Maya Won--For All of Us!


I hope you know the name of Maya Forstater. She has been so brave and so strong for so long, and she has finally had her vindication. What's more, her victory is a huge victory for ALL women, at least in the UK. But I fully expect this UK case to ripple throughout the Western world.

Maya was fired from her job because she believes that sex is real, and that men are not and can never be women. She appealed to the UK Employment Tribunal against her firing. In return the judge ruled that the belief that sex was real "was not deserving of respect in a democratic society." Yes, you heard right. She appealed, and the ruling was just issued yesterday. It was an absolute vindication of her gender critical beliefs--or her lack of belief in gender ideology. I've taken some of the best prose excerpts from the ruling for you (below). The full ruling can be found here, and it is well worth reading in its entirety. Excerpts:

"The effect of a GRC [Gender Recognition Certificate], whilst broad as a matter of law, does not mean that a person who, like the Claimant, continues to believe that a trans woman with a GRC is still a man, is necessarily in breach of the GRA by doing so; the GRA does not compel a person to believe something that they do not, any more than the recognition by the State of Civil Partnerships can compel some persons of faith to believe that a marriage between anyone other than a man and a woman is acceptable. That is not to say, of course, that the Claimant can, as a result of her belief, disregard the GRC; clearly, she cannot do so in circumstances where the acquired gender is legally relevant, e.g. in a claim of sex discrimination or harassment. Referring to a trans person by their pre-GRC gender in any of the settings in which the EqA [Equality Act] applies could amount to harassment related to one or more protected characteristics; whether or not it does will depend, as in any claim of harassment, on a careful assessment of all relevant factors, including whether the conduct was unwanted, the perception of the trans person concerned and whether it is reasonable for the impugned conduct to have the effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the trans person.

"The second error [of the previous Trbunal] was in imposing a requirement on the Claimant to refer to a trans woman as a woman to avoid harassment. In the absence of any reference to specific circumstances in which harassment might arise, this is, in effect, a blanket restriction on the Claimant’s right to freedom of expression insofar as they relate to her beliefs. However, that right applies to the expression of views that might “offend, shock or disturb”. The extent to which the State can impose restrictions on the exercise of that right is determined by the factors set out in Article 10(2), i.e. restrictions that are “prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society … for the protection of the reputation or rights of others…” It seems that the Tribunal’s justification for this blanket restriction was that the Claimant’s belief “necessarily harms the rights of others”. As discussed above, that is not correct: whilst the Claimant’s belief, and her expression of them by refusing to refer to a trans person by their preferred pronoun, or by refusing to accept that a person is of the acquired gender stated on a GRC, could amount to unlawful harassment in some circumstances, it would not always have that effect: see para 99 above. In our judgment, it is not open to the Tribunal to impose in effect a blanket restriction on a person not to express those views irrespective of those circumstances.

"[I]nstead of treating the Claimant’s lack of the gender identity belief as also qualifying for protection, the [previous] Tribunal treated the Claimant’s lack of that belief as necessarily equating to a positive belief that trans women are men (which the Tribunal considered to be a belief not worthy of protection). In our judgment, that approach was wrong. The fact that the Claimant did not share the gender identity belief is enough in itself to qualify for protection. If a person, A, is treated less favourably by her employer, B, because of A’s failure to profess support for B’s gender identity belief then that could amount to unlawful discrimination because of a lack of belief.

"Most fundamentally, the Claimant’s belief does not get anywhere near to approaching the kind of belief akin to Nazism or totalitarianism that would warrant the application of Article 17. That is reason enough on its own to find that Grainger V is satisfied. The Claimant’s belief might well be considered offensive and abhorrent to some, but the accepted evidence before the Tribunal was that she believed that it is not “incompatible to recognise that human beings cannot change sex whilst also protecting the human rights of people who identify as transgender”: see para 39.2 of the Judgment. That is not, on any view, a statement of a belief that seeks to destroy the rights of trans persons. It is a belief that might in some circumstances cause offence to trans persons, but the potential for offence cannot be a reason to exclude a belief from protection altogether.

"[A] widely shared belief demands particular care before it can be condemned as being not worthy of respect in a democratic society. Second, the Claimant’s belief that sex is immutable and binary is, as the Tribunal itself correctly concluded, consistent with the law: see para 83.  Where a belief or a major tenet of it appears to be in accordance with the law of the land, then it is all the more jarring that it should be declared as one not worthy of respect in a democratic society. Just as the legal recognition of Civil Partnerships does not negate the right of a person to believe that marriage should only apply to heterosexual couples, becoming the acquired gender “for all purposes” within the meaning of GRA does not negate a person’s right to believe, like the Claimant, that as a matter of biology a trans person is still their natal sex. Both beliefs may well be profoundly offensive and even distressing to many others, but they are beliefs that are and must be tolerated in a pluralist society."

The protection of gender critical beliefs is now legally mandated in the UK. As the judge points out in the ruling, this can mean that if an employer requires you to state one's pronouns or to take a class in gender ideology, that is creating a hostile workplace environment for those with gender critical beliefs, and they may take legal action against such employers. This ruling is an immense victory for gender critical feminists! I dare say it is also a great victory for all women, and the import of this ruling will echo within the Western world.

One of Maya's legal team also had an excellent analysis of the significance of this ruling (here).

Here's part of his analysis:

"The judgment acknowledges the national discussion about sex and gender that has taken place over recent years as the “transgender debate”. The era of “No Debate” around sex and gender, if it ever existed, is over. In the course of this national discussion, many Gender Critical people – overwhelmingly women – have been the subject of personal abuse, threats, the loss of jobs and livelihoods and even physical assault. This has been referred to as occurring on “both sides” of the discussion. But it is difficult to find evidence that equal apportionment has in fact occurred: overwhelmingly it appears that Gender Critical women have borne the brunt of it. Those women now have their legal protections affirmed at law.

"Much of this vitriol has been inflicted on a false assumption that it is somehow liberal, progressive or enlightened to do so, and that it is justified because it is in furtherance of rights for trans people. The judgment is explicit that a rejection of Gender Theory – or even the questioning of it – is not in conflict with the legal rights of trans people.

"Feminism is not transphobia and the pursuit of transgender rights is not misogynist. Transgender people and women each have statutory rights. Where those rights from time to time conflict – as they do - resolution through discussion and debate requires a desire for good-faith engagement and a rejection of vitriol and vilification. The era of mere sloganeering has ended.

"Even organisations who do not consider themselves engaged in this debate need carefully to inspect their actions and policies to determine whether they have become institutionally discriminatory towards those who dissent from Gender Theory. The Scottish government has a range of policies, starting with the pending hate crime legislation, which need to reviewed. National police forces – some of whom have been taking the names of people who express Gender Critical thought and “checking their thinking” for signs of potential “hate crime” will now wish to consider whether any of this data is lawfully held and what their statistics actually and meaningfully represent.

"The Office for National Statistics caved in response to Fair Play for Women’s Judicial Review about the census, but there has been little indication that this was anything more than a recognition of their immediate legal risk, rather than an understanding of the category of discrimination that is now bright-lined for them in this judgment. Social media platforms ought urgently to take advice on whether they are impermissibly suppressing European speech and thought with a Californian scold’s bridle. Education authorities will want to review their policies to determine whether a cohort of pupils and students are being miseducated by the presentation of a contentious and doctrinaire view of sex and gender as being a matter of settled fact.

"Training predicated on Gender Theory – like much Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity/Expression (“SOGI”/”SOGIE”) training - is not in and of itself unlawful, but neither is it adequate in isolation. Whereas training records and regimes are often adduced as evidence in Tribunal hearings to defeat discrimination claims, biased and doctrinaire training can equally be used as evidence to support litigation brought by people who do not ascribe to those doctrines.

"Similarly, policies which demand a positive adoption of tenets of Gender Theory - such as directing the mandatory insertion of pronouns in email footers – are not the tool of inclusivity that they may have been presented or even intended: such practices may exclude those with protected Gender Critical beliefs (quite apart from the fact that they may necessitate the outing of trans people who have no desire to be outed). They may be evidence of the hostile environment described at s.26(1)(b) Equality Act 2010, providing support to claims of unlawful harassment, or otherwise demonstrate direct or indirect discrimination."

In other words, lots of work for lawyers defending those with gender critical beliefs . . .

Here's Maya Forstater's 3 minute statement after the ruling:

Oh, happy day!