UK Court Penalizes Belief in Two Biological Sexes

News: World News
by Martina Moyski  •  •  December 20, 2019   

Maya Forstater loses case over transgender tweets

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LONDON ( - A U.K. court is ruling against a British citizen for expressing the belief that only two biological sexes — male and female — exist.

Tax expert Maya Forstater lost her case against her former employer, Centre for Global Development, after Forstater sued claiming religious discrimination. Forstater lost her job at the thinktank after tweeting that transgender women cannot change their biological sex.

Judge James Tayler, an employment judge, ruled that Forstater's views do "not have the protected characteristic of philosophical belief," and that her opinion on biological sex is "not worthy of respect in democratic society."

"The specific belief that the Claimant holds as determined in the reasons is not a philosophical belief protected by the Equality Act 2010," announced the judgment.

At the center of the lawsuit were tweets in which Forstater said: "I share the concerns of @fairplaywomen 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."

"Some transgender people have cosmetic surgery," she added. "But most retain their birth genitals. Everyone's equality and safety should be protected, but women and girls lose out on privacy, safety and fairness if males are allowed into changing rooms, dormitories, prisons, sports teams."

She was accused of using "offensive and exclusionary" language in her tweets opposing government proposals to reform the Gender Recognition Act, which allows people to self-identify as the opposite sex.

More recently, Forstater tweeted on Dec. 18: "My belief as I set out in my witness statement is that sex is a biological fact and is immutable. There are two sexes. Men are male. Women are female. It is impossible to change sex. These were until very recently understood as basic facts of life."

Jodie Ginsberg, chief executive of Index on Censorship, has weighed in siding with Forstater: "From what I have read of [Forstater's] writing, I cannot see that Maya has done anything wrong other than express an opinion that many feminists share — that there should be a public and open debate about the distinction between sex and gender."

Louise Rea, solicitor at the law firm Bates Wells, which advised the Center for Global Development in the case against Forstater, disagreed:

Judge Tayler held that "the claimant's view, in its absolutist nature, is incompatible with human dignity and fundamental rights of others." He observed that the claimant was not entitled to ignore the legal rights of a person who has transitioned from male to female or vice versa and the "enormous pain that can be caused by misgendering a person."

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling also lent her opinion on the public discussion, supporting Forstater. "Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you. Live your best life in peace and security. But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill."

Rowling has received backlash to her tweet, labeled by critics a "TERF" — an acronym for trans-exclusionary radical feminist.

Rod Dreher, writer at The American Conservative, compared Tayler's ruling to George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, a novel about a repressive society whose terms such as "Big Brother," "doublethink" and "newspeak" have become part of everyday language.

Dreher notes that the government in Orwell's novel told its citizens "to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears," adding, "So does the British legal system."

"Maya Forstater could be you, you know," Dreher says to his readers. "And probably will be ... unless this madness is stopped."

Transgenderism was also addressed at the U.S. presidential Democratic debate Thursday night. Yamiche Alcindor, one of the moderators of the PBS NewsHour-Politico event in Los Angeles, asked what could be done "to end the epidemic of violence against transgender people."

LGBTQ groups praised the fact that the community's issues received attention.

"Tonight, the epidemic of violence against transgender people — especially trans women of color — was for the first time meaningfully discussed on the main stage of the Democratic presidential debate," read a statement issued by Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David.

"We are in a moment of crisis: our trans siblings are facing disproportionate levels of violence and are being targeted simply because of who they are. Now, more than ever, it is vital that our voices are heard," it continued.

Forstater is buoyed by the thousands who have expressed support.

I have been moved and inspired by the thousands of people who have supported me.

"I have been moved and inspired by the thousands of people who have supported me," she said. "Of course there has also been vitriolic personal abuse. This has become the norm for women who wish to express their belief on this subject. We will not be bullied into silence."

"I believe this judgment is wrong," she continued. "Restricting people's ability to talk about the law, and about proposed changes to the law using ordinary, everyday language which reflects material reality is unprecedented and fundamentally damaging to a free society."

"I am reviewing the judgment closely with my legal team who believe that it is flawed," she added. "To everyone who has donated to the legal fund, I will continue to do all that I can to justify your support."

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