A development researcher was fired after her employer discovered that she had said that “men cannot change into women.” However, when she took the case to court to fight for her freedom of speech, the judge issued a shocking verdict.
Maya Forstater, 45, hails herself as a feminist activist with expertise in business and sustainable development. So, when she was employed as a researcher for the Center for Global Development (CGD), a think-tank that strives to solve poverty, she believed that her platform could be used to combat the oppression she believes women face.
Incredibly, Forstater was called in by her employer over a series of tweets criticizing the British government’s plan to protect those who self-identify as transgender, legislation that also compels individuals’ speech in order to force them to identify transgender persons as such. She was accused of “offensive and exclusionary” language for stating “men cannot change into women” and that there are only two biological sexes. Soon, she was out of a job.
Refusing to allow her employer to win, Forstater took her case of wrongful termination to the Central London Employment Tribunal for review. She knew her case, if successful, would establish a legal precedent that employers cannot fire workers for expressing a particular view on LGBT issues.
After brilliantly arguing her case, including the fact that her freedom of speech had been violated, Forstater found herself at the mercy of the tribunal. In a monumental decision, the stalwart feminist and her fervent supporters were left in disbelief at the outcome.
According to the Independent, Judge James Tayler ruled that Forstater’s thoughts were “incompatible with human dignity and fundamental rights of others,” that is to say that she has violated the human rights of transgender people with her speech. In a disturbing twist, Tayler ruled that Forstater was not entitled to her speech because of the “enormous pain that can be caused by misgendering a person.”
“The core of the Claimant’s belief is that . . There are only two sexes, male and female. . . .Women are adult females,” the ruling states. “I consider that the Claimant’s view. . . is incompatible with human dignity and fundamental rights of others.”
Judge Tayler sided with Forstater’s employer, insisting that speech that doesn’t identify a person as the sex or gender they prefer is not protected. Additionally, the judge stated that a speech that doesn’t conform to the transgender person’s preferences also violates their human rights and should be prohibited by a “democratic society.”
“If a person has transitioned from male to female and has a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC), that person is legally a woman. That is not something Ms Forstater is entitled to ignore. Ms Forstater’s position is that even if a trans woman has a GRC, she cannot honestly describe herself as a woman. That belief is not worthy of respect in a democratic society,” Judge Tayler stated. “Even paying due regard to the qualified right to freedom of expression, people cannot expect to be protected if their core belief involves violating others’ dignity and creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment for them.”
Unsurprisingly, Forstater was dismayed by the ruling, expressing “shock and disbelief” at the judge’s remarks. Subsequently, she asserted that the judgment not only affects her situation but threatens the rights of millions of others with views that oppose the transgender ideology.
“This judgment removes women’s rights and the right to freedom of belief and speech,” Forstater said. “It gives judicial license for women and men who speak up for objective truth and clear debate to be subject to aggression, bullying, no-platforming and economic punishment.”
What’s more disturbing is that Forstater is personally accepting of all gender identities and offers them the dignity and respect they require. In fact, she admits that she accepts the idea that gender is a malleable social construct. She only believes that sex is biological and cannot scientifically be changed.
“I accept everybody’s gender identity, I just do not believe it overrides their sex. I refuse to believe human beings can change their sex,” she said.
The judgment has deemed Forstater to be an “absolutist,” deriding her as an outlier for refusing to conform to the government’s mandated speech. Since then, thousands have voiced their outrage over the tribunal’s decision, even though they are powerless to stop it.
Fortunately, Forstater wasn’t ordered to pay monetary damages or serve jail time for her statements, which is a possibility in the UK. However, the ruling delivers a devastating threat to anyone who believes that speech should never be regulated by the government’s ever-changing and vague definition of hateful speech.