Maya Forstater, who lost her job at the US-based think tank Center for Global Development (CGD), has won her case before the UK employment tribunal claiming that her former employer had discriminated against her because of her gender critical beliefs.
The Employment Tribunal found on Wednesday that CGD acted unlawfully in not offering Forstater a an employment contract, not renewing her visiting fellowship, and removing her biography from heir website, according to a press statement from Forstater.
Members of the Tribunal looked at social media posts from Forstater which expressed gender critical beliefs, and found that these posts formed the base of CGD’s treatment of her.
In June of 2021, a Tribunal panel found that Forstater’s tweets regarding the subject are protected under the UK’s Equality Act.
Statements considered by the Tribunal that they said resulted in unlawful discrimination from CGD included "A man’s internal feeling that he is a woman has no basis in material reality," drawing parallels between self identifying transgender women and Rachel Dolezal, a white woman who posed as a black woman and headed a local chapter of the NAACP, amongst other tweets and communications.
"The Tribunal also recognised that Ms Forstater had been entitled to criticise those holding an opposite view to her, and had done so legitimately. The Tribunal found in particular that the mere fact that offence may be taken to a particular statement was not sufficient to render it incapable of legal protection," the press release stated.
Forstater celebrated the victory, stating that "My case matters for everyone who believes in the importance of truth and free speech."
"We are all free to believe whatever we wish. What we are not free to do is compel others to believe the same thing, to silence those who disagree with us or to force others to deny reality," Forstater continued.
"Human beings cannot change sex. It is not hateful to say that; in fact it is important in order to treat everyone fairly and safely. It shouldn’t take courage to say this, and no one should lose their job for doing so."
"I am pleased that the Tribunal has allowed me to put on record what happened to me at the Center for Global Development. The tribunal has found that I was a victim of discrimination because I stated that biological sex is real and important, a view shared by the vast majority of people in this country. I hope employers will take note of the judgment," said Forstater.
Forstater thanked, amongst a long list of friends, family, and her legal team, famed Harry Potter author JK Rowling, who Forstater said stood "by me in the darkest of days."
In response to the July 6 ruling, Rowling posted to Twitter, "Every woman who’s been harassed, silenced, bullied, lost employment because of her gender critical beliefs is freer and safer today, thanks to the warrior that is [Maya Forstater].
Rowling accompanied the tweet with the hashtags "Sex Matters" and "I Stand With Maya."
Rowling had issued a similar tweet back in 2019, with the hashtag "I Stand With Maya," which Star Wars actor Mark Hamill had liked, then promptly backtracked on after backlash on Twitter.
Forstater also noted that while CGD had treated her unfairly, if the action had never happened, she wouldn’t have gone on to co-found Sex Matters, which lobbies for "clarity on sex in law and institutions; in areas including single-sex services, sports, schools and freedom of speech," according to the press release.
The successful ruling by the Tribunal followed a 2021 judgement by the Employment Appeal Tribunal that said Forstater's gender critical views fell within the UK’s Equality Act. The 2021 ruling followed a 2019 ruling that said her speech was not protected.
Forstater received a flood of support on Wednesday following the ruling, including from tennis legend Martina Navratilova who wrote simply, "Well done Maya!"
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