LONDON — A researcher in England who lost her job over her tweets that men cannot become women has also lost her legal challenge after a judge ruled on Wednesday that her “absolutist view” is “not worthy of respect in a democratic society” and is not protected under British law.
Maya Forstater, 45, found herself out of a job last December after the Center for Global Development decided not to renew her contract. She had been confronted in October 2018 over remarks she made on Twitter the month prior in regard to government plans to accommodate those who identify as transgender.
“I share the concerns … that radically expanding the legal definition of ‘women’ so that it can include both males and females makes it a meaningless concept, and will undermine women’s rights & protections for vulnerable women & girls,” she wrote on Sept. 2, 2018.
“Yes, I think that male people are not women. I don’t think being a woman/female is a matter of identity or womanly feelings. It is biology,” Forstater commented later that month. “People of either sex should not be constrained (or discriminated against) if they don’t conform to traditional gender expectations.”
“What I am so surprised at is that smart people who I admire, who are absolutely pro-science in other areas, and champion human rights & women’s rights are tying themselves in knots to avoid saying the truth that men cannot change into women (because that might hurt men’s feelings),” she also stated on Sept. 30.
According to the Times of London, Forstater’s manager opined that the tax researcher used “offensive and exclusionary” verbiage in her numerous tweets and had engaged in “fear-mongering” over the matter.
She argued in response that since it is true that “trans women are men” and that the definition of a woman is an “adult human female,” she would continue to say so, but has no intentions to be “rude” to others in the process.
Forstater’s contract soon ran out at the end of 2018 and was not renewed.
In March, she sued the Center for Global Development, alleging that she had been discriminated against. She also continued to post about the subject matter, both on Twitter and other sites, some which was quoted in the judgment from employment tribunal judge James Tayler on Wednesday.
While he noted that Forstater would be polite to those who identify as transgender despite her view that sex is immutable, he concluded that she “does not accept that she should avoid the enormous pain that can be caused by misgendering a person, even if that person has a Gender Recognition Certificate.”
“The Claimant’s position is that even if a trans woman has a Gender Recognition Certificate, she cannot honestly describe herself as a woman. That belief is not worthy of respect in a democratic society,” Tayler wrote. “It is incompatible with the human rights of others that have been identified and defined by the ECHR (European Convention on Human Rights) and put into effect through the Gender Recognition Act.”
He said that while Forstater may speak her opposition to the proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act, “that does not mean that her absolutist view that sex is immutable is a protected belief for the purposes of the [Equality Act].” It does not “have the protected characteristic of philosophical belief.”
Forstater, a feminist, expressed disappointment in the ruling, remarking that she believes all people should live without harassment and discrimination, but “this does not require removing people’s freedom to speak about objective reality, or to discuss proposed changes to law and to government policies clearly.”
“Had our client been successful, she would have established in law protection for people — on any side of this debate — to express their beliefs without fear of being discriminated against,” her attorney, Peter Daly, also told the BBC.