder of an organization dedicated to human rights, Sex Matters[2], welcomed the court's ruling.

“My case interests all those who believe in the importance of truth and freedom of expression.

"We are everyone is free to believe in what we want. This does not mean 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.

Humans 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 shouldn't take courage to state this truth, and you shouldn't risk your job for making this statement.

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

“I want to thank my family, who have shared this experience with me over the last three years, and my lawyers: Ben Cooper QC, Anya Palmer, and Peter Daly. But most of all I want to thank the thousands of women and men who have shown their support to me, and in particular JK Rowling, who remained beside me in my darkest moments.

“Knowing that my case has helped other people find the courage to express their dissent in the face of unfair and discriminatory practices in their employment has made it easier to overcome the difficulties of the last three years. TAll those who are fighting similar battles - and there are many of them - have my solidarity and my support.

“I also want to thank all of those amazing organizations fighting to protect women's rights. Thanks to them, the world will become a fairer and safer place for women and girls. These organizations have courageously taken the place that much richer organizations, such as the CGD, abandoned out of cowardice.

“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 never would have the opportunity to be part of this incredible movement in my country that fights to reaffirm the importance of sex-based rights.

Women have had enough of being sidelined in language, law, public policy and public spaces. This ruling is further demonstration that the tide is changing.”

Introduction and translation by Alessandra Asteriti


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

[2] Maya Forstater is executive director of Sex Matters, a non-profit organization, co-founded by Forstater in 2021 to advance women's sex-based rights. Sex Matters promotes greater legislative clarity on rights based on sex, as regards services for women, school, sport and freedom of expression.


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