Saying people can’t change biological sex is a scientific fact, says sacked tax expert
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Maya Forstater’s contract was not renewed in March 2019 after she posted tweets opposing Government proposals to reform the Gender Recognition Act to allow transgender people to identify as the opposite sex. She reiterated her view that biological sex is “real, important, immutable and not to be conflated with gender identity”. Forstater said she was “concerned” children were being “encouraged” that it is possible to “change sex or simply to be a member of the opposite sex”.
Harry Potter author JK Rowling previously came out in support, tweeting: “Live your best life in peace and security. But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real?”
Forstater, who worked at the Centre for Global Development, took her case to an employment tribunal on the grounds that her dismissal constituted discrimination against her beliefs.
Employment judge James Tayler previously dismissed her 2019 claim, saying her views are “absolutist in her view of sex”. But yesterday Ben Cooper QC, representing Ms Forstater at the online appeal, said her views are “based on fundamental scientific facts”.
He said she claims: “Ignoring them or pretending they are not true is detrimental to an honest, just and fair society, particularly upholding the rights of women.
“These beliefs do not involve any moral judgment and do not deny the rights or status of trans people or their protection from discrimination.”
Mr Cooper added: “This is not a competition about who is treated worse or who is more offended by the other’s beliefs.
“We say there can be no doubt that the claimant’s beliefs do meet the relevant threshold to be worthy of respect in a democratic society. She accepts that (trans people) should be protected from discrimination.”
Mr Cooper said Forstater “will use a person’s preferred pronoun” in most social situations but “where it is relevant, she believes it is important to be able to refer to someone’s biological sex”.
He added: “Statements such as ‘woman means adult human female’ or ‘trans women are male’ are, for her, statements of neutral fact.”
Judge Tayler had concluded Forstater was not entitled to ignore legal rights of a transgender person and the “enormous pain that can be caused by misgendering a person”.
The dispute was seen as a test case on whether a belief that there are only two biological sexes is protected under the 2010 Equality Act.
Forstater had argued “framing the question of transgender inclusion as an argument that male people should be allowed into women’s spaces discounts women’s rights to privacy and is fundamentally illiberal.
“It is like forcing Jewish people to eat pork.”
The appeal tribunal is expected to conclude today.
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