Woman Who Lost Job For Saying Men Cannot Be Women Fights Back In Court

Maya Forstater
Maya Forstater |

A woman from London who lost her job after saying men cannot be women reportedly fights back in court for her right to free speech.

The Christian Post (CP) said Maya Forstater was fired as a senior researcher of the Centre For Global Development after expressing in her social media account that transgender women can never be women. Forstater has made an appeal in court for her employment's termination stressing her right to free speech. She prepared a 50-page outline of her appeal for the Employment Appeal Tribunal that will be given this week.

"The chilling effect on people's careers of expressing unpopular thoughts is most often not felt through the formal mechanisms of disciplinary processes and P45s [UK reference code for tax form regarding details of employees leaving work], but through social shunning, economic and social doors closed, careers damaged in ways too subtle to bring to court," Forstater explained in an essay published in Medium on Monday.

"Without it, such people face discipline or dismissal simply because their employers disagree with, or do not wish to be associated with, beliefs which dissent from prevailing orthodoxy--or at least from that which prevails in the section of society which shouts loudest on Twitter or otherwise carries most influence with the employer," she stressed.

Previously, Forstater said that she actually supported the human rights of transgenders and do believe they are vulnerable. However, she stressed that "no one group should overrule others". She said she only defended "women's rights, in a careful way and in a tone of ordinary discussion and disagreement."

CP explained that the case she filed in court was denied because the presiding judge said her statement was "absolutist" and "violates their dignity."

"(She was) absolutist in her view of sex and it is a core component of her belief that she will refer to a person by the sex she considered appropriate even if it violates their dignity and/or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. The approach is not worthy of respect in a democratic society," Judge James Tayler said in her ruling last December 2019 against Forstater.

However, the Equality and Human Rights Commission of England and Wales has taken the side of Forstater. The EHRC contested the Employment Tribunal judge's ruling of 2019 saying they have "taken the wrong approach to the law" and stressed that there "can be no justifiable basis in law for distinguishing between religious or philosophical belief" in so far as the context of biological sex is concerned.

CP added that her lawyers, on the other hand, pointed out that people like Forstater who have such beliefs should not simply withhold expressing themselves out of fear of hurting others or of being discriminated at work because there is no law to remedy it.

Freedom of expression advocate Index On Censorship, as reported by CP, said Forstater did nothing wrong in expressing what "many feminists share," which should be an opportunity for public discourse on sex and gender distinctions.

According to CP, Forstater received an email from one of her work's managers after her tweeting, "that men cannot change into women." The manager told her that what she did was "offensive and exclusionary" and that she needed to obey to the company's policies on conduct. Forstater, who has long been campaigning against gender stereotypes, was hurt when she was terminated from work, being the breadwinner of her family.

Forstater then resorted to crowdfunding to finance her court battle and landed her with about $172298.69 as of writing, along with worldwide support -including from "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling.