Maya Forstater: woman who lost job over gender tweets wins employment tribunal appeal

10 June 2021, 11:13 | Updated: 10 June 2021, 11:29

Maya Forstater has won her appeal against an employment tribunal
Maya Forstater has won her appeal against an employment tribunal. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

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

Maya Forstater lost a tribunal in 2019, after she posted a series of tweets questioning government plans to let people declare their own gender. A judge at the time said her views were "not worthy of respect in a democratic society".

Her contract was not renewed at the think tank Center for Global Development (CGD) in March that year after she posted tweets opposing Government proposals to reform the Gender Recognition Act to allow people to identify as the opposite sex.

In a judgment handed down on Thursday, it was ruled another tribunal should take place as the original one had erred in law.

Mr Justice Choudhury said he acknowledged "some trans persons will be disappointed by this judgment".

But finding in favour of Ms Forstater, he added that he did "not agree" that it would "create a 'two-tier' system between natal women and trans women, with some trans women fearing that it will give licence to people seeking to harass them".

Mr Justice Choudhury said today's ruling does not mean "that those with gender-critical beliefs can 'misgender' trans persons with impunity."

Ms Forstater issued a statement in a video posted online: “Thousands of people supported my case and today I’m pleased and proud to say that I have been vindicated.

“The previous judgment was overturned. Gender critical beliefs are protected under the equality act and people who hold those beliefs are protected against discrimination and harassment."

SNP MP Joanna Cherry QC posted online: “This landmark judgment means that gender critical women & men will have a potential remedy under the Equality Act if they are discriminated against, harassed or victimised on account of their beliefs by employers, service providers & membership organisations."

Amanda Glassman, Chief Executive Officer of CGDE and 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."