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Maya Forstater: Woman wins tribunal appeal over transgender tweet

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Maya Forstater

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A woman who lost her job after saying that people cannot change their biological sex has won an appeal against an employment tribunal.

Maya Forstater, 47, did not have her contract renewed after posting tweets on gender recognition.

She lost her original case in 2019, with the judge at that point saying that her approach was “not worthy of respect in a democratic society”.

An appeal found the tribunal had erred in law and another should take place.

Ms Forstater did not have her contract renewed at the think tank Center for Global Development (CGD) after posting a series of tweets questioning government plans to let people declare their own gender.

She believes trans women holding certificates that recognise their transgender identity cannot describe themselves as women.

Ms Forstater said she was “delighted to have been vindicated” but CGD said the decision was a “step backwards for inclusivity and equality for all”.

In the initial tribunal employment judge James Tayler concluded that Ms Forstater was “absolutist” in her view and said she was not entitled to ignore the rights of a transgender person and the “enormous pain that can be caused by misgendering”.

But the Honourable Mr Justice Choudhury said her “gender-critical beliefs” did fall under the Equalities Act as they “did not seek to destroy the rights of trans persons”.

He acknowledged that some transgender people would be disappointed by this judgement, but said that the judgement had not “expressed any view on the merits of either side of the transgender debate”.

The judgement does not mean “that those with gender-critical beliefs can ‘misgender’ trans persons with impunity”, he added.

Amanda Glassman, executive vice president of CGD, said: “The decision is disappointing and surprising because we believe Judge Tayler got it right when he found this type of offensive speech causes harm to trans people, and therefore could not be protected under the Equality Act.

“Today’s decision is a step backwards for inclusivity and equality for all. We’re currently considering the various paths forward with our lawyers.”

In a video statement, Ms Forstater said “I’m proud of the role I’ve played in clarifying the law and encouraging more people to speak up”.

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